April Skills Clinic photos posted April 1

April 1st, 2017

There was a baker’s dozen at this month’s Skills Clinic, an appropriate number for April Fools Day.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our April photo gallery.

May 4th Mtn Bikers Meeting for the Santa Susana Mountains Trail Master Plan – Phase II

April 1st, 2017

Los Angeles County has begun planning outreach for the Santa Susana Mountains. In 2012, CORBA gave significant input to the Santa Susana Mountains Trail Master Plan (phase I). In 2015 CORBA then spoke in support of the plan before the County Board of Supervisors.

Now they’re about to start on Phase II, which includes the northeastern portions of the Santa Susana Mountains including Stevenson Ranch (Phase II.A), as well as a portion of the west San Fernando Valley foothills (Phase II.B).

We’re encouraged that Supervisor Kathryn Barger is continuing the fifth district’s support for trail planning and outdoor recreation.

An overview public meeting is scheduled for April 18. A meeting for the mountain bike community will be held on May 4th. Unfortunately, that conflicts with the first event of the Race Pedalfest series. However, mountain bikers are welcome to attend the other user group meetings, but the focus may not be on mountain biking needs. Anyone can provide comments at any time through the project website; site-specific comments can be captured through the wikimap tool (to be launched soon on the project website), or trail users can email the project lead, Zachary Likins, directly.

A full meeting schedule and more details are available on the project web site at http://www.santasusanatrailsplan.org/

 

 

We fixed a lot of ruts during the Conejo Spring Trailwork Day on March 18th!

March 18th, 2017

We weren’t able to fix this huge rut because we didn’t have enough volunteers. The COSCA rangers will figure out how to fix it when they have some time.

From the beginning, the plan had been to build a reroute of the ridgeline Peninsula Trail in the Western Plateau. The new route would have a better view, be more rolling, and be easier to maintain. However, the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) rangers changed that plan a couple of weeks ago because many of the trails had developed severe ruts from all the rain we’ve had. And did we fill in a lot of ruts! Also we built some new drains to help prevent future ruts from forming.

Sixty-Five volunteers signed in on Saturday morning to help, almost half of them from various Meetup groups, including CORBA’s. We had planned to split into 5 crews, each of which was to tackle a different section of the trail, mostly on the Hawk Canyon Trail. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough volunteers so we only had four crews, and one severly rutted area when unrepaired.

Crew 5 widens the trail on the Baxter Singletrack.

My crew tackled the new Baxter Singletrack Trail that was built last October during the Conejo Annual Trailwork Day. We filled in lots of ruts, built at least four new drains and cleaned out a couple of old ones. Despite all the drenching we’ve had, overgrown brush wasn’t a significant problem.

You can see the gallery from today’s work at this thumbnail gallery.

We headed back up the trail to get back to the registration area by noon to take part in the thank-you barbecue. The COSCA ranger always cook up the best post-trailwork grub!

Thanks to all the CORBA volunteers and other who came out to help! Everyone did a great job and as a result the trails are in much better shape.

March Skills Clinic photos posted March 5

March 5th, 2017

There was a large group of 18 at March’s Skills Clinic, most of whom were new MBU recruits. With such a large group, there wasn’t time to ride down to the stream crossing so we skipped that.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our March photo gallery.

March 2017 eTerraTimes Newsletter Published March 3rd

March 3rd, 2017

The March 2017 edition of CORBA’s bimonthly newsletter, the eTerraTimes, was published today, March 3rd. If you don’t get it by email, you can view it online.

As always, the eTerraTimes has all the latest news for mountain bikers in the Santa Monica Mountains and surrounding areas.

President’s Message: Changes are Coming

March 2nd, 2017

Changes are coming. We just need to figure out what is in the best interest of you as mountain bikers, for our members, for CORBA, and finally for IMBA.

Since the abrupt loss of Suburu as a sponsor of several of its core programs last year, IMBA, our parent (and child!) organization, has had to undergo some major cutbacks. The Trail Care Crew and other programs are on indefinite hold. Staff layoffs and the resignation of Executive Director Mike Van Abel set IMBA on a much-needed transformation.

The IMBA Chapter program, which CORBA joined in 2011, was a key factor in IMBA’s recent growth. Much of the funding for the Chapter program came from Suburu, including travel expenses incurred by the Regional Director. One of the main functions of the RD was to liaise with and help coordinate all the chapters in a territory. In our case, the region is California and Hawaii.

In return, IMBA receives 60% of your membership dues and CORBA receives 40%. The basic membership is $35, with options at $50, $100 and higher that include swag. IMBA handles everything regarding membership management. The time and energy we would otherwise spend on membership management we can devote to advocacy and trailwork.  IMBA has supported us in Washington DC while we worked locally with members of Congress to prevent trail closures due to wilderness legislation. We’ve had access to IMBA expertise including the Trail Care Crew and Trail Solutions crew.  We also increased our membership numbers by about 40% when we became a chapter.

Recent IMBA messaging, however, has not been taken well by a portion of our members. Some have quit their membership and chosen to donate money directly to CORBA (which we welcome, regardless of membership).

IMBA recently chose Chairman of the Board Dave Weins as its new Executive Director. He’s widely respected and well-known. He ran a chapter himself. The ED is at the service of the IMBA Board of Directors, so we don’t expect any immediate changes in IMBA policy or messaging.

Overall, we’ve had a productive, fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship with IMBA. However, it’s been quite expensive at 60% of membership dues and is unsustainable without Suburu’s sponsorship.

Proposed changes to the program to make it sustainable are to increase the base membership price to about $50. About 40% of our members are now at the $35 level. Understanding people’s financial constraints, we expect to lose some members if the membership price is raised.

In the 1990s IMBA’s mantra was to give 20-20-20. $20 for IMBA, $20 for your local organization, and twenty hours of volunteer trailwork. Considering inflation, that’s not much different to the proposed changes: local and national advocacy group memberships for $50.

Hopefully most of you see the immense value in our programs: keeping trails open, restoring trails after disasters, advocating for mountain bikers to land managers and organizations around Southern California. We have bike parks completed and operating, and are working to bring more to the area. Without CORBA’s 30 years of advocacy, your local riding options might be much more limited.

Other proposed changes include the development of a Regional Leadership Council in which all SoCal chapters could meet among ourselves and coordinate efforts. We’d also get a new nationwide insurance plan which is hopefully less expensive than our current policies. We’d have access to experts in various fields by email or voice. It’s a streamlined and more efficient program. The question is whether it’s worth the 60% share of membership dues IMBA takes.

San Diego Mountain Bike Association and others in California are considering whether to stay in IMBA’s chapter program or go it alone. CORBA must make also this decision in the near future. There is much value to CORBA’s relationship with IMBA, but there’s also great value in a California-focused organization as proposed by San Diego Mountain Bike Association. At more than double CORBA’s membership, SDMBA could easily thrive as an IMBA Associate Club, rather than a chapter.

The departure of any chapter would reduce the number of IMBA members nationwide. A departing chapter might lose some members too. Some members may subsequently choose to join both the local organization and IMBA at the national level, as things were before the chapter program. It’s doubtful all current members would join both under those circumstances.

However, significantly weakening IMBA will ultimately hurt us all. IMBA remains dedicated to improving mountain biking for everyone. STC, which most of our members also support, has a much more narrowly focused mission that affects California more than most other states. IMBA’s efforts are having a positive impact nationally and local, but the local impacts are more difficult to quantify. The soon-to-be-released “Guidelines for a Quality Trail Experience” developed in partnership with the BLM, is a great example. Aimed squarely at Land Managers, this extensive new reference will be key to helping land managers understand our needs and desires. It will help guide the development of more bike-specific trails to meet a growing need. We can’t wait to supply a copy to our local Land Managers as we advocate for quality trail experiences locally. Resources like this help us all.

IMBA has taken feedback from its chapters on the proposed chapter program changes through a series of conference calls and surveys. They’re tweaking it based on the feedback and we’re waiting for the final version. When that comes, we’ll have a decision to make. But we’re interested in hearing from our members, and from those who aren’t members. (Why not?)

Most of you already join at the $50 level and higher (and we appreciate your support!). How many who now pay $35 can’t or won’t want to join us for $50?

How many of you feel strongly either way about our association with IMBA?  Would you join both organizations separately if we parted ways, or just one or the other?

We may send out a survey in the near future asking these and other questions, but feel free to email or comment to share your views.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual for CORBA. We’re busy with trailwork, advocacy, bike parks, fundraising, education and mountain bike advocacy. We’re improving relationships with Land Managers and looking for new opportunities. We’re in it for the long run and need your continued support.

CORBA welcomes Peter Sullivan to the Board of Directors

March 1st, 2017

At our February 2017 board meeting, we were excited to have a new nominee for our Board of Directors. His approval was unanimous. We welcome Peter Sullivan to CORBA’s Board.

Peter has been active in cycling since his Schwinn Stingray days in the 1970s. He’s been riding and racing since the earliest days of mountain biking, and still competes.  He also enjoys getting out and exploring on his gravel grinder. Most recently, he’s been tightly involved in the SoCal High School Cycling League as a coach for the Newbury Park High School Mountain Bike Team. Newbury Park took third place in the high school State Championships last year, a reflection of Peter and his fellow coaches’ dedication and effectiveness.As a high school coach, he’s already given back so much to the sport, and especially to the student-athletes he has trained. Mentoring student-athletes, and helping them build confidence, fitness and bike handling skills are just a part of it. Sharing his love of the sport completes the package.

He’s seen the sport grow from its roots in the 70s, though its infancy in the early 80s, to an Olympic, College, and High School sport today.  He’s seen mountain biking become more and more popular and understands all too well the importance of actively working to keep access to our existing trails and to seek out and open up new opportunities.  As mountain biking grows, so must our access to quality trails and places to ride.

“Mountain biking and cycling have given so much to me over the years that I thought it was time I give back,” said Sullivan.  “I’m excited about having a bike park project in my neighborhood too,” he added.

One of the newest opportunities we have is the Sapwi Trails Bike Park in Thousand Oaks. Peter has been an advocate for this project since its inception. He’ll be serving on a new committee to oversee development of the bike park, and is excited to work on this project. We’ll be holding a meeting about it in a few weeks, so stay tuned.

CORBA is fortunate and excited to have Peter’s local knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication working with us to support all mountain bikers in SoCal.

Again, welcome and thank you Peter.

Help with the Grasslands Trail Reroute in Malibu Creek State Park April 22

March 1st, 2017

To help celebrate Earth Day (April 22, 2017), there will be a major trail building and restoration event in Malibu Creek State Park. CORBA and a number of other groups are combining their efforts to, among other things, build a new trail to replace the segment of the Grasslands Trail that was closed several years ago, shown in the photo below.

The new trail will replace the closed, ecologically damaging fall-line trail with a longer one that descends more gently to the bottom of the hill.

The work will mostly involve finishing the roughed-in trail that will have been plowed out by a SWECO trail bulldozer.

All tools will be provided, as well as instructions on how to use them safely and effectively, by experienced trail crew leaders. No experience needed – everyone works at a rate they’re comfortable with and takes lots of breaks. Bring a snack to eat on the trail; lunch will be provided.

Wear sturdy hiking boots with good lugs, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sunglasses, sunblock and a hat, and bring water, snacks. Bring work gloves if you have them. We have a few pairs we can loan to people without.

This is a combined project between the National Park Service, the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, CORBA and others.

Help us prepare for the event by registering online at https://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/237532161/ Full details are available on the registration page.

 

Trail Days 2017: We Need Your Help to Restore Sycamore Canyon Trails April 29, 30!

March 1st, 2017

Once a year we have an opportunity to work on the trails and then BBQ and camp at Danielson Ranch in Pt Mugu State Park. It is opened annually for the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days! This is a unique opportunity to work on the trails that we enjoy so much in Sycamore Canyon, and the Saturday workday is followed by a BBQ dinner and prizes, with free camping available on Friday and/or Saturday night. This is hands down the best day to get in some trail maintenance work! Camping is optional; you may leave with the escort after the BBQ. There will be trailwork projects on both Saturday and Sunday. Sign up for one or both!

Some of the trails were severely damaged by the winter rains so we’ll need lots of help to repair them this year.

Pre-registration is requested by April 25th so we’ll know how many people to prepare for.

Schedule at a glance

Friday night April 28 – arrive for overnight camping (optional). Bagels and hot beverages supplied Saturday morning for campers.

Saturday April 29Trailwork, barbecue dinner, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch. Optional overnight camping. Bagels and hot beverages supplied Sunday morning for campers.

Sunday April 30Trailwork, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch.

You can volunteer to help out on Saturday, Sunday, or both.

BRING: LUNCHES, BEVERAGES, SNACKS AND WATER. Tools and instruction on using them are provided.

WEAR: Gloves, hat, long pants, protective clothing, and work boots or sturdy shoes.

REGISTRATION: Advance registration is required for the activities shown below, and appreciated by April 18th!

Saturday Registration: https://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/238094221/
Sunday Registration: https://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/238094287/

TRAILWORK: Saturday and/or Sunday. Help out with one or both! There are also opportunities to help out in the camp instead of trailwork.

CAMPING: Free camping Friday and/or Saturday nights for volunteers at the Danielson Multi-use Area located under the sycamores and oaks in the heart of Point Mugu State Park. Bring your own gear.

DINNER: Sat. Night Barbecue Free FOR VOLUNTEERS. Bring appetizers and beverages.

PRIZES: Thank-you prize give-aways will be held Saturday after dinner and Sunday after trailwork.

VEHICLE ACCESS: You will be able to caravan into and out of the park by vehicle only at these few designated times:

ARRIVE: Friday – 5 pm and 7 pm. Saturday – 7:30 am and 4:30 pm Sunday – 7:30 am

DEPART: Saturday – 4 pm and about 9 pm. Sunday – 8 am and 2:30 pm

Full details and camping/dining details are also provided on the registration pages.

Help build another new trail during the COSCA Spring Trailwork Day, March 18

March 1st, 2017

Join CORBA, SMMTC, COSCA and other volunteer groups to work on the Conejo Open Space trails in Thousand Oaks.

This year we’ll continue our work that we started in October to reroute the ridgeline Peninsula Trail in the Western Plateau / Conejo Canyons to a line that is more fun to ride and scenic.

There will be a thank you lunch and prize drawings at noon after the work. This is a great event with lots of like-minded folks to help out. If you use the trails in Thousand Oaks, come out and help build and maintain them! No prior experience is necessary and all volunteers work at their own pace, taking plenty of time to rest and chat with other trail enthusiasts!

This annual Conejo Valley event always helps to put some very sweet trails into good shape. Be sure to stay afterwards for the free lunch and raffle.

Details are available on our 2017 COSCA Annual Trailwork Day event on Meetup.com. While there, register online to show your support!

Things to bring:

• work gloves
• long pants and long sleeved shirt
• water, snack
• sunglasses and sunblock

Tools and instructions on how to use them safely will be provided. There will be a free thank-you lunch and prize give-away afterwards from noon until 2:00 pm.