Posts Tagged ‘Advocacy’

Resolve to Solve in 2013

Monday, December 10th, 2012

How many of you have New Year’s Resolutions that you are hoping to keep? There is one you can make and keep, guaranteed. It will help you, the mountain bike community, and the trail community at large. Ready? Slow down when passing others!

How many things in life can you do that actually solve a problem? On our trails, the one justifiable complaint about mountain bikers is that they sometimes go too fast when passing others, which can be scary and upsetting,even to other cyclists. So all you have to do is slow down when passing, and you SOLVE THE PROBLEM!

Slowing down while passing others on our shared-use trails is a pure win-win proposition. The people who you pass feel good about mountain bikers. WIN! You feel good because you didn’t scare anyone, and everyone has a pleasant exchange. WIN!

Here’s a suggestion: Treat others you are passing on the trail as if you are holding the door open for them. That brief pause is a show of consideration, courtesy, and humanity that will come back to you and the mountain bike community in many positive ways.

It’s up to you. Would you rather finish your ride knowing you did something positive for mountain bikers and trails users, or that you made it worse for yourself and the mountain bike community? You CAN make a difference. And all it takes is slowing down when passing other users!


Sullivan Canyon Closed to Public Until End of December

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

The Southern California Gas Company recently released information regarding the closing of Sullivan Canyon to the public (see below for the press release).

A comment was made on our blog alleging that the area had been closed due to an incident involving a mountain biker  being seriously injured. According to Public Affairs Manager Krista Phipps, the area was not closed as a direct result of the incident, but in response to several factors. “I was told by the Project Manager that [the incident which caused injury to the mountain biker] did not occur at the construction site.  However, it was serious and required the person to be airlifted out of the canyon.  Overall, there have been a series of close calls in and around the construction site and we just do not want to risk injury to the public or our employees,” said Phipps.

Please note that Sullivan Canyon is NOT public property. It is owned and operated by the Southern California Gas Company which maintains it as open to the public unless work to the gas line is necessary. The Gas Co. can rescind permission to access Sullivan Canyon at any time. In this case, many users will be effected, not just mountain bikers. This surely will come down to a blame game with mountain bikers bearing the brunt of criticism, and to a large degree rightly so. All we can ask is that you ride safely for the conditions, and remember that your actions represent the entire mountain bike community.


October 29, 2012

RE: Sullivan Canyon Closure – Southern California Gas Company Pipeline Protection Project

Dear Neighbor:

In follow up to the notice of September 17, 2012 regarding the Sullivan Canyon Maintenance Project, this correspondence is to inform you that in spite of our efforts to complete the project without impeding public access, we have determined that in order to maintain public safety, Sullivan Canyon will be closed to the public during the hours of 6am to 6pm Monday thru Saturday, effective immediately. This schedule will be maintained throughout the duration of the project to ensure safe operation of two high-pressure transmission pipelines located in the canyon. The project is expected to be completed by December 31, 2012. Please note that this completion date is an approximation and may change due to the needs of the project.

Additional closures and/or further restrictions will be posted on the gate at Queensferry Road and at the entrance to the property off of Mulholland Drive in advance, to the extent feasible. We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this necessary work to ensure pipeline safety and maintenance of a reliable natural gas supply to the Los Angeles basin area. SoCal Gas appreciates your understanding of the need for this maintenance work and temporary disruption of canyon access. It is our goal to keep disruptions to a minimum and we regret temporary inconveniences.

Safety is our first priority. We appreciate customers and members of the community keeping us informed on conditions surrounding our facilities. Please feel free to share this notice with your networks which have an interest in the canyon.

Thank you for your understanding while we perform this necessary maintenance and repair work. Should you have any questions, please call me at (323) 371-0011 or email me at

Ride Safely: Your Access to Trails Depends On It

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

The below press release was issued today by the National Park Service (NPS) in conjunction with CORBA.

CORBA has learned that NPS administrators were ready and willing to temporarily close trails in reaction to the issues of increased complaints and collisions listed in the press release. However, due to the trust and reputation that has been fostered and maintained through CORBA’s advocacy efforts with NPS, trail closures were not implemented at this time. Let’s show that we are a responsible user group by slowing down and showing courtesy to our fellow trail users. It’s simple: Slow down, solve the problem.


CONTACT: Kate Kuykendall (NPS), 805-370-2343 or Mark Langton (CORBA), 805-558-1606

National Park Service Teams with Mountain Bikers to Promote Safe Riding
New technology may play role in increased complaints and collisions

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – In response to increased complaints and collisions on local trails, the National Park Service (NPS) has teamed with the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclist Association (CORBA) to promote safe and courteous riding in the Santa Monica Mountains.

“We’re thrilled that there is great demand for the public to enjoy the beauty and public health benefits of our extensive trail system,” said Melanie Turner, law enforcement ranger and mountain bike unit coordinator with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). “For the benefit and safety of all users, we ask people to follow proper trail etiquette and observe the 15 mph speed limit.”

Rangers report an uptick in visitor complaints regarding cyclists who are riding too fast or in restricted areas. Particularly on busy weekends, the effects can be dangerous. In the past year, accidents at Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyon resulted in several helicopter extractions, though the problem is not limited to that site.

Turner, who is an avid mountain biker herself, wonders if a new website that allows riders to publicly post their times on specific trails has led to an increase in violations. Strava ( shows speeds of up to 35 mph, with average speeds of 25 mph, on some trails within the recreation area. Made aware of the problem, Strava is working with Turner to prohibit users from posting times on certain trails, along with a message about trail regulations.

As part of its mission to promote safe riding, CORBA is working closely with SMMNRA, a unit of the National Park Service, to inform its members about these concerns and remind them about responsible riding tips.

“If you just slow down around other users (including other cyclists), you create a win-win for everyone,” said Mark Langton, president of CORBA. “Speed is subjective; what one person might think is slow might still be too fast. Even at 10 mph you can startle someone and disrupt their enjoyment of our open space. If you slow down, you literally solve the problem most people have with bicycles on the trail – that they go too fast and scare other users.”

Turner attended a recent CORBA meeting and is visiting local bike shops to let the community know that rangers will be stepping up patrols and issuing citations. Both organizations hope the efforts will result in a safe and enjoyable trail experience for all users.

About Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area:
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) is the largest urban national park in the country, encompassing more than 150,000 acres of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. A unit of the National Park Service, it comprises a seamless network of local, state, and federal parks interwoven with private lands and communities. As one of only five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world, SMMNRA preserves the rich biological diversity of more than 450 animal species and 26 distinct plant communities. For more information, visit

About Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association:
Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association was founded in 1987 to serve the mountain bicycling community of Los Angeles and surrounding areas including southern Ventura County. CORBA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to gaining and maintaining public trail access for mountain cyclists and the public at-large. CORBA encourages and promotes the safe and environmentally responsible use of unpaved roads and trails for bicycling and to educate the public about all aspects of off-road cycling and trails.


Ride And Mingle (RAM) Nov 17 Building Momentum

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

In celebration of CORBA’s 25th Anniversary, on November 17 we will Ride up to The Hub in Topanga State Park and Mingle for a photo opportunity to show land managers and the trail user community that mountain bikers can and do coexist on the trails. We are hoping for 250 (or more) riders. Save the date and spread the word!

We’ll meet at 10am and around 10:30 we’ll take the group shot. We’ll then hand out cash prizes, with the top cash amount being $1,000. We’ll also be having a 50/50 drawing, so bring $20 in cash and put it into the pot, with the lucky winner getting half of whatever is collected and the other half going to CORBA.

How do you get to The Hub? There are several trail head locations you can start from. Reseda Blvd., Trippet Ranch, Sullivan Canyon, Mulholland Drive (dirt) from the east (Encino) or west (Woodland Hills), Will Rogers State Historic Park, Westridge Fireroad, and San Vicente Mountain Park (Nike Site), to name a few.

Check this map with all the trails and trailheads. The Hub is marked with a blue dot and the letter “z.”

Or, download this map. The Hub and the major trailheads are circled. Print it and bring it with you so you don’t get lost!

Though no RSVP is required, you can let us know you’re planning to Ride and Mingle on CORBA’s Meetup group.

It’s not Strava’s Fault Mountain Bikers are Ignorant

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

By Mark Langton

It has come to our attention that it is possible that small group of mountain bikers is using the web site Strava to have “competitions” in various locations around the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation area.

Strava allows you to track and upload your outings onto their web site via a GPS tracking device. The data ncludes the time it took you to traverse a particular route. It seems that some mountain bikers are using this feature to create a “time trail” competition and posting their times to see who is fastest. Obviously, trying to go as fast as possible on our shared use trails is not acceptable as it can endanger other users, including but not limited to mountain bikers. In response to this situation, we have learned that National Park Service rangers will be intensifying their presence at locations known to be experiencing this time trial scenario, Cheeseboro Canyon Park in Agoura Hills being one of them.

Currently it is the policy of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area’s managing agencies that events that displace or affect the safety of other trail users on public open space trails are prohibited. If you want to race, go to a sanctioned race ( If you want to go fast, go to a location that is set up for high speed mountain biking, such as Mammoth Mountain (

Donation Stations Installed at Trailheads September 2012

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Donation boxes and info kiosks have been installed at the PCH entrances to Sycamore and  and La Jolla Canyons, and at Chumash trail head. We have been informed that any and all donations collected at these stations will go directly to trail maintenance and resource projects in the state park where the money was collected. The kiosks will allow volunteer partners (such as CORBA) to post information about upcoming events and other general information.

Newly installed donation station and info kiosk at Sycamore Canyon entrance to Point Mugu State Park.

Vote For CORBA for Hall of Fame, Deadline July 15

Monday, July 9th, 2012

As posted here recently, CORBA has been nominated for the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame by Hall of Fame member and long-time CORBA Supporter Dr. Al Farrell. The deadline for voting is July 15, and you must be a member of the Hall of Fame to vote.

CORBA is in a category with some very well-deserving nominees, all important to the sport of mountain biking. However, considering CORBA’s involvement not just locally in an area that sets the tone for advocacy, but also as a major contributor to the existence and growth of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), we feel that on our 25th Anniversary it would be a fitting tribute to all those who have made mountain biking a legitimate open space activity in the United States and around the world to receive this honor. Please go to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and Museum’s web site, join, then vote for CORBA for induction into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame!

California Bicycle Access Threatened

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

ALERT! Mountain bikers stand to lose treasured backcountry riding experiences in Southern California’s national forests.

Take Action! Let the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) know that you support IMBA’s position to protect mountain bike access. We made it easy, just sign our petition (click on Take Action! at the beginning of this paragraph). Comments are due Mon., June 11.

In the four Southern California national forests: Los Padres, Angles, San Bernardino and Cleveland the USFS is currently planning for management of their backcountry lands. In order to maximize riding opportunities and not lose mountain bike access to trails, it is imperative that you ask the USFS to use a “Backcountry Non-Motorized” designation.

The plans for these forests will decide where mountain bikes are allowed and where we are banned. Their current proposals include “Recommended Wilderness” (banned) and “Backcountry Non-Motorized” (allowed) designations.

In several previous decisions, the USFS decided to manage “Recommended Wilderness” as if it were congressionally designated Wilderness. IMBA strongly objects to this policy.

IMBA needs your help to maximize the riding opportunities in these great forests.

Read more about the project.

“Hey CORBA, Stop Ruining Our Trails!”

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

By Mark Langton

Does this trail look "ruined"?

Seems like every time there is maintenance on our local trails, we hear from some very passionate people within the mountain bike community: “Leave the trails the way they are!” Along with this we also get the usual “How can CORBA do this?” A recent comment even alleged that CORBA is trying to take away our freedoms by doing trail work; “CORBA is conspiring with the State to ruin a beautiful single track trail—The Guadalasca.” As I and several others said in recent blog responses, trails are dynamic, they need maintenance every so often. CORBA doesn’t decide what work needs to be done, but agrees that it does and feels that we should participate as advocates of shared open space trails.

Many times people making these comments start off by saying “I have been riding these trails for several years…” If that were true, then they’d know that trails return to a more natural, “challenging” appearance after any kind of trail work. The Sulphur Springs Trail in Cheeseboro Canyon and Solstice Canyon Trail section of the Backbone Trail are two such trails that come to mind. Both were widened and smoothed over, and many people said they’d be “ruined.” Look at them now; they are as challenging and natural—and fun—as ever.

I’ll admit, I am not always in favor of trails becoming less challenging, but at the same time, I have to balance it with the fact that I can ride the trail in the first place. Guadalasca (and other sections of the Backbone Trail) is open to bicycles thanks to the advocacy efforts of CORBA. Some people might say that even if it were closed, they’d ride it. That’s your personal choice, but I’d like to think that as someone who enjoys the open space, you’d like to do it without the cloud of breaking the rules hanging over your head. Just because you can break the rules, it doesn’t mean you should.

Here’s an analogy I came up with while out riding (always good therapy): Let’s say the agency that maintains the street you live on proclaimed that, due to budgetary constraints, they would only be able to do limited maintenance on the street. The street and sewer system falls into disrepair, so you and your neighbors put together a volunteer group to help the agency; you get trained in road and sewer repair, and enlist other neighbors to help. Still, the street becomes riddled with potholes and cracks because the agency just can’t afford the materials and equipment to do the repairs. Soon, off-road vehicle owners start using your street to challenge their vehicles’ capabilities because there’s nowhere else nearby they can do it, which make the street conditions worse. Not to mention these vehicles can go much faster than the passenger cars most of you and your neighbors are driving, making it unsafe for you and your neighbors to even drive down the street. You caution the off-roaders that they shouldn’t drive their vehicles on your street, especially at high speeds, because it is creating an unsafe situation, but they still do because “it’s public and they have a right to drive there. And besides, we’re not going that fast.” Finally, after several years, you and the agency start making repairs, but the off-roaders keep coming and start complaining that you are ruining their fun zone. They come to your volunteer maintenance days and complain you are making the street too smooth and it’s no fun to drive there. They write letters to you saying you are trying to take away their freedoms. All because you are trying to do the right thing for your community.

Here’s an idea: The next time you think someone is trying to take something away from you in your local riding area, ask yourself, “what can I do to help improve the situation?” That could mean getting more involved with your local community. Or it could mean going someplace where the trails are more challenging, where riding them at higher speeds does not impact the rest of the trail user community. Such places exist, whether it be a race or a bike park like Mammoth Mountain. Our local trails are for shared use by many different types of users, so you’re just going to have to adjust your riding style accordingly. Kind of like on the street when driving your car or motorcycle; you may have a high-performance vehicle, but to drive it to its capabilities on public streets just wouldn’t smart or safe. Just because you can break the rules, it doesn’t mean you should.


Santa Clarita Trails Public Hearing Announced

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

From the Santa Clarita Valley Trail Users:

Dear Friends,

Our fight to re-open The Canyon Trail and Vasquez Rocks to mountain biking continues.

As a part of the “trail assessment process” the County is undertaking, a “first” public hearing will be held on this matter on Wednesday, February 15 at 7PM at William S. Hart Park in the “Hart Hall” building.  This is a very important meeting and we need all hands on deck.  So please mark your calendar and plan on bringing your spouse and kids and maybe a few “Share the Trails” signs.  More information will follow as we plan for this meeting.

Additionally, next week, some of our committee members will be meeting with Russ Guiney to discuss the status of our request to re-open these trails and to express our concerns about the process and approach they are undertaking to address this issue.  Mr. Guiney is the Director of LA County Parks and Rec and the buck does stop with him.  Ultimately, this is his decision.  Wish us well.

Thank you for your support and letters to Supervisor Antonovich.  We would not have made it this far without it.

See you on the trials!

Please sign our petition:
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SCV Trail Users
Safe and Equal Access for All Trail Users
To add your name to our email list, please email with such a request.