By Mark Langton
Recently a bicycle club-team representative contacted CORBA wanting to see what more they could do to get more of the trails that are currently closed to bicycles opened up to shared use. A couple of comments from the correspondence were that they thought that showing up in larger numbers to public meetings would help, and that they thought the main reason that trails were closed were because of an influential public anti-bicycle lobby.
I wrote back to the person who contacted me, and in doing so came up with what I think is a good overview of what CORBA has been doing for the past 26 years, and continues to do on behalf of all public backcountry trail users (see below). Yes, CORBA is a mountain bike organization, but we are more than that, and here’s why: We believe that shared use works better because it disperses use, rather than concentrating it. When you disperse use, you reduce congestion, and when you reduce congestion, you reduce confrontation. Moreover, it has been shown that where shared use trails exist, it works. Maybe not perfectly, but certainly better than where there are restrictions to bicycles, because shared use also fosters cooperation. Bicycles do mix when operated considerately and with the safety and serenity of other trail users in mind. And that’s the crux of the issue: If bicyclists would simply slow down around others, including other bicyclists, they would be solving the problem of both dangerous speed, and the “startle factor,” or the disruption of another’s peaceful enjoyment of the backcountry.
Here’s what I wrote to that bicycle club team member:
This year CORBA celebrated its 26th anniversary. In that time we have made many strides to opening trails to shared use (hiking, equestrian, bicycle) in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles County, and Eastern Ventura County. We have participated in hundreds of public meetings with land managers over the years. Land managers recognize and continue to adapt to the growing bicycle population and changing demographic profile of the trail user community. They are certainly aware of the needs and desires of the mountain biking community through CORBA’s efforts, which include quarterly meetings with principal agency managers (National Park Service, State Parks, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority). We are also in constant communication with these agencies and/or when the need arises to address a specific issue. CORBA also works closely with the Mountain Bike Unit which aids the rangers and community with safety and education. CORBA also schedules and organizes regular trail maintenance work days s in conjunction with the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council and Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency. CORBA is also heavily involved with the Angeles National Forest with trail maintenance and volunteer patrol participation. Due to CORBA’s efforts, most of the singletrack trails built in the last 25 years are shared use (not to mention a lot of the singletrack that already existed not getting shut down).
As you can see, there is more to getting involved than just showing up at meetings in large numbers. The issue of bikes not being allowed on trails is more than just politically active opponents to bicycles; it is mired in an outdated management policy of restriction that is predicated to a large degree on ignorance and a status quo mentality. Within the last few years there has been a systemic change for adopting shared use as the overriding management strategy. It is a slow moving process but we do see a very strong indication that within the next few years we will see many more trails opening to shared use on a statewide basis than currently exists. This change comes from consistent efforts not only by CORBA, but mountain bike advocates all over the state, with assistance from the International Mountain Bicycle Association (of which CORBA was a founding club in 1988).
The one concern that is always at the forefront of managers’ minds is safety. It is agreed by everyone that bicycles are an acceptable form of public open space trail recreation. However, it is when riders go too fast around other users as to make it an unsafe or even just an unpleasant experience that gets mountain bikers a bad reputation, and gets the managers to thinking about restricting bicycles. If everyone would just slow down when passing others, and slow down into corners so they don’t scare others on the other side, we would pretty much solve the problem. I am not saying you shouldn’t go fast, I’m just saying do it when conditions are safe.
The CORBA Kids Club had the opportunity to view and ride among budding native plants post fires this past September. It was unseasonably hot, so Sycamore was the coolest place to ride that day, and the temperatures continued to increase as we headed North from Pt. Magu State Park along the Two Foxes trail. We have a photo gallery of the ride for September!
The IMBA Annual Take Your Kid Mountain Biking was cancelled last month due to expected high winds and fire danger. The next ride is Saturday, November 2 at Malibu Creek State Park. Hope to see you there!
Another GGR annual event in da books held at Malibu Creek State Park for the 3rd time. Dubbed the GGR Rocktober 20th XC Gala. This year’s event was especially difficult and emotional for me personally for several reasons. I was on crutches (still am), so I couldn’t help out with any of the rides or even much of anything else but announce. And of course this year’s event was dedicated to Danusia Taber, who lost her battle to cancer this past May.
The morning opened up as usual with the girlz signing in and picking up their goodie bags and bike plates. Then many of them headed over to the Hammer and CORBA fuel station for some java and morning goodies.
The morning address was focused on how far we have come in the last 3 years. The enormous amount of women mountain bikers in Los Angeles and sticking with it speaks for itself! GGR has grown to almost 450 members, most of these ladies in the LA, OC, Ventura and San Diego area. Many of them made the drive to attend this event. Between GGR, Trail Angels and SOCAL Endurance ladies, we have over 1000 women riders! SOCAL is beaming with women who love their dirt!
Women now have a voice in our local cycling community. Women are supporting each other more than ever to continue to ride , socialize, network and most of all have fun!
We talked about how important it is to get to know your local bike shop and be a good consumer. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money, this means to get to know the staff, make sure everyone in the bike shop not only knows your name, but knows what trails you ride, the bike you ride and the group you typically ride with. This is the start of building a great relationship with your bike shop which hopefully starts a chain reaction down the road. We want the shop staff to address all their women clients by their 1st name and be able to exceed their expectations as a consumer. We have a voice and we are growing….so please pay attention to us. We spend money in the shops too. We want bike clothes too. We don’t want to purchase components we don’t need.
After I wrapped up the morning address, we brought up some speakers and presented awards.
1st off was Mark Langton, President of CORBA: http://corbamtb.com/. CORBA is on the back and sleeves of our GGR jersey’s and is a year round supporter to us. Mark talked about the different programs CORBA has to offer, CORBA’S involvement in the cycling community, trail etiquette and slowing down out there, being aware of all the other users on the trails.
Next was Tessa Treadway. Team captain of SOCAL LADIES ENDURANCE TEAM. This is the largest women’s race team in the country! All levels and genres of mountain biking are welcome! Amy Rambacher also came forward from the team and explained about a new genre of racing called ENDURO racing which she competes in. For more information about racing and joining the team, please check out the site here: http://www.socalendurance.net/
Now it was time to bring Lance up. We had an award for Danusia, but we were never able to present it to her since she passed on this past May. So Lance, one of her best MBU buddies, accepted the award on her behalf. Lance talked about the memorial bench going up for Danusia in Sycamore, her favorite place to ride and just chatted about the incredible person she was. Danusia was instrumental in getting GGR off the ground, getting CORBA involved with us, and of course she was my close friend and mentor. I miss her dearly and she is truly missed in our women’s community.
We sold the Danusia Bells at the event all day. The bells can go on your packs or handle bars to ride with her in spirit. All profits from the bells go to the Sarcoma alliance which was hand picked by Danusia for the funds to go to prior to her passing. You can purchase a Danusia bell from GGR or CORBA here: http://www.girlzgoneriding.com/ggr_products/ or here: http://corbamtb.com/store/store.shtml.
At this point, we just had one more speaker to lead us off into our morning rides. GGR’s own skills coach Christine Hirst. Christine didn’t know it, but we had an award to present to her as well!
Christine has been the GGR skills coach for the last 2 events. She has volunteered her time for the day and has made such an impact with the girlz it has been amazing. We thank her so very much for her time, positive energy and great motivational speech to get our day going. The girlz were soooo excited to learn new skills they have never been taught. And to see them use them the same day was so very rewarding. This is what it is about. Improving, helping each other and sticking with it!
We then all got together for a couple of group shots and then the rides were on their merry way!
The beginner’s started off with their skills clinic with GGR coach Christine Hirst while the advanced beginner’s, intermediate and advanced rides headed out. This year’s beginners and advanced beginners got one big huge treat! Little did they know…..the one and only, Leigh Donovan was one of their volunteer FLOATERS this year! YES! The most decorated woman rider in da world! Leigh was just her usual patient, generous and amazing self with our girlz especially through the long, dry creek bed. What a difference when another woman can show you exactly how it’s done and that..hey, it’s not that hard! YOU CAN DO IT!
We had 5 levels of guided rides for the day. Each with their own route and speed. This year we had a lot of new GGR ride leaders, floaters and sweepers who all did an amazing job! Thank you!
Once everyone got back to the park after their rides, we started the afternoon activities. Lunch, more mingling, the ever popular swap meet, silent auction and the PLUG segment. The plug segment gives the girlz 30 seconds to come up in front of everyone and plug whatever they want.
We then went to present another award from a friend of mine who has been a GGR supporter since day one. Mike Lord, manager of Cycle World. He has helped with every GGR event, volunteered his and his staff’s time and resources. Mike is really a great guy and we were honored to have Sage from Cycle World accept the award for him. Please support Cycle World here: http://cycleworldbikes.com/
Our last inspirational speaker of the day was of course Leigh Donovan. http://www.leighdonovan.com/.
Leigh was just recently inducted in the BMX hall of fame. It was amazing to listen to her story about how little women there were when she was racing BMX and all the changes she has seen in today’s world of women’s cycling. This is Leigh’s 2nd time volunteering for CORBA and GGR and it really made our day that she was able to not only join us, speak, but really set a great example for our girlz. I thank you so very much Leigh for getting involved in our incredible community of women riders!
We closed out the day with the raffles. Each GGR event is a CORBA membership drive. This year’s grand prize for the CORBA membership raffle drive was a NINER frame! Our own GGR Ride leader Joanne (J) Richards took home the grand prize!
Liv/Giant: http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/livgiant/ was there with the entire new line of 27.5 demo bikes for the girlz to try! This is the 2nd year Liv/Giant has supported the GGR event with a truck full of demo bikes!
A couple of the girlz, GGR girl Carly and GGR girl Letty, gave us their thoughts after demoing these new bikes:
“I tried the Giant 27.5″ in XS frame. Boy, was that girly thing full of fun. I only have experience riding 26-inch tires. I really felt the difference in the traction of the Giant and overall, the rocks and pavement almost disappeared! Or more like, I felt probably 50% less of its rockiness and bumpiness. I got used to it really, really (surprisingly) fast. The shifters were nice. The angle was more of a “lean forward” sorta angle, which was a slight adjustment (maybe this is an individual adjustment/modification).
The neat thing is, after demo-ing this bike, I would really consider my next bike to be a 27.5″ inch. I felt a LOT more stable. I consider myself an advanced beginner and this bike was just, great. It made me feel less nervous compared to riding my own bike. I often still get very nervous riding up and down rocky and technical trails. I have not tried 29-ers, but I imagine after a longer-term the added weight would bother me. I read that 27.5″ wheels add 5% weight and 29-ers are an extra 12% weight (this is a BIG difference!) compared to 26″ wheels. I am 5′ 4″ and about 112 lbs. Compared to my 26″ XS Titus frame, the Titus is much more ‘nimble’ versus the 27.5″ felt a lot more safe and stable. I’d keep the 27.5″!!!” GGR girl Carly
“I rode the Lust Advanced and I am in love. The bike did all the work for me. The Lust was made for climbing and speed. The new tire size is perfect for my riding needs. I usually ride a Pivot 5.75 and as much as I love it, it gets a little heavy on the long rides. I’ve always been a little worried about not having enough gears if I rode a 1 x anything but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything on this bike. I am hoping Santa is going to be very good to me this Christmas.” GGR girl Letty
We are so very grateful to all of our volunteers and supporters! This is a team effort. There are many people behind the scenes that make the GGR events possible and we couldn’t do it without you! Please support the companies who support GGR!
- HAMMER Nutrition
- Cycle World
- Kali Protectives
- Newbury Park Bike Shop
- JRA Bike & Brew
- SOCAL Endurance
- Turner Bikes
- Knolly Bikes
- Mountain Bike Action
- Liv Giant
- Giant Bicyles
- BH Skin
- Dirty Jane
- DZ Nuts
- Road ID
- Red Bull
- Dirty Girl Designs
- Hero Kit
- Cinema Secrets
- The Perfect Peel
- Scar Heal
- Go Girl
- The Unlikely Cyclist
- Muscle Milk
- Kramp Krushers
- Matrix Concepts
- Atlas Brace
- Osmo Nutrition
- Mountain Bike Skills.com
- Sport Legs
Al Unger photography! To purchase pictures from this event, please go here: http://auphotographysales.net/#/gallery/girls-gone-riding-2013/au-ggr-2013-9/
Extra special thanks to all our ride leaders, sweepers and floaters. We had a few honorary GGR members this event (men), who did an outstanding job in volunteering their time to us out on the trails as well.
Extra Extra thanks and kudo’s to Christine Hirst and Leigh Donovan. And finally, my biggest shout outs, thank you’s and kudo’s to GGR Co Director Kimberly Cofield whom I couldn’t have survived without her this year, Miyuki Tanaka our amazing IT person who juggles everything while being a new mom, and Laura Watts who got our act together administratively this year.
I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I’m so very proud to call you all GGR girlz. I hope to see many of you at the Holiday Ride and lunch at Cheeseboro December 8th. Please sign up here: https://www.facebook.com/events/676862972338954/.
We are also raising funds for our own custom tent and tables for all future events. To contribute to the fund raising, please go here: https://fundanything.com/en/campaigns/ggr-easy-up-tent-and-tables?col=-28582
On a personal note, I thank each and every one of you for your compassion and support. My ACL surgery is November 15th. I have a long road ahead and I can’t wait to get back on the trails with all of you!
GGR Girl Wendy E!
A locked gate has been blocking the Backbone Trail (BBT) at the west end of Etz Meloy Motorway since mid-October. This interupts a very popular ride from the parking area on Encinal Canyon Road to the Mishe Mokwa Trailhead, covering the two newest singletrack sections of the Backbone Trail.
There has been a standard fireroad gate there for years, but apparently some months ago a side gate appeared that completely blocks passage along the road. This side gate was usually open or unlocked, but was permanently locked at about the time of the federal governement shutdown in October. This led to speculation that it was the National Park Service (NPS), owner of most of the land around this section of the BBT, who closed off the trail to keep people off of federal property during the government shutdown.
However, the locked gate was a surprise to the NPS as much as to the rest of us. Apparently one of the private landowners in the area has locked the gate. One rumor is that it is to keep noisy and littering partiers out.
Some of the land crossed by Etz Meloy Mtwy at the west end is still in private hands. The NPS is actively trying to acquire this propery or make some other arrangements with the landowners to allow public access. Until that happens, the west end of Etz Meloy has been and continutes to be closed to public access (see map above). The NPS asks that members of the public stay off of this section to help engender his cooperation in discussions to allow everyone to use this trail.
CORBA will provide more information as it becomes available.
About 120 volunteers arrived at 7:30 Saturday morning, October 19, to help build a new trail in the Western Plateau area of Thousand Oaks for the 23rd Annual COSCA Trailwork Day. Eleven of these volunteers had registered through CORBA. The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council made a huge contribution as most of Saturday’s 12 crew leaders were members of their Trail Crew. Other crew leaders were from CORBA or were COSCA rangers.
The new trail starts 2 miles from the new Hill Canyon bridge near Santa Rosa County Park. Volunteers hiked in, or caught a ride with the 4×4 vehicles that drove the tools to the new trailhead. After picking up their tools and learning about safety during trailwork, the dozen teams of about 10 headed up to their designated work areas.Most of the new trail is on soft, crumbly dirt on a hillside with a gentle cross-slope. The grass and chaparral had already been cut away, so most of the work involved scraping the dirt to remove the last stubbles of grass and making a 5% outslope so water would run across and off it, rather than down the middle, cutting a rut.
However, there some switchbacks and rocks that were in the way, so some crews had rock bars to help them along.
The new trail, yet to be named, climbs the east end of the southern ridge above the Western Plateau. In many places it is quite close to the edge and so provides amazing views of both Hill Canyon and the rest of the Western Plateau.Everybody headed back about 11:15 to get to the thank-you lunch, barbecued by COSCA rangers, and the prize giveaway. As always, the rangers did a superb job with lunch. About a dozen people won prizes, including the grand prize of a new Giant mountain bike.
We’ll be having a little nighttime fun this Friday. Meet at Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park (top of Reseda Blvd. in Trazana) or at San Vicente Mountain Park (Nike Base in Encino) at 5pm, then ride to Sullivan Ridge down to Murphy Ranch Ruins for a guided tour of this historic site by an expert in local lore. Wear a costume (or bling your bike) for a chance to win a prize. There will be snacks and other goodies. Lights mandatory.
Registration is not necessary, but if you want to you can go to http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/143165212/
By Mark Langton
It has come to our attention that due to vandalism, trespassing, and disrespectful behavior by some inconsiderate mountain bikers, the private horse trail that connects Sullivan Canyon at Queensferry Rd. and the residences below at Old Ranch Road (Brentwood) will have gates and cameras installed.
We have known about this situation for quite a while. And even though this trail was created more than 70 years ago for horses only, hikers and bikers have also been using it. But because of continued vandalism to signs and disrespectful, even aggressive behavior by some mountain bikers toward local residents, the decision to install large gates and surveillance cameras has been made by homeowners.
In our literature it is stated that you should always respect private property (it’s #1 of our Rules of The Trail). I am disheartened to learn that some people would be so blatantly rude and uncaring. CORBA can’t be everywhere all the time, nor should we have to remind people of common courtesy. So please don’t go saying “CORBA should do this or that” in response to this situation; we are just the messenger. Some idiot mountain bikers created this problem, and it’s all because of selfish attitudes. And please do not defend or justify these people’s behavior: The fact is, the trail is on private property, and they shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
Cyclists are encouraged to use the public route: Queensferry to Bayliss, Bayliss (either direction) to Westridge Road, down Westridge and out Mandeville Canyon to Sunset Blvd.
Here is some additional information sent to us by local resident Sara Nichols regarding this situation:
This trail has been in use for almost 70 years. Sometime in the 1970′s one of the property owners on the trail tried to close it off. Suit was brought by one of the horse riders on Old Ranch Rd. on behalf of all the riders. He prevailed and the trail is now a prescriptive easement for horse riders; specifically not bikers. Over the years more signs than anyone can count have been ripped out/destroyed by bikers. Recently, one was viciously vandalized–the metal posts on which it was mounted were either broken or sawed off, leaving two potentially dangerous spikes in concrete sticking up and the sign itself thrown into the canyon below. Though a police report has been filed, it was the last straw. Now a gate and a camera, which will be on 24/7, will be placed on the upper part of the trail. The gate will be installed to make it impossible for bikers to get through.
It is an expense and big inconvenience (getting on and off a horse to open and close the gate) that we have been trying to avoid for years but, unfortunately for the considerate bikers, the bad apple bikers brought this on. We are constantly sending workers there to straighten out the mess they make of the trail so that the horses won’t go lame. They never once have done any repair work on trail. They are aggressive, dangerous and clueless about horses.
The photos from the October 5th Skills Clinic at Malibu Creek State Park have just been posted on this website. We had a small group today of only eight, contending with the occasion gust of wind and the hordes of people who were there for a 10K trail run. You can see them in the October 2013 photo gallery.