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“Erik Hillard has always believed the best way to know a rugged trail is to bike it. But for nearly a decade, the historic Gabrielino Trail in the peaks above La Cañada has been all but unknowable to mountain bikers.
The 2009 Station fire and the rainy season that followed it rendered impassable much of a 26-mile stretch of the trail.”
I rode my first mountain bike in the Santa Cruz Mountains while in high school and working at a bike shop in Salinas, CA. It was the early 1990s and by then, local hiking and equestrian anti-bike groups had prevailed and bikes were illegal on single track. There were few places to ride legally and I grew up with tremendous gratitude for legal trails when I found them.
Later I moved near Pasadena, CA and started to explore the adjacent Angeles National Forest. I was amazed at the miles of open trails for mountain bikes. How was access to this amazing forest preserved when so much of California single track was lost for mountain bikes in the 1990s?
Los Angeles has some epic trails due to the epic MTB history. This Saturday, Mount Wilson Bicycling Association looks at the history of LA mountain biking at Mission Workshop’s DTLA store. Roll through for photos, libations and good times.
After the last trail work day on the Gabrielino Trail, I received texts, emails, messages and carrier pigeon notes asking when and how various people can learn about these work days. Well, here ya go. This Sunday, in Los Angeles, Mission Workshop and MWBA are kickin’ more ass on the Gabrielino Trail. Check out details at MWBA’s FB. We’ll see you there!
Trails need work. All the time and across the globe, there are numerous organizations that rally the troops when work needs to be done on their local singletrack. In LA, one of our organizations is the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association. Year after year, MWBA has been working alongside the Forest Service, IMBA and CORBA to re-open various trails that were closed after the Station Fire ravaged the San Gabriel Mountains in 2009. One such project is extending the Gabrielino Trail from Ken Burton to Switzer’s. If you’re an LA local, these names might sound familiar to you.
The Gabrielino follows a canyon down below Highway 2 and out to the Arroyo. This trail hugs the hillsides of the canyon walls, crosses waterfalls and snakes its way through the sandy, rocky and loose wash. Today, 30+ volunteers spent their Sunday morning workin’ dirt with MWBA. With such big crowds, it’s easy to cover a lot of ground in a single afternoon.
The Angeles National Forest is home to many exceptional trails. Once MWBA, and their volunteers, have worked to open these remaining trails back up, we’ll have even more options for big back-country loops, almost entirely made from singletrack. If you’d like to help out, follow MWBA on Instagram and Facebook!
Thank you to everyone who came to help out today!
Thanksgiving is a time to bring community together and help out any way possible. This year, we wanted to do something for one our local Southern California Native American tribes, the Haramokngna. Along with the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, we made an homage water bottle to the popular “Red Box” area on Mount Wilson. Red Box is one of the few places in the San Gabriels that offers shade and most importantly, a place to fill up your bottles at a spigot. This area is marked by a beautiful red box, painted with Haramokngna petroglyphs and designs, from which it gets its name.
On the weekends, the Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center is open, serving cold sodas and snacks. Just about every cyclist in the Los Angeles area has been through this oasis, either on their road or mountain bike and has benefitted in some way from the Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center’s services.
We’re selling these bottles, exclusively at Golden Saddle Cyclery, alongside MWBA with all proceeds donated to the Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center. Stop by and pick one up and know your money is going to a solid cause.
Each year, the Mt Wilson Bicycling Association throws a Pancake Breakfast early in the spring on a Sunday morning. Its intent is to bring the mountain bike community together for a fundraiser, raffle and of course, gorge on pancakes! This year, it coincided with the re-opening of the Ken Burton trail, which happens to end right at the campground where the breakfast took place. Last night, the guys at Golden Saddle Cyclery organized an easy bikepacking trip out to camp at the grounds where the event would take place the following morning. This made for an easy wake up as volunteers arrived to set up the grills and pack in all the supplies for the afternoon.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t join in the festivities until this morning, but I arrived just in time for some hotcakes, coffee and camaraderie… and to see the park fill up with mountain bikers of all kinds!
Many, many thanks to the volunteers of the MWBA for throwing such a great event and for everyone who helped in the re-opening of Ken Burton! Enjoy the slide show and stay tuned for a few bike Galleries!
This Sunday MWBA is holding their annual Pancake Breakfast and raffle. Coincidentally, they’re also celebrating the opening of the newly re-worked Ken Burton Trail. We’ll all be there, so if you can make it, please do so! RSVP at the Facebook Event Page.
If you can, come out to work on the trail and if you’ve worked on two trail days, you can earn a free Ken Burton shirt. Check out all the information at the Facebook event page.
If you live in LA, have the day off on Wednesday and ride Strawberry Peak a lot, here’s your chance to improve our trails!
“MWBA & Golden Saddle Cyclery are teaming up for a WEDNESDAY Trail Work Day on STRAWBERRY PEAK!
Come on out and join us for a day of trail maintenance on a favorite local trail in the Angeles National Forest. We are planning a joint social ride in March and this is the best opportiunity to get the trail ready!
Strawberry has held up very well in the recent rains due to all the hard work MWBA and CORBA did in the past years. The trail needs heavy brushing on the back side and a few slides could be cleared and the trail reinforced.
Bring your bike because were riding to trail work!
Meet at RED BOX Picnic Area up Hwy 2
Please bring long pants, long-sleeved shirt and hiking boots to wear. You can change at the worksite if you wish. These are required attire by the Forest Service. Other recommended items include sunblock, plenty of water, snacks, sunglasses/eye protection, baby wipes (poison oak is not fun) and a healthy work ethic!
We’re meeting at 8am, so don’t be late!
Live in LA? Ride mountain bikes? What are you doing this Saturday? Hopefully this! The Mt Wilson Bicycling Association Fall Membership Drive is happening, so you should attend. All the information can be found at the MWBA Facebook event page.