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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any tips appreciated. I am going to miss my local spots in MA.
I need to know where to go for a quick after work as well as closest places worth driving a bit to get to.

Oh yeah, and any tips for dealing with Mountain Lions appreciated.
 

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The mountain lion thing: Just don’t wear a deer costume and you should be fine.
 

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You’d have to be really unlucky to get nabbed by a mountain lion in Southern California. It’s not like the rural north west. I’d avoid riding alone at night if you’re really freaked out. I’m not aware of any self defense products other than a knife and pepper spray, but I doubt you’d be able to get to them during an attack. Maybe paint some eyes on the back of your helmet? I’ve heard amazon tribes people wear masks with faces painted on the back...

Anyway, there’s lots really good riding. Just need to know what type of riding you like to give you recommendations.
 

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Whatever you do in winter to keep in shape for riding - just quit that and ride all the time.

Lots of trails in the Santa Monica Mountains - easy to get to after work. Wider variety is available with some driving, but in SoCal traffic becomes an issue if you try to get anywhere from Santa Monica near rush hour.

I've been riding and hiking in SoCal for 40+ years and I've seen a mountain lion once - it ran away.
 

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You saw one one in 40+ years, they’ve seen you 40+ times in your life... just something you have to accept. Just googled an article that states “the calculated odds of being killed by a car as 1150 - 4300 times more than the odds of a hiker being killed by a mountain lion.”

Rattle snakes are a much more likely risk... got to keep your head up and watch where you step...
 

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There's nothing like the Lynn Woods stuff unfortunately and you're really going to miss the food of Boston. I'm not even from there but would probably move there just for the food in the North End. Totally different riding out here in the SoCal mountains. Expect some long climbs rewarded with some long, fast downhills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I should have stated that I like rugged technical riding as well as bike parks with flow!
I am an older (48) aggressive rider with 30 years experience on MTBs.

Santa Monica Mountains seem exciting, and yes, I may put a face on the back of my helmet (it is my wife that is more scared than I am).

Yes, I will miss Boston riding, but my last trip to LA found plenty of good food!

Any old-ish aggressive riders in that area want to show me around?
I'll be there in August.
 

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Santa Monica is where I ride all the time. The beautiful part is you don't need a car to get to the trails. You can easily ride to the trail heads. You'll climb about 2,500 feet to get to the top.

I live in W. LA (Santa Monica borderline). Each ride for me is about 25 miles from home (round-trip). That's 10 miles of asphalt and 15 miles of dirt. I go up one trail, and come down another. If you're in shape, you can easily do a 40 mile ride.

There are easy and technical trails. You can ride year round, but for me, it's tough doing 2,500 feet of climbing in the mid-day summer heat. Best to go early morning or late evening when it cools down.

I'm 53 years old and on the mellower and slower side. Be glad to show you around as I usually ride alone during weekdays.

And I believe there are only a few mountain lions in this area. I've never encountered one and don't worry about it. There's never been an attack in this area. I worry about the rattle snakes. Tons of those around.

If you want lift chairs, you gotta drive 2-3 hours to Big Bear.
 

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I've ridden all over So. Cal for almost 50 years, mtb since 1982, never have seen a mountain lion, although, I've seen tracks and fresh kills. Certainly they have seen me.
The eyes on the back of the helmet trick is something I learned about at a "mountain lion symposium" after a rider was killed and a couple of woman were attacked in 2004. There were ML experts from a local zoo that mentioned this trick because ML's usually are surprise attackers and come from behind.
Mountain lions should be the least of your worries, its the tweakers that I run across occasionally that I worry about.
 

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chasing simplicity
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Howard and Jeff pretty much nailed both issues. Having said that, I've seen MLs several times, and where I live (Thousand Oaks area) one was sighted in a nearby housing development last week. Plenty more bobcats, but they're not a threat.

Short of driving to Big Bear, there are plenty of aggressive trails further north (Simi Valley area) and certainly south (Laguna, Temescal, San Diego).

Like others have said, Santa Monica Mountains area is mostly up and down, climb up to go down, and not so techy.
 

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What is the closest lift-access park?
If you like fast and gnarly DH you will love mt Wilson. It's mostly a shuttle spot. The drive from Santa Monica is about 20 minutes without traffic and an hour with. There's lot of back country trails that are worthwhile, but most guys just do the 15 mile downhill run from the top. It takes about 2 hours and you go through several different types of terrain (loose and steep to fast and loamy). This is where you book your ride https://www.scoaoutdoors.net. There's also some less techy and beautiful trails in the area like chantry flats and dark side.

Like someone else said Simi Valley (45 min drive) has some great technical riding. But there's no lift.

Snow summit (2-3 hr drive) is really the only lift access park around, it's worth a visit, but it's pretty small and doesn't have much tech.

Snow Valley (2 hr drive) is a lift serviced mountain, but all of their trails are just old school back country with no purpose built features. They recently started running the lifts for bikes in the summer. I haven't been since they opened it to bikes, but I hear they have a ways to go.

Sky Park ya Santa's Village (2hr drive) is a self shuttle bike park. Meaning you pedal to the top, it's a mellow pedal and totally worth it. They have several very fun trails and lots of good Mtb culture. They also have a bunch of great restaurants and non-biking things to do. Totally worth checking out and bringing the family.

This is another shuttle service that runs in the greater LA and OC areas:
https://www.crazybearbikes.com/shuttle/

There's other good shuttle spots, but you really need a crew with trucks for them.
 

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Like others have said, Santa Monica Mountains area is mostly up and down, climb up to go down, and not so techy.
There are a few very short very techy trails in SM like monkey spanker,first crack, samurai... not sure they're worth the pedal, but they're there. Jedi trail is not technical but it has a lot of new jumps and is super duper fast.
 

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I've had quite a few ML encounters over the years. The further West you go in the SMs the greater your chances. Most encounters were fleeting glimpses as they cross the trail in the distance. They almost always run away immediately.

I encountered one when I found myself surrounded by panicked deer at dusk, the ML was stalking the deer and I immediately removed myself from the mix.

Another time, I startled one at he bottom the the Guadalasca Trail in Sycamore Cyn, He bolted as they usually do. I stopped to watch him run away... beautiful animal. But then he slowed and began to flank around... needless to say, I moved on!

I would not consider it as a serious risk out here. The only time I ever think about it as a risk is when I ride alone at night. I stay out of the more remote areas at night.
 

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I should have stated that I like rugged technical riding as well as bike parks with flow!
I am an older (48) aggressive rider with 30 years experience on MTBs.

Santa Monica Mountains seem exciting, and yes, I may put a face on the back of my helmet (it is my wife that is more scared than I am).

Yes, I will miss Boston riding, but my last trip to LA found plenty of good food!

Any old-ish aggressive riders in that area want to show me around?
I'll be there in August.
You'll find the gnarly stuff that's hidden away not far from home when you ask the right people.

I suggest a shuttle up to Mt. Wilson. Just follow the group down.

Otherwise, life assist is up in the San Bernardino Mtns, which has already been stated here.
 

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chasing simplicity
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Another time, I startled one at he bottom the the Guadalasca Trail in Sycamore Cyn, He bolted as they usually do. I stopped to watch him run away... beautiful animal. But then he slowed and began to flank around... needless to say, I moved on!
Exactly where I saw one a few years ago before the big fire!
 

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Don't worry about encountering a mountain lion. Simply seeing one should be considered a great privilege. Be more concerned about bike thieves, burglars, idiots with knives and guns./ They are your real environmental dangers.
 

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No known cure
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If you like fast and gnarly DH you will love mt Wilson. It's mostly a shuttle spot. The drive from Santa Monica is about 20 minutes without traffic and an hour with. There's lot of back country trails that are worthwhile, but most guys just do the 15 mile downhill run from the top. It takes about 2 hours and you go through several different types of terrain (loose and steep to fast and loamy). This is where you book your ride https://www.scoaoutdoors.net. There's also some less techy and beautiful trails in the area like chantry flats and dark side.

Like someone else said Simi Valley (45 min drive) has some great technical riding. But there's no lift.

Snow summit (2-3 hr drive) is really the only lift access park around, it's worth a visit, but it's pretty small and doesn't have much tech.

Snow Valley (2 hr drive) is a lift serviced mountain, but all of their trails are just old school back country with no purpose built features. They recently started running the lifts for bikes in the summer. I haven't been since they opened it to bikes, but I hear they have a ways to go.

Sky Park ya Santa's Village (2hr drive) is a self shuttle bike park. Meaning you pedal to the top, it's a mellow pedal and totally worth it. They have several very fun trails and lots of good Mtb culture. They also have a bunch of great restaurants and non-biking things to do. Totally worth checking out and bringing the family.

This is another shuttle service that runs in the greater LA and OC areas:
https://www.crazybearbikes.com/shuttle/

There's other good shuttle spots, but you really need a crew with trucks for them.
A bike park is going in at SV so there will be another lift accessed riding area.

I was born in SM. I also own a house near Pico and 16th. In 34 years of mountain biking, I've never rode the SM Mountains. Are the trails worth the drive from the San Bernardino Mountains? I'm a quick bike ride to Skypark from the house.
 
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