Mark Langton was one of CORBA’s founders in 1987 and one of IMBA’s founders in 1988. He served 13 years on CORBA’s steering committee, and subsequently joined the CORBA Board of Directors. He has served as CORBA’s president, as one of the first volunteer patrollers for the Mountain Bike Unit and he’s taught the CORBA Introduction to Mountain Bike Skills Class every month since 1992. Now after 29 years, he’s stepping down from the CORBA Board as of December 2016.
Thanks Mark, we couldn’t have done it without you.
Mark was a BMX and mountain bike racer when trails started to be closed to us in the mid 1980’s. In August 1987, when the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy held a meeting to discuss a prohibitive mountain bike policy, Mark was one of about 30 riders who showed up to argue for shared use trails. We lost that night, but Mark and several others met weekly to form CORBA, organize local mountain bicyclists and interact with the agencies and other trail users.
It became clear that trail closures to bicyclists were emerging as a national problem. Preliminary talks between California clubs began about forming an umbrella organization of local clubs. CORBA sent Mark and Kurt Loheit to the meeting which marked the formation of IMBA.
CORBA’s approach has always been to show up, to participate, to take the high road and to be persistent. Mark has done all that and more. He’s been deeply connected to the sport as a racer and for several years as the editor of Mountain Biking magazine. He was the co-author of Riding Santa Monica Mountains Best Trails with Jim Hasenauer and of Where to Bike Los Angeles Mountain Biking with Jim Hasenauer and Steve Messer. He also wrote the Outdoor Action Guide Mountain Biking, and a skills manual, Mountain Bike Master: Essential Skills and Advanced Techniques Made Easy. He worked as Director of Communication for Giant Bicycles and for the National Off-Road Bicycle Association, before it was absorbed by USA Cycling. His knowledge, his ability to communicate and his industry connections brought national attention and resources to CORBA.
When the Conejo Opens Space Conservation Authority began dealing with the same trail access issues as the nearby Santa Monica Mountains agencies, they took a more open, community-minded approach. They told the complainers “These trails will be shared by the community. Work it out.” Mark was one of the founding members of the new Conejo Open Space Trails Advisory Committee and his efforts built strong alliances with equestrians and hikers. For years, COSTAC has been a model of user cooperation and the power of education in not only reducing user conflict but building a strong, united, and inclusive trail community.
Mark’s longest service commitment has been the CORBA Mountain Bike Skills classes that he has taught every first Saturday of the month since 1992. No matter how much you know or think you know about mountain bikes, Mark’s class will improve your riding. He has the uncanny ability to see the deficiencies in riders’ positions or techniques and clearly, incrementally help those riders improve. Literally thousands of riders have taken Mark’s course. He also does fee-based coaching.
While Mark will be stepping down from the CORBA Board, he won’t be going away. Mark will continue to lead our free monthly Mountain Bike Skills Clinics. Remaining board members, Jennifer Jacobson, Wendy Engelberg and Steve Messer, will carry the CORBA torch forward, with the addition of two new board members.
CORBA and mountain bikers locally and across the country owe Mark a huge debt of gratitude for his years of dedication to the growth and advancement of mountain biking.
All we can say is Thank You Mark.