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CORBA eTerraTimes for August 2012

eTerraTimes Archive


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In this issue...

Showing off newly-learned skills in July at the
free monthly Skill Clinic

Rules of the Trail - Click for details
Proper Trail Etiquette

New on the CORBA Website

There’s a saying that goes something like, “as soon as there’s two of anything, there’s going to be a competition.”

Mark Langton at the Cindy Whitehead Desert Challenge, circa 1988

Competition, in the form of racing, has probably been around since pre-historic times. When it comes to bicycles, racing has been part and parcel of the activity since the very beginning, and in the early 1900s track racing was the most popular sport in the United States, drawing bigger crowds than baseball.

But like most things, there’s a time and a place for racing. As a motorcycle RiderCoach for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, I am constantly reminded of the statistics of sport bike riders who are killed or severely inured because they race each other on the roads of our local mountains. I am also constantly reminded that people like to go fast on their mountain bikes on our local trails, to the detriment of others and even to themselves. I have nothing against people who race. The problem I too often see is with people who think that because they are training for a race, they can ride the local shared use trails at race pace. Our trails in the Santa Monica Mountains are used by a wide variety of people, including new mountain bikers who have no idea what “on your left” means.

Again, I have nothing against people who race, or go fast for that matter. But when around other users, there is no excuse for not slowing down to others’ speed, uphill or down. If you want to go fast, make sure you can see far enough ahead so that your speed will not impact other trail users.

If you want to go fast but are not into racing, there are several places you can go where speed is allowed, such as Mammoth Mountain Bike Park (

As I’ve said before, simply slowing down for other users (slowing to their speed) virtually eliminates the problem that people have with mountain bikers; being scared by getting passed at a high rate of speed. Slowing down improves things for mountain bikers, both from an image and safety standpoint. And it makes for a much more pleasant experience for everyone. Remember, your actions speak for the entire mountain bike community.

25-year Anniversary T-Shirts Now Available

For a limited time, CORBA has special 25-year anniversary T-shirts on sale for the low price of $15. The price includes shipping. Order yours today before we run out, available from the CORBA online store! And socks will be available soon...

CORBA Kids Club Ride Summer Summary

Despite many people being out of town during the summer months, the CORBA Kids Club has managed to beat the heat and keep the faith in parent/child mountain biking! The groups were smaller, but the enjoyment was tops. An unusually hot spring kept us on the west side of town and current temperatures continue to do so. June’s ride at Sullivan Canyon, welcomed two new riders; we hope to see them again soon. A total of 8 riders and one hiker traversed Sullivan until we hit the downed tree, took a break, and headed back. See the full story in our blog.

CORBA's 25th Anniversary Celebration

Please stay tuned as we develop plans for a dinner event to celebrate 25 years of CORBA, our volunteerism, accomplishments and our programs. We are shooting for an affordable and fun evening, along with a documentary/video tribute chronicling CORBA from a variety of perspectives. This has been in the works for several months and we should have final details within the next few weeks. We hope you will mark your calendar and save Saturday, September 29th to come celebrate CORBA and mountain biking in the Santa Monica Mountains and beyond.  Stay tuned for specific details…soon.


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.

Upcoming and Recent Trailwork

For many years, most trailwork has been done by volunteers because of budget cutbacks at our parks systems. So come out and help CORBA and other volunteers keep our trails in top riding shape! You can learn more about what to expect and what you'll need to bring with you on our Trailwork web page. Keep in mind that CORBA now provides prizes and lunch after the event for volunteers who register in advance! And by registering in advance, you'll help us prepare by knowing how many volunteers to expect. If you come out to two or more trailwork days in a year, we'll give you a cool long-sleeved CORBA trail crew shirt - be sure to ask for yours!

September 15: Mesa Peak Backbone Singletrack in Tapia / Malibu Creek State Park. Come out to help us fix up the singletrack at the bottom of Mesa Peak Motorway on September 15th! We’ll be removing some overgrowing bushes and fixing major ruts at the bottom of the trail. CORBA will treat participants to lunch afterwards and provide some great mountain biking prizes, including CST tires. For full details and to register, see our registration page. We hope to see a good turnout of local mountain bikers at this event!

October 20: Twenty-second Annual COSCA Trail Work Day. Join CORBA, SMMTC, COSCA and other volunteer groups to work on the Conejo Open Space trails in Thousand Oaks. This is a great event with many volunteers. We will be working on new trails in the Conejo Canyons Open Space (aka Western Plateau). COSCA will treat participants to lunch afterwards and have a drawing for some great door prizes, including CST tires contributed by CORBA. For full details and to register, see our registration page. We hope to see a good turnout of local mountain bikers at this event!

October 20-21: The IMBA Trail Care Crew will be visiting. Check back for details!

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

Join our mailing list to get updates on trailwork opportunities!
Send an email to

General News

Op Ed August 2012

As a long time bicyclist who rides on the pavement and the dirt, I thought that I had the right-of-way over others whenever I was out getting in a workout. After all, it's much easier for a hiker to move off the trail for a moment to let me pass, right?

Recently, I began hiking the Backbone Trail. Walking along the trail I was amazed at how little most bicyclists pay attention to the trail courtesy signs that are displayed at trailheads. Nearly every cyclist I encountered along the trail slowed down a little bit as they passed with some yelling out “Hi!” and some just smiling. As a hiker, they thought, as I had, that I was the one who should get off the trail to let the bicyclists by. I am your average ‘nice’ hiker but I kind of expected that I would hear the words “Thank you and have a great hike!” on occasion. As trail users who make good use of these trails and who are also interested in getting access to more trails, it makes sense for us cyclists to realize that we are not more entitled than others We would be better accepted if we lived up to our part of the agreement for access to multi-use trails.

It was not all bad out there on the trails. One amazing thing happened on the first segment of my Backbone trek – two bikes approached me as I ascended the Wood Canyon Vista Trail – they stopped and got off their bikes and greeted me. I could not wipe the grin off my face for a mile or so. This behavior should be the norm – that is what the trailhead signs demand. But it is not and may never be.

I have to tell you that encounters like this one change peoples’ perspectives regarding bikes. The flip side is that hikers silently grumble about those darn bikes tearing up the trails when we do not yield. So, if you want more trails to ride, slow down and yield to other trail users. It feels great and it is definitely Win Win.

George Sherman is a long-time CORBA member and open space trails advocate. To sum up what George is saying—what I have been saying in nearly every one of my President’s Messages for the past few years—slow down to others’ speed when on the trails, even if it includes stopping and letting others pass! –Mark Langton

Trail Cyclists Liable for $375 Fines, and Worse

It has come to our attention through dialogue with representatives from National Park Service that over the last few months there have been several incidents involving cyclists traversing the trails unsafely. It has gotten to the point that rangers will now be stepping up their patrols and being more proactive in citing cyclists who they deem to be endangering the safety of themselves and other trail users. The following information was provided to us from the National Park Service (NPS) and would be enforced in such areas as Cheeseboro Canyon and the Backbone Trail. State Parks will likely begin increasing patrols in Pt. Mugu State Park as it is also an area of increased unsafe incidents. See our blog article for the list of possible citations and fines.

Free Mountain Biking Skills Clinic

Saturday August 4 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

  • REI: Use the link at left and REI will donate 5% of the purchase price to CORBA
  • Holmes Body Shop: Get that dent fixed and help CORBA

(Click on the links above to get more details!)

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