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The Road Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm getting tired of seeing people around every turn, seeing them walking over MTB features, running 5 unleashed dogs, pushing strollers, multiple little kids, and dirty looks from old women with hiking poles that refuse to move from the middle of the trails. I'm a transplant from Northern California, so maybe I'm spoiled, but this is getting out of hand. Are all of the Santa Monica mountains like this? Or am I just seeing the main trails?? I'm thinking that I need to go deeper and explore more. As it is, I ride from Westwood up to the trailhead, and don't spend any more than 8 or so miles on the actual trails before riding home. There's just something I don't like about driving to the trailhead so that I can spend more time in the dirt. I do a lot of road riding, so dirt riding isn't all that I do. I'm thinking that's what I'll have to do, though.
 

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With the sole exception of the idiots with unleashed dogs, I think you need to get re-acquianted with proper trail etiquette.

1. Mountain bikers are supposed to yield to hikers and equestrians.
2. You are supposed to watch your speed at all times.
3. Everyone is entitled to the trails, not just you.

If other trail users are ruining your flow, go ride at night, during the week, or get up early and beat everyone to the trails so you can have the trails all to yourself.
 

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The Road Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
osmarandsara said:
With the sole exception of the idiots with unleashed dogs, I think you need to get re-acquianted with proper trail etiquette.

1. Mountain bikers are supposed to yield to hikers and equestrians.
2. You are supposed to watch your speed at all times.
3. Everyone is entitled to the trails, not just you.

If other trail users are ruining your flow, go ride at night, during the week, or get up early and beat everyone to the trails so you can have the trails all to yourself.
You didn't even respond to what I asked about. I asked "Are all of the Santa Monica mountains like this? Or am I just seeing the main trails??" FYI you sound like a jerk. Good luck with that, tough guy. lol
 

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GONE
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If you avoid riding on weekends, you'll see an 80%+ reduction in trail traffic. Sometimes you won't even see another soul the whole time.

There are definately trail systems that are more popular with walkers/joggers/hikers. You may want to ask here about specific trails.

Sorry to say this, but pretty much all So Cal trails are congested, particularly on weekends. If go up into the forest (where it's not closed) you'll see less people overall.

Welcome to the ratrace.

I generally do not think of our city trails as a place where you can fly at top speed w/o interuption. It's more of a slow and go with caution type situation. That doesn't bother me, my "totally wreckless" years are done and over with. It's just about getting off the pavement and seeing and hearing nature instead of concrete and machines....
 

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The average range of a hiker is about 2 miles total. That's one mile out, and one mile back. So I would say, yes, the further into the mountains you go, the fewer hikers you will see. The bummer about the SM mountains is that only about 30% of singletrack is open to bikes, the rest is just fire roads. But as far as attitude, I don't think any area will ever steal the throne from the NorCal hikers and what they've done to trail access for bikes up there. It's a damn shame.

Which trailhead do you usually ride to? If Westridge, then yes, it will always be flooded with hikers because it's not state park land so dogs are allowed off leash. Try using Sullivan Canyon to do your ascent instead, or even Sullivan Ridge will have fewer hikers.
 

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LandSpeed said:
You didn't even respond to what I asked about. I asked "Are all of the Santa Monica mountains like this? Or am I just seeing the main trails??" FYI you sound like a jerk. Good luck with that, tough guy. lol
Yes, most of the santa monica mountains are crowded with users of all sorts. These trails are within minutes and easily accessible to a city of millions. IMHO it is amazing that they are not more crowded. Thank goodness for lazy people who don't go outdoors.

Just follow the rules, ride safe and have fun. If you want a more remote/outdoor experience, you'll need to drive a bit north. The san gabes or los padres areas are typically much less crowded.
R
 

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J:
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Not all trails are like that. Not even close.

If you are seeing kids and strollers. .just start building your endurance to take longer rides. They don't make it back very far. AMhawg is right about the weekends

The thing yo have to watch out for once you get back there are the riders who can't climb very well. As they're climbing and you're on the way down, they get flustered and start to flail about the trail. They just lose control of the bike right as you're about to pass.
 

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The Road Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies. I am going back out there, today, even if it is a bit cold :) Once I get my new trailbike, I will try out the San Gabriel Mountains and the Los Padres areas, like the guy above said. Driving will probably be inevitable with my new bike, as I'm going to have two dedicated wheelsets for trail riding and road riding, and don't want to road ride a set of schwalbes nobby nics up to the trail. As it is now, I've been riding a mix of cyclocross-style tires with smooth centers and big apples in the dirt. I've gotten pretty good at bike handling, that way, with all the sliding that I do.

About building my endurance, like deerhill said, my rides can be around 4 hours long... and that lets me take most of the backbone trail from the Nike Missile Site all the way to the Pacific Palisades exit around the Skull Rock (I think this is the name)/no bikes allowed part. Here's a map: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/300176
5 hour rides are fun, but I'll need to take a lunch
 

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Yeah, I always feel like there are too many hikers when I'm biking. But when I'm hiking there's way too many bikers. I think the vehicle changes our perspective.
 

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The Road Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Econoline said:
Yeah, I always feel like there are too many hikers when I'm biking. But when I'm hiking there's way too many bikers. I think the vehicle changes our perspective.
I can see your point. I don't have a problem with hikers. I just don't like changing my whole ride to accomodate them, and who does? I've got to slow down around every set of them, watch out for dogs and little kids, and basically ride like a wuss on the trails. I can also boil down my qualm with the different types of people that I see, just a bit: the old women with hiking poles who don't move and give dirty looks are the worst. I understand unleashed dogs (I would like my dog running free, like a dog should be naturally), wandering little kids, and fat ladies in spandex, but damm it if these crabby old women dressed in 800 dollars worth of REI gear NEVER move from the MIDDLE of the trail when they see me coming from a mile away, and then give the nastiest looks I've ever seen (second only to the muslim student union at UCLA, of course). I'm going to quit stewing in this funk and go ride. See you out there.
 

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T.W.O.
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Try Chantry Flats, San Gabriel Mt, there's hardly anyone there, at least when I was riding only a few, and after a few rides there you'd appreciate wider fireroad:).

I usually work on weekends and ride on weekdays so no problem, the weekend ride I do is in the morning and big group ride so I have different mind set.
 

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I guess I'm a little bit confused here. When I think of norcal mtn biking, I think of that lunatic PhD guy who recently tried to slice up a couple of cyclists on the trails. In other words, I got the impression that the politics of trail usage are really bad up there.

Now it sounds like norcal is a haven away from all the hikers in socal?
 

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LandSpeed said:
Are all of the Santa Monica mountains like this? Or am I just seeing the main trails?? I'm thinking that I need to go deeper and explore more. As it is, I ride from Westwood up to the trailhead, and don't spend any more than 8 or so miles on the actual trails before riding home
No, not all of the Santa Monica mountains are like this, not even close. The trails you are riding are really crowded for exactly the same reason you are using them - the mass of people who live on the Westside find them convenient and don't want to drive far to go somewhere else. There are a few other really crowded places (e.g., Cheeseboro Canyon on the weekends), but most of the western SMMs are much less crowded. And if your 8 miles on the trail is 4 miles out and back, then you aren't getting far enough from the trailhead to drop most of the users even on the Westside.

That said, let's face it, we live in the middle of a humongous city! Of course there are going to be a lot of people if you go to the most convenient places. In that context, I'm amazed at how uncrowded most of the trails I ride are - but I'm riding in the western part of the mountains. And of course it makes a huge difference if you go during the week or early in the morning; if you ride early then you'll be done before most of the hikers are starting, even on the weekends.
 

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gone for a bike ride
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westside fireroading

we often ride as early as poss or late as daylight permits in the afternoon to avoid the weekend or holiday crowds of families with strollers & deranged slavering dogs off leads

but watch out for groups of runners 4 abreast on blind corners if your riding the sullivan's or mulholland motorway early - especially on saturday or sunday mornings - think that's my biggest peeve
 

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The Road Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
sponger said:
I guess I'm a little bit confused here. When I think of norcal mtn biking, I think of that lunatic PhD guy who recently tried to slice up a couple of cyclists on the trails. In other words, I got the impression that the politics of trail usage are really bad up there.

Now it sounds like norcal is a haven away from all the hikers in socal?
The worst part about Nor Cal are the horse people. Other than that, it's great. Do you have a link to the PhD vs. cyclists knife attack? Googling for that story only brought up mountain lion incidents.

Which reminds me, I got in from a ride about an hour ago, and mapped it out here http://ridewithgps.com/routes/300893 As you can see, I was only in the dirt for a couple miles. I counted how many people I saw, and it was around 10. The section of dirt that I did go through usually doesn't have as many people as the nike missile site/backbone area.
 

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If you get out on weekdays you'll see virtually nobody else out there. As mentioned previously we have access to a relatively small proportion of single track in the Santa Monicas compared to the percentage of trail users on bikes. There is more congestion on those trails because of that limitation.

CORBA has been working on getting more trails opened to mountain bikers in the Santa Monica mountains for many years. This coming week there is a public meeting about two trails that we requested to be opened, and that the state has determined they can be opened to bikes. At this public hearing we're expecting a lot of opposition from the equestrian and hiking communities, so if you want to see more options in the Santa Monicas, come to the meeting and speak up.

If you can't get to the meeting, put your name to our petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/malibu_creek_change_in_use/

There's more info about the whole process at http://corbamtb.com/news/2011/02/25...for-bicyclists-in-the-santa-monica-mountains/
 

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LandSpeed said:
The worst part about Nor Cal are the horse people. Other than that, it's great. Do you have a link to the PhD vs. cyclists knife attack?
"mike vandeman hand saw" would be the key words that I would use.
 

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but damm it if these crabby old women dressed in 800 dollars worth of REI gear NEVER move from the MIDDLE of the trail when they see me coming from a mile away, and then give the nastiest looks I've ever seen
These women populate any trail network near high per capita income population centers, and they are often seated atop a horse.

I always try and kill them with politeness and let them pass. Only takes a few seconds. The vast majority will acknowledge a friendly greeting and move along the trail. I've only had 1 or 2 in many years whine at me. Those I just ignored.

R
 

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I'll admit that I am guilty of sometimes feeling as though I have Goose in the backseat and then "buzzing the tower" while Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" is playing in my head. But, I am always apologetic in those instances and I've never once seen anyone spill coffee on themselves as a result of my reckless actions.
 

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LandSpeed said:
The worst part about Nor Cal are the horse people.
Watch out for the horse folk, they're around here too. Most of them are really cool but some of my weirdest encounters are with these wack jobs.
 
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