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CORBA eTerraTimes for January 2011


eTerraTimes Archive

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In this issue...

After the rain, muddy trails (like this section of the Wood Canyon Vista Trail) should be avoided. Save the trails and help your bike last longer. See story...


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Rules of the Trail - Click for details
Proper Trail Etiquette

A Message from CORBA’s President

By Mark Langton

It’s hard to believe CORBA turns 24 this August. As another year goes into the record books, it is natural to reflect on what has been achieved—and what still needs to be done.

For the most part there is a status quo regarding mountain bike access opportunities. However, we continue see efforts to block that access, and even decrease it. For example, in the City of Los Angeles, the Parks and Recreation department’s policy forbids bicycle riding on any unpaved path or trail despite a very large constituency of cyclists wanting to ride off-pavement living within the City’s borders. Having the Parks and Rec department as an opponent is bad enough, but there are also members of the public who are staunch opponents to bicycles on unpaved City paths and trails, many of whom are equestrians who continue to argue that bicycles and horses can not mix, despite examples to the contrary all across the country and even in the local mountains, including the Santa Monicas.

Much like the trails themselves, advocacy is in constant transition. With CORBA it is no different. We have seen both additions and contractions to CORBA’s Board of Directors—long-time trail work volunteer and advocate Steve Messer joined the board earlier in the year, and his energy and computer skills have become immediate beneficial. Board of Director and Trail Crew Coordinator Hans Keifer has moved on due to increased job requirements (see story below). Thankfully Hans will serve as an advisor (and since he and Steve ride together on a regular basis, he’s sure to be hearing info first hand). If you use trails in the Angeles National Forest, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA), or Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, you are indebted to Hans for all the work he has done on behalf of all trail users.

Looking ahead, we are extremely excited about the trail evaluation and conversion process taking place in the SMMNRA. As directed by Sacramento, our district is considering several trails for conversion from restricted to shared use. CORBA has already had preliminary meetings with district and sector superintendents and will be reporting on the findings of the process in the next few months.  

So where are we now? Ironically, after 24 years, still very much the same as back  in 1987. CORBA is in a very good position because of its relationships with local land managers to potentially realize some significant access gains within the next year. However, we are still in dire need of more members and more awareness in general of responsible riding practices, lest we become relegated off the trails because of potentially dangerous behavior. So we still have a way to go.

Hans Keifer Leaves a Lasting Legacy

CORBA Board of Directors member and Trail Crew Coordinator Hans Keifer steps down from his leadership positions on January 1, but his involvement with CORBA will not likely fade from memory any time soon, or ever for that matter. Whether it was his tireless work coordinating and leading trail work days on hundreds of miles of trails in the Angeles National Forest and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, or his calm and steady presence at board and public meetings, Hans has always remained focused on helping mountain bikers enjoy the open space trails by keeping them open and getting more miles dedicated to shared use. In addition to his advocacy work during his seven years on the CORBA board... See the blog article on Hans' accomplishments for the rest of this story.

New Chapter in CORBA History

CORBA’s Board of Directors recently voted to apply to the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) Chapter and Grass Roots Program. Initiated a little over a year ago, the program aims to help local clubs improve their grass roots efforts and community outreach by offering assistance with administrative duties that often drain a club’s energies better suited for advocacy. The program also offers clubs IMBA’s added resources and visibility.

As an IMBA Founding Club in 1988, CORBA sees this program as coming full circle... See our blog article on IMBA chapters to get the rest of the story.

 The black line shows the contour of trail. The green line shows the contour of an ideal rolling dip. The purple line shows how we try to construct them. Click the image to view a larger one.

Trail Repair Trashed

Many or most of the drainage dips that volunteers constructed during trailwork on the Wood Canyon Vista (Backbone) Trail in Point Mugu State Park last month have been vandalized, de-constructed, and otherwise left ineffective. Downhill ramps were dragged into the uphill dip, greatly reducing their ability to prevent rainwater carving ruts down the middle of the trail. Hopefully this season’s storms will not be so intense that the drainage dips are overwhelmed. Extensive rain rutting will likely require the State Parks to run a Sweco bulldozer up the trail, as they did this spring, which will result in a loose, unstable trail surface that angered so many people at the time.

Read the full blog article on this trail damage...

Riding after It rains

Most trails in our local riding area don’t respond well to rain. They have a high content of clay that turns into sticky, slippery muck that binds to everything it touches. Most wet trails don’t respond well to bikers, hikers or equestrians until they’ve had time to dry out. Hikers and horses make holes and ridges in the trail that become as hard as concrete when the trail dries. Bikes make grooves down the middle. These grooves collect water when it rains again, turning first into little channels to move the water downhill, then into little ruts, then large ruts that destroy the trail. You’ve heard about the beat of a butterfly wing that causes a hurricane? Then remember the tire track that turns a tail into one large rut!

But if the trails are soaking, all is not lost if you need to ride! There are a few trails that hold up well when wet because they have more sand and rock that doesn’t hold the water. See the full story on our blog...

Upcoming Trailwork

There is no trailwork scheduled for 2011 yet. Check back to our Trailwork web page for updates.

To see all trailwork dates, including those of other groups, visit the CORBA trailwork calendar.

General News

MBU Training for 2011 Starts February 5

From Julian Serles of the Mountain Bike Unit

Calling all mountain bikers age 18 and over! The Mountain Bike Unit (MBU) is currently recruiting for its 2011 Training Class. If you enjoy mountain biking and are interested in giving back to the community by volunteering some time to assist our understaffed Park Rangers in patrolling the parks, then the MBU may be just what you are looking for. The MBU assists in providing park visitors with a quality outdoor experience and preserving natural resources while patrolling over 60,000 acres of public parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Beginning in February 2011, training will include visitor contact skills, State and National park radio use, park rules and regulations, first aid and CPR training, and field training exercises. Read our blog article on MBU training...

And view our gallery of MBU photos.

51,000 Petition AAA to Support Rails-to-Trails

On Monday, December 13, RTC President Keith Laughlin—flanked by 35 cyclists on an unusually frigid morning in Heathrow, Fla.—delivered the names of more than 51,000 petition signers to the American Automobile Association (AAA), calling for the support of critical, established programs that fund trails, walking and bicycling. See the full story...

New on the CORBA Website

Recreational Rides

For a list of upcoming recreational rides, please visit the CORBA Calendar.

CORBA’s Recreational Rides calendar provides a full monthly schedule of mountain bike rides for all skill levels. Mountain bike rides are organized by CORBA member clubs and led by experienced and knowledgeable guides. Recreational rides are a fun and social way to experience a variety of trails in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and beyond.

Free Mountain Biking Skills Clinic

Saturday January 1st is the next skills clinic.

The CORBA free skills clinic is held on the first Saturday of every month at Malibu Creek State Park.

Mountain biking is a lot like tennis or skiing. Just a few minor adjustments in technique can make a huge difference in your control and proficiency. If you want to get better faster, you need to know the fundamentals of mountain biking technique. Whether you're just  getting into mountain biking or have been riding for years, you'll learn some valuable tips from our Introduction to Mountain Biking  skills class that is offered each month. Check out our Skills Clinic web page for all the information. After the clinic, see photos of your new skills on the CORBA web site that you can share with your family and friends!

Follow CORBA on Twitter and Facebook

We have set up accounts with Twitter and Facebook to help keep people informed of the latest developments in our trail advocacy, recreational rides and trailwork days. Follow us on Twitter at and Facebook at

Get Our Blog Articles Delivered to Your Desktop

Have you ever wished you could get our blog articles without having to check the CORBA website every day to see if there’s anything new? Well, you can! Even though our blog software won’t send articles by email, you can still get them delivered to the inbox of most email readers like Microsoft Outlook. You use the “RSS feed” functionality for this. In fact, you can read our articles in any software that receives RSS feeds, such as Internet Explorer and other web browsers. This blog article on RSS feeds shows you how.

Support CORBA

Join or Renew your membership today on our membership web page.

Join Our Team! Do you have any ideas about mountain biking recreation in the L.A. region? Would you like to apply your skills and manage projects that contribute to the sport and lifestyle that you love? Is there an advocate in you? We are recruiting motivated individuals who work well with others. Send an email to or come to a monthly Members Meeting to find out more about what we do and how you can help. Check the calendar for the next meeting.

Other simple ways to support CORBA

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