Happy New Decade! A 20-Teens Retrospective

January 1st, 2020

CORBA has a lot to be proud of this last ten years. It feels like the twenty-teens was the decade in which mountain biking really came of age. The sport has grown and we’ve seen tremendous changes and challenges. Mountain bikers are no longer a newcomer to the trails, but we’ve still got a long way to go.

There’s no denying the explosive growth of mountain biking last decade. We’ve all seen more people on trails, and more of them on bikes than ever before. I’ve met more riders with less than five years experience than in any five-year period before the last. Conversely, we’ve seen relatively few new trails constructed in that time. The trail supply is not keeping up with the demand here in Southern California. The agencies and volunteers can’t keep up with maintenance of the supply we already have. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed in ten years, and has gotten worse with agency budget cuts and increasingly severe weather. It’s why we ask you to come out and give a morning back to the trails once or twice a year. You’ll appreciate them so much more after a morning of trailwork.

Let’s take a long look back at what has changed and been accomplished last decade.

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Summary of Backbone Trail restoration held on November 16, 2019

November 17th, 2019

The Backbone Trail between Mulholland Hwy and Etz Meloy Mtwy saw about 20 volunteers from CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council on Saturday to prepare the trail for upcoming winter rains. The area had burned during the Woolsey Fire a year ago that consumed all the chaparral on the hillside, and there was no brush overgrowing the trail. We focused on building rock retaining walls to support the outside of the trail where water would flow down from above and cross the trail. We also cleaned out drains that had been silted up.

CSUCI students clean out a drain at a switchback.

Three first-time volunteers from CalState Channel Islands joined the CORBA crew in building rock walls and digging out drains. They did a great job!

Thanks to all the volunteers who came out to help. You can view more photos in our photo gallery of this event.

California Bike-Themed License Plates

November 6th, 2019

 

You can now order a specialty California license plate with a bicycle theme. The money raised by this license plate will provide grants for bicycle education and advocacy to community organizations at the state and local level.

For years, our friends at CalBike have worked to get California to join the 24 states that have a bicycle specialty license plate program. The new California program allows every car owner to pay extra for a special license plate that shows their support of bicycling. The plate also raises money to support bicycling.

CalBike has been working very closely with California Department of Public Health to design the plate and the program. The DMV has now approved the plate and is taking reservations at https://calbikeplate.com.

The bicycle specialty license plate costs $50. A personalized bicycle license plate costs $103.

The proceeds of the license plate will support education and advocacy to promote bicycling as healthy transportation. For example, grants could support earn-a-bike programs for at-risk youth, community education programs about the importance of bicycling, and share the road education for car drivers and cyclists. CalBike will remain involved as the program develops to make sure the funding supports powerful, effective programs that also lead to social change.

The DPH has to receive 7,500 orders by September 2020, or the DMV won’t issue this plate. Once the 7,500 pre-order threshold is met, the DMV will begin to promote this license plate and will continue to offer it to motorists.

The sooner you place your order, the greater our chances of being able to activate this important funding source for bicycle education.

November Skills Clinic photos posted November 4th

November 4th, 2019

There were only four participants in this month’s Skills Clinic on a very chilly day in the park.

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 November photo gallery.

Summary of the Conejo Fall Trail Work Day held October 19 in the Conejo Canyons Open Space

October 22nd, 2019

Digging to make a drain starts when the vegetation is all gone.

About 80 open space enthusiasts came out to help fix up the trails in the Conejo Canyons in preparation for winter rains. Volunteers came from various organizations such as the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council (SMMTC), CORBA, the El Camino Real charter high school mountain bike team, various Meetup groups and others. The CORBA crew added drains to natural dips in the Hill Canyon Trail so they wouldn’t become muddy bogs when it rains. The other folks hiked up the Canyon Overlook Trail to fill in ruts and remove loose rocks. At noon, the volunteers were rewarded with a taco lunch and prize give-away to thank them for their hard work and generosity in donating their time to open space improvement. COSF, COSCA and the other organizations would like to give a hearty thank-you to all the volunteers!

View some of the workers in our photo gallery!

Fall Volunteer Trailwork Opportunities – Santa Monica Mountains

October 5th, 2019

As a trail enthusiast, we hope you’ll be able to help us out during our fall trail work program! We have four events scheduled between now and the new year. At all these events, lunch will be provided to volunteers as a way to thank you for helping!

The first event is the Annual Fall Conejo Open Space Trail Work Day, taking place on Saturday October 19th at 7:30 pm. In years past we’ve had turnouts of over 150 people to this event, but recently the numbers have been dwindling. We hope you’ll be able to help us have a really good turnout so we can get lots of trails fixed up!

This year we’ll be fixing up trails damaged in the Hill Fire last November and then by the heavy winter rains.

Please help us plan for the the amount of trails we can fix up and prepare for the coming winter rain by signing up in advance online at https://cosf.org/events/register/ . And you can find more details here https://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/265216169/

Remember, at noon the volunteers will be treated to a lunch and prize-giveaway!

Subsequent work days will be on

We hope you’ll be able to join us for one or more of these work days. It’s only through volunteer help that we can repair trails from fire and rain damage to keep them in great shape for riding!

Help restore trails in the Conejo Canyons during the 2019 Fall Trail Work Day on October 19

October 3rd, 2019

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

This year we’ll be repairing and doing preventative maintenance on trails in the Conejo Canyons / Western Plateau area that were damaged last November by the Hill Fire and then subsequent winter rains.

We’ll also be celebrating the re-opening of the Hill Canyon Bridge that was severely damaged by the Hill Fire.

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 prize give-away.

Registration starts at 7:30 am on Saturday October 19 at the Santa Rosa Valley Park (use this Google Map to find your way), and crews assemble and head to the work sites at 8:00 am.

Please help us by signing up online in advance to we’ll know how many people to prepare for – Thanks!

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 about 2:00 pm.

Remember to sign up online!

Glendora Seeks Public Input on Little Dalton Wash Multi-Use Urban Trail

September 24th, 2019

The City of Glendora invites you to a public workshop held in conjunction with a proposed grant application to the California Natural Resources Agency under Proposition 68.  The City is proposing to submit an application for the Little Dalton Wash. The project would construct a bike/pedestrian path similar to the existing Glendora Urban Trail and extend from Finkbiner Park to just south of the spreading grounds near Glendora Mountain Road. The City will be holding a workshop to solicit input and feedback on this exciting opportunity to create and enhance open space, trail connectivity, and recreational opportunities for Glendora, on Monday, Sep 30th.

CORBA supports the proposal, and we encourage everyone with an interest in the Colby trail, the city of Glendora, and its urban trail system to participate in the public meeting:

Little Dalton Wash Meeting
Monday, September 30, 2019, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Bidwell Forum, 140 S. Glendora Ave, Glendora, CA

 

National Park Service lifts ban on E-Bikes

August 30th, 2019

Today, August 30, 2019, the National Park Service has released a revised policy on electric pedal-assist mountain bikes.

The new policy allows electric pedal-assist bicycles to be used wherever muscle-powered bicycles are allowed. The policy requires each National Park unit to update their park compendium within 30 days. The policy allows Park Superintendents the flexibility to close or open trails to pedal-assist bicycles as deemed appropriate for park management, resource protection, or other reasons.

The policy prohibits class 2 throttle-controlled electric bikes from being used unless in pedal-assist mode only.  Class 3 electric bicycles remain prohibited.

While this policy allows the NPS to open trails to e-bikes, we don’t expect all trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to be immediately opened. The SMMNRA is a joint powers authority, and this policy doesn’t affect trails outside NPS boundaries, such as trails on California State Parks or Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority managed lands.

CORBA has remained neutral in the electric mountain bike debate, as we recognize there are both potential drawbacks and benefits from allowing their use. As local policies are updated, we’ll post here and on social media.

Here is the policy announcement: NPS E-bike policy-PM_19-01

 

Station Fire 10 Years Later

August 27th, 2019
Ten years ago today, CORBA’s trail crew set out to do trailwork on Sunset Ridge trail in the Angeles National Forest. When I arrived at the chaney trail gate, it was closed. I rode up to Millard, from where I could see that a fire was burning in the Arroyo Seco Canyon, on the western flank of Mt. Lukens. We cancelled CORBA trailwork for the day, while I rode Sunset Ridge and El Prieto for what would be the last time in several years. The Station Fire burned for 50 days, until it was essentially extinguished by the first rains of the El Nino winter season in October. Over 160,000 acres burned, including most of our favorite trails. 
 
This changed my life, and changed CORBA’s focus. Trails were closed with no indication of how much destruction there would be. Torrential rains over the next few months dealt a blow to the barren, burned earth. CORBA began focussing on rebuilding trails that had been damaged by the Station Fire.
 
Over the course of the next nine years, CORBA switched gears to begin rebuilding trails. Sam Merrill trail was our first volunteer work day a year after the fire. We had 70 volunteers show up, many of whom just wanted to get into the closed Forest and see the destruction first hand.
 
CORBA, working in tandem with other groups, restored: El Prieto, Brown Mountain, Sunset Ridge, Sam Merrill Trail, Rim Trail, Gabrielino Trail (Redbox-Switzers), Silver Moccasin Trail, Colby Canyon Trail, Strawberry Peak trail, Upper Brown Mountain fire road, Ken Burton trail, Mt. Hillyer trail, Doc Larson Trail, Rattlesnake Trail, Fascination Springs Trail, Vetter Mountain Trail, Charlton Connector, Silver Moccasin trail and others. We had tremendous support from the community, with grants from REI and Edison International. More than 10,000 volunteer hours were recorded.
 
A year ago CORBA and MWBA re-opened the last trail still closed because of the Station Fire. The Gabrielino National Recreation Trail. Since then, we have restored the Los Pinetos Trail (closed due to the Sand Fire), and have begun work on Woolsey Fire restoration efforts in the Santa Monica Mountains.
 
In the aftermath of the Station Fire, many in the mountain biking community gave back to get trails reopened for which we are truly appreciative. In that time the sport has grown, there are more people than ever using the trails, and the need for continued volunteerism and efforts to maintain our public lands is growing.
 
Thank you to the mountain biking community and the trails community at large for giving back to our trails over these last ten years. Let’s keep up the momentum as we look forward to maintaining the trails we’ve restored and ensuring we all have places to ride our bicycles and connect with our public lands.