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  1. #1
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    Santa Monica Mountains for newbs?

    Me and a couple of friends are starting this whole mountain biking thing and we all live in West LA. We're all newbs, so where would be a good place to start?

    If we wanted to ride in the Santa Monica Mountains, where do we park and where does the trail start/end?

    Any tips for beginners are greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    I'd say Westridge is a good ride to get your feet wet. Heck, that's where I got mine wet 23 years ago!

    Lots of resecoures on the web. This is pretty good: http://www.singletrackmind.com/

    Here too: http://www.geoladders.com/overview.php

    Even right here on MTBR, go to the home page and look for the "Trail Reviews" link.

    Westrige is easy to get to. Sunset west from the 405. Right turn on Mandeville (this is a traffic light), go about 300 yards to a stop sign. Turn left here (Westridge Road) and drive to the end. Hop on your bikes and ride. About 3.75mi later you'll be at the top!
    .
    "...when your ride is nearly over, it seems to have lasted but an instant..."


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  3. #3
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    i had a friend who recommended Sycamore Cyn, is that too difficult or long for a bunch of beginners? we have 6 of us.. one of us has mountain biked several times, the other 5 it will be our first times.

  4. #4
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    I like Sycamore Canyon for beginners. It is a little farther drive but the good thing about it is that you can get on some very nice single track without having to climb a lot. If you come in from Malibu you can get away with almost no climbs. As you get in better shape, there are also nice trails you can climb up.

    http://www.venturacountytrails.org/T...AreaTrails.htm)

  5. #5
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    Sycamore is tougher. I'd second the suggestion on Westridge.
    Its a long climb but not steep and there is water at the top.

  6. #6
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    Yep, I'd second what Galamoor said. Syc is nice. Start from the Malibu (PCH) end, and ride up the canyon. Get out there soon too, things are still pretty green out there, lots of flowers up a little higher on the ST. Lots of options too. You guys / girls(?) will have a blast!
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  7. #7
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    I have taken my ten year old son down Sycamore from the thousand oaks side all the way to the beach and back. From Malibu you don't even have to climb anything and it is an out and back so you can turn around and ride the slight downhill all the way back to the car as soon as you get tired. You will not get an easier ride (on the connector road) on a mountain bike unless you keep on the street.

  8. #8
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    Also, CORBA offers a free skills clinic once a month. That would be a great start for beginners to learn the basics. It is this Saturday at Malibu Creek state park.

    http://www.corbamtb.com/cgi-bin/cale...nt&event_id=50

    and read a lot from this website, check out the Beginners Forum.

    Cheers!

  9. #9
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    hey im in the westside, still exploring the santa monica mountain trails. the ones ive ridden (not sure of their names) are generally steady climbs, technical or no. so if its too much, you can always just turn your bike back around and coast back down. and if it gets too crazy, just walk that section. the ones ive ridden are mostly off of sunset. pm me if you want any directions and/or a tour guide.

  10. #10
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    a side note to remember.....hikers and horses have the right away....if you are jamming downhill and see a rider pedaling up....quess what...the rider coming up has right away....just some trail ediquette
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  11. #11
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    Sycamore is an excellent place to learn. Its where I learned 14 years ago. As mentioned before, there is the main trail (Big sycamore) which can be an out an back, minimal elevation change and non technical. Also, just because someone is a newbie doesnt mean they cant climb. If you feel like gaining a moderate amount of elevation, you can try the Overlook, it branches off the main trail and is a non technical fire road with great views. It connects to other trails that eventually loop back to the main trail. You can do these trails but they are a bit more technical than the fire roads mentioned so far. If you dont do these trails the Overlook trail would be an out an back with a fun decent coming back. Good luck.

  12. #12
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    I like Kanan Dune....not too bad for beginners

  13. #13
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    I'll go along with Sycamore Cyn. another good beginner ride is Cheseboro off of the 101 , but I wouldn't say Kanan for a "new" beginner, great ride , but the first climb out of the parking lot would probably put a few bikes in the "classifieds section" but a must ride once you're in bike condition , although I just rode it Sunday and there is a lot of OAK trying to stretch across the trail.One drawback to Cheseboro is if you go late it gets crowded and also tends to get HOT.

  14. #14
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    westridge is good for beginners, it gets steep as you climb up to sullivan fireroad.
    You can take sullivan fire from the lower trail head all the way the Mullholland Hwy. There is a nike missle site with restrooms and water. it's an 8 mile climb but i did it when I started. take plenty of water and go early before it gets hot.

    Chesebro is a good for beginners. up to a where it goes single track. there are a couple of rock terraces to climb. I walk the big one. legs are getting old. but I have made it all the way up to look out point.

    yes take the Corba basic mt. bike skills class. it is free and the park is a great place for beginners. you can ride out to the former "MASH" tv production site. it's mostly fire roads.

    Sycamore is my favorite. easy on the bottom and tough single tracks up at the top.

    Sycamore and malibu are state parks and charge for parking. about $8 to $10 bucks.
    Chesebro is free parking but gets crowded. Sullivan and westridge you park on the street.

    another fun quick run is Kenter canyon whoops. go straight up bundy to kenter. all the way to the top. you can take the trail along the power lines on the top of the ridge then take the whoops all the way back to pave road. (1 mile) all man made whoops. just bump along you don't have to jump. or take the whoops up and be alert for riders coming down.

    check all of these out in the trail review section of mt. bike review.

    have fun!! it can get addicting.

  15. #15
    = dirt torpedo =
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    Quote Originally Posted by nagatahawk
    another fun quick run is Kenter canyon whoops. go straight up bundy to kenter. all the way to the top. you can take the trail along the power lines on the top of the ridge then take the whoops all the way back to pave road. (1 mile) all man made whoops. just bump along you don't have to jump. or take the whoops up and be alert for riders coming down.
    Please be careful on this trail if you decide ride it.
    it's easy to get in a bit over your head there, even if you do try to keep your wheels on the ground. I've witnessed one too many newbie riders break themselves, and require med-evac assistance from Kenter. Frequent ambulances and helicopters buzzing around that rich neighborhood can only lead to one thing.

    Have fun out there!

  16. #16
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    I agree with sycamore. Its fun, and as little or as much crdio as you wish.

    FWIW, I have personally taken a few newbies on westridge fireroad who hated it, and had to walk sections of the climb, and one who even turned around before nike. I have also taken others who thought it was great.
    Love, Impy

  17. #17
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    try this link

    http://www.nrmbc.org/index.html

    Click on the trail map button. Very good information.

  18. #18
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    Back in the dark ages of mountain biking (circa 1990), Westridge was one of the first rides I did in the Santa Monicas. I almost made it to the Nike base. Unless the newbies have done some other endurance sport (running, road cycling, etc), Westridge will be demoralizing.

    +1 on Sycamore Canyon. That's where I've taken several people new to mountain biking over the years and they all enjoyed it.

  19. #19
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    yes sir, you can fall off into the canyon, there is a 12 foot evil Knieval abyss jump. there is an escape route, wher you can rail a burm and go around it.

    You "need" to have good brakes and like I said you don't have to jump. I go there for a quick work out. and to test new equipment. mainly it's close and it's dirt.

    For sure you can get into trouble here, take the first run with brakes on and get use to the terrain. For some hyperkinetic new riders, the whoops can be problematic.

    if done safely this is a very fun e ticket ride.

    have a blast.

  20. #20
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    Not in the Santa Monicas, but the Fullerton Loop is also good for beginners. Just make sure you print out a set of directions because it kind of twists and turns through the trails/city.

  21. #21
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    How about Malibu Creek State Park. This is where they hold the free mountain bike skills course. There are alot of options for beginners and climb as much as you want. You can climb the fire roads, go through the creek of doom, ride to the Mash Site and even connect with a fairly steep fireroad up little bulldog and back. So many options and not that much of a hike from the Westside. Just off of Malibu Canyon or Las Virgenese Canyon. Good Luck and remember just go out and have fun!
    [SIZE="3"]Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that's why they call it the present [/SIZE]

  22. #22
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    If you start from Reseda...the NIKE site is only 3.1 miles.

  23. #23
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    Well, i just did bundy drive north intokenter and up the trail. It was not easy, kenter was one hell of a climb. And the trail pass the gate up top was scary when going down hill. But i had slot of fun while clclimbing and descending. Fell a few times. Make sure you bring padding.

  24. #24
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    Sullivan Canyon is easy, now that its dry...just go up and back. Turn around at about 3 mile mark and you will not even encounter any major climbing...but be careful of those weird concrete pads...go at a diagonal to cross. Park on the residential street but be careful of the confusing no parking signs.

  25. #25
    partsman
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    newb rides

    log-on to socaltrailriders.org, look at the calender, there may be something there you might want to do. great group to ride with. group rides at the fullerton loop on sunday am and thursday at 6pm, newb friendly.

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