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  1. #1
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    Newbie Trails in LA

    Can anyone recommend any good intro trails in the LA area ? 10-20 miles long ?

    I want to go out a bit with my flatmate, I've mostly done road riding to date so I'm not incredibly unfit (I ride 15-20 miles a day, all road though), but she's rather out of shape, just need something fun and easy to get us both into mountain biking properly.

    Suggestions ?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    you go ahead
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    Check out this route.....

    go to PCH and take a right at sunset. Take a left at Palisades Drive (less than 1 mile up)
    Drive up palisades drive untill you come to a sign that says Chastain Parkway. This is approximately 5 miles from sunset. Go up chastain parkway and soon you will be at Calle Deborah (to your right). Calle Deborah is between the uphill part of Chastain parkway and the downhill part - hard to miss too because there's a brown Topanga State Park sign in front of it.
    Take Called Deborah up untill you reach a short, badly paved incline. Park in the parking lot to your left. Then ride straight across to a fence that says "Authorized vehicles only." Doesn't look like a trailhead, but it is. Follow the cement path up as it zigzags up untill it hits dirt. Once you reach the little plateu, take in the wonderful view of the Santa Monica Bay and, if it's clear, Catalina.

    Ride to your left. This is a short climb with rocks strewn everywhere. Never completed this without dismounting since I went clipless . Keep riding this trail. There will be some pretty steep, loose climbs that you might have to hike. Do-able though. This trail will join up with Trailer canyon fire road. (I would have suggested this as a route, but it can sometimes be a little aerobically challenging in the heat. Plus, this other route is a little narrower and more fun... with better views.) Ride along this fire road untill you reach the 'hub'. This is where most of the trails in Topanga State Park begin (or end).

    If you feel like some beginner/intermediate downhill singletrack, retrace your steps for a short stetch and you will come upon the Backbone - Will Rogers trailhead. You just passed it going to the 'hub' but it is sometimes easy to miss. Plus, if you continue to the hub before taking the Backbone you might meet some other riders as well as answer calls of nature in the portable toilet (not recommended ... just go in the grass).

    If you don't take the backbone, then you might want to take the Eagle Rock - Paseo Miramar route. Go up a little hill to your left (at the hub - with your back to trailer canyon) and continue untill you get to eagle rock. you might want to stop here and take in the view on the bench or on the rock itself. Then continue through some fun fire road terrain till you get to Eagle Junction (Eagle Rock and the parallel running Eagle Springs meet here) continue in the same direction downhill untill you get to Tripped Ranch. You don't have to stop here... nothing very interesting except some park benches and a ranger station. Continue along the fire road for a little while and take in some of the nicest views in the Santa Monicas. Paseo Miramar is my favorite fire road.... you will encounter some climbing and a pretty steep (but flat) descent at the bottom. At the end you will arrive at Paseo Miramar (the street) Go down this road (watching your speed!). Then you will arrive at Sunset again. Go up Palisades Drive (to your left.... it willl look familiar) and to your car.

    sorry for the long post... bored of my schoolwork

    this is just a suggestion, and there are lots of other trails around the area. I suggest taking the Backbone if you do it though, just to mix in some singletrack to your ride.


    Good Luck
    rustyb

  3. #3
    Big Drops
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    Cheesebro

    Try Cheesebro.
    101 north to Chesebro. At 4-way stop past the two gas stations, turn rt. Travel 1/2 mile or so, turn rt into the parking area.

    Few spots that may require dismount; otherwise, main trail from is pretty much easy/moderate climb.
    Huck Maestro

  4. #4
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    Best place to ride for XC riding in the immediate LA area would be Turnbull Canyon in Whittier, anything else will be more of a drive.

    Directions: Exit Beverly Blvd. East from the 605 fwy. (between the 60 and 5 fwy's.) go east on Beverly till you get to the trail head (about 3 miles from the 605). there is a dirt lot right before it or you can park back near the houses.

    From there you got a nice small network of loops that you can do. it's an cool place to ride and explore. there's always someone there in the area riding on the weekends.

  5. #5
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    All the trails that stem from Dirt Mulholland are good newbie rides: Dirt Mulholland, Sullivan Fireroad, Westridge Fireroad, Sullivan Canyon (currently being repaired by bulldozers).
    Take the 405 Freeway. Exit Mulholland and head west. Follow til you see a dirt road on the right and headup to parking area.

    Palos Verdes is also a nice area to ride too. The Portuguese Bend area behind Del Cerro Park is all downhill on the wall in and climbing out. The ocean views are worth it.
    Take 405 Freeway. Exit Crenshaw and head south. Take Crenshaw all the way south till it ends in a residential neighborhood. Trail head at the of the cul-de-sac.

    There are some sites put together by local riders that have trail desc and pics that are very useful:
    http://www.singletrackmind.com
    http://www.ronbigelow.com/locations_main.htm

  6. #6
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    Since you'll be new to dirt riding, I would recommend reading up on what to do in the RARE instance that you may encounter a mountain lion. It'll only take about 10 mins to read over. We are playing on their territory, so it's important to know the do's and don'ts.
    http://www.dfg.ca.gov/lion/

    It's also rattle snake season here in Socal. Not trying to scare you, it's just what you need to know.

    Happy trails!

  7. #7
    you go ahead
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    mountain lions?!?

    in LA?




    3 rules:

    1) run away from rattlesnakes. Don't panic if you're bitten.

    2) do not run away from mountain lions. Instead, scare them away. If you ride a lot you will eventually see one. They're timid creatures though, and will run away from humans unless they are infected with rabies or they are starving.

    3) Read frankenbike's links, and forget my rules . I give out too much nonsense info

    rustyb

  8. #8
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    Reputation: Kyoseki's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, this'll give me something to read whilst I'm at work preparing for the weekend

    (2am and I'm still slaving away *sob*)

  9. #9
    Over the Hill
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    West Fork San Gabriel River

    Very easy ride, pavement up to Coswell Dam...last little bit steep. You can continue for about another 3-4 miles, on the dirt fire road above the dam, but a rather unstable slide blocks the road.

    With all the water we have had there are waterfalls everywhere.

  10. #10
    kneecap
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    Quote Originally Posted by Downhill Dawg
    Try Cheesebro.
    101 north to Chesebro. At 4-way stop past the two gas stations, turn rt. Travel 1/2 mile or so, turn rt into the parking area.

    Few spots that may require dismount; otherwise, main trail from is pretty much easy/moderate climb.
    Agree w/ Cheesebro if your in north LA, easy relatively long flat fire road to start, mostly under cover, to warm up & get the feel for the dirt, before any climbs. Good beginer spot.

  11. #11
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    I second that motion

    Quote Originally Posted by kneecap
    Agree w/ Cheesebro if your in north LA, easy relatively long flat fire road to start, mostly under cover, to warm up & get the feel for the dirt, before any climbs. Good beginer spot.
    Cheseboro is a good spot for beginners to get their dirt legs. FYI- when riding in on the main fireroad you'll come to a fork: left for Sulphur Springs, right to continue up Cheseboro Fireroad.

    Normally I'd recommend going left. However, the rains have really taken a toll on the singletrack. There are about 5 creek crossings with at least one necessary dismount due to the fireroad having been washed away. There's also still a bit of mud after the "official" Sulphur Springs creek crossing. It's all do-able, but expect a different kind of ride.

    Heading right is a moderate fireroad climb to a saddle with a 4-way intersection. Left at the saddle is a strenuous grind on what the locals affectionately call Chalk Hill. Straight will be a descent down Pumphill doubletrack. Right will take you up Cheseboro Ridge.

    For an unconditioned newbie, I'd say turn around and enjoy the ride out. For a newbie with some lungs/legs, I'd say take Cheseboro Ridge and enjoy. Stay on the main doubletrack/fireroad. Don't take any obvious turns off the main route. You'll eventually come to a break in the fence on your right and ride down CanyonView Trail. This will drop you back on the same fireroad you rode in on. Go left and out of the park.

    Feel free to PM me if you need better directions.
    Fat fanatic.

    "Where the Fox Hat?" Endurance Team
    SoCal Colavita Road/MTB club

  12. #12
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    I got one

    If you are in east, go to Chino hills. You can hook up some staggeringly long loops in there. There is a mix of rolling and untechnical singletrack and pretty ridge line fire roads.

  13. #13
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    Is there a newbie<->experienced rider dictionary anywhere ?

    I want up sycamore canyon last summer just for my first taste of actual off road type riding, went up wood canyon and then up guadalasca (this is heading counterclockwise round the south loop, so the descent was along the north overlook trail).

    I've seen the guadalasca climb described as "a series of easy switchbacks", now I know i'm in pretty crap shape, but "easy" isn't really how I'd qualify these, "moderate" certainly, but "easy", in my mind the rest of the ride was "easy", to get up these things I had to get off and push (I made it around a couple of turns but had a bugger of a job keeping the front wheel down and just wasn't nearly fit enough to cycle up them).

    So when you guys say "easy" is that, newbie easy, or real rider easy ?

  14. #14
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    Oh, and thanks for the links Frankenbike

    Superb websites both of them, that's why I'm getting worried from the descriptions

  15. #15
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    True, "easy" is a relative adjective in these forums and trails descriptions.

    If you stick to fireroads first, then it's truly easy in a technical newbie sense. It seems like the majority of LA riding is on fireroads, so you're in luck . Riding fireroads is a good way to get acquainted with how your bike handles in dirt and they require less skill to negotiate because they are so wide too.

    Next time you are at a bookstore sipping on some coffee, check out hall of famer Ned Overend's book "Mountain Bike Like A Champ". Ned goes over all the basics of mtn biking. It's such good book that I think all newbies should at least page through it. Excellent descriptions that easy to comprehend and accompanying photos too.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...66247?v=glance

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by frankenbike
    Next time you are at a bookstore sipping on some coffee, check out hall of famer Ned Overend's book "Mountain Bike Like A Champ". Ned goes over all the basics of mtn biking. It's such good book that I think all newbies should at least page through it. Excellent descriptions that easy to comprehend and accompanying photos too.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...66247?v=glance
    Groovy, I'll pick up a copy at the weekend, thanks.

  17. #17
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    As far as easy goes...

    The Cheseboro Ridge route I described is "technically" easy. The descent on Canyon View Trail is moderately technical due to some ruts from the rains, if you take it slow.

    Once the trails dry out, I highly recommend you spend some time with your flat mate exploring the Cheseboro trail system. There's a lot of variety in there: climbs, fireroads, singletrack, as well as varying levels of technical features that you can practice on and not be in over your head.

    Good luck!
    Fat fanatic.

    "Where the Fox Hat?" Endurance Team
    SoCal Colavita Road/MTB club

  18. #18
    R.I.P. DogFriend
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    At Sycamore...

    Instead of Guadalasca and backbone, etc. try just staying on the Valley Trail all the way until the farther end of Wood Canyon and ride it back to the Valley Trail or just do an out and back on the Valley Trail.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyoseki
    So when you guys say "easy" is that, newbie easy, or real rider easy ?
    The Guadalasca switchbacks are fairly easy when you compare them to other single track trails in the area that have switchbacks. The ones on Guad are generally fairly smooth, except for a few that have just a bit of loose rock. OTOH, there are many trails in the area that have switchbacks that are much steeper, or narrower, or rockier (or all three at once).

    I've been riding for about a year and half, and switchbacks are still one of my weakest skills, but the ones on Guad are pretty easy. If you want hard, there's a switchback on the Las Robles trail you should see. I'm not sure I'm ever going to be able to make that one, either up or down!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Upchuck
    The Cheseboro Ridge route I described is "technically" easy. The descent on Canyon View Trail is moderately technical due to some ruts from the rains, if you take it slow.

    Good luck!
    Thanks, I've talked the flatmate into going cycling on Sunday, so we'll probably try Cheeseboro and check it out

    I have legs, but my lungs are still catching up, at lunchtime I'll generally put in a couple of small climbs (Temescal Canyon from PCH up to Sunset and up West Channel/Entrada to Ocean a couple of times), but I need to lose a fair bit of weight to make climbing more efficient

    I picked up Ned's book at lunchtime and I'm perusing it whilst running through renders.

  21. #21
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    We actually went out to Pt. Mugu (someone told us the valley was scorching, so we avoided Cheeseboro) and just headed up the Big Sycamore Canyon trail, which was great fun (although very easy aerobically) right up to the point where I broke a pedal (crap generic one, came with the bike) climbing out of a stream...

    Arse.

    Getting replacement Shimano 540s this week, so we'll try it again at the weekend, I'm not used to riding through streams so I found that part immense fun.

    I've started cycling up to the bottom end of the Sullivan fire road during my lunch hour, does anyone know what the elevation is at say the yellow gate (I went a bit past this, but not much) ? I'm still trying to gauge climb difficulty (I cycle up from Venice).

  22. #22
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    That must be one hell of a drive from Marina Del Rey (checked your profile ) to Pt. Mugu. How was the traffic on PCH? I've heard that there was some problems there during the January rains and one lane was closed... I might head out there this weekend.

    Sorry for the unhelpful post ... my educated guess though is that the yellow gate at the beginnning of sullivan is a bit more than 1,000 ft high. I'm saying this because Temescal Peak (around the Hub) is 2,000 feet. Since Sullivan climbs a bit to Mullhulland and Mullhulland climbs for about 4 miles to Fire Road #30, then the bottom of sullivan must be ~700 ft below the peak.

    I could get my topographical map, but I'm lazy. Sorry if this is way off.

    rustyb

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBearings
    That must be one hell of a drive from Marina Del Rey (checked your profile ) to Pt. Mugu. How was the traffic on PCH? I've heard that there was some problems there during the January rains and one lane was closed... I might head out there this weekend.
    It actually wasn't all that bad around 2:30 when we left, it drops to one lane for a short distance up past Malibu, but it wasn't nearly as gridlocked as the Santa Monica traffic all heading to the beach (I live 20 feet from the beach, but I still hardly go there, unless I have something to do, sunbathing just isn't my thing ).

    Trail wasn't *too* busy, but you definitely wouldn't have been in trouble if you'd had an accident, lots of hikers and even a couple of groups of school kids (who all helpfully yell "BIKE!!" when you approach so their classmates can get out of the way).

    Still don't fancy my chances going up Guadalasca though

    I figured the bottom end of Sullivan was maybe around 800' ASL, but I really have no frame of reference here so I'm guessing, either way, I need to get a LOT fitter before I can start doing the challenging stuff.

  24. #24
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    MTB club

    If you interested in joining a club, email me at trisjung@sbcglobal.net and then I will send you a membership invitation for our club. We usually ride Burbank/Passdena and Santa Monica areas and would love to meet new people and have fun together.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kyoseki
    It actually wasn't all that bad around 2:30 when we left, it drops to one lane for a short distance up past Malibu, but it wasn't nearly as gridlocked as the Santa Monica traffic all heading to the beach (I live 20 feet from the beach, but I still hardly go there, unless I have something to do, sunbathing just isn't my thing ).

    Trail wasn't *too* busy, but you definitely wouldn't have been in trouble if you'd had an accident, lots of hikers and even a couple of groups of school kids (who all helpfully yell "BIKE!!" when you approach so their classmates can get out of the way).

    Still don't fancy my chances going up Guadalasca though

    I figured the bottom end of Sullivan was maybe around 800' ASL, but I really have no frame of reference here so I'm guessing, either way, I need to get a LOT fitter before I can start doing the challenging stuff.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueBike
    If you interested in joining a club, email me at trisjung@sbcglobal.net and then I will send you a membership invitation for our club. We usually ride Burbank/Passdena and Santa Monica areas and would love to meet new people and have fun together.
    Could I come on some rides? Or is there a minimum age ?

    I'm starting to dread solo rides and am trying to find as many people to ride with in LA as possible...

    thanks
    rustyb

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