Shifting Gears on the Santa Monica

Whether you’re in the dirt, on the road, in the know, or just plain green

The Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association has helped keep the peace between the fat-tire crowd, equestrians, and hikers since 1987 with its trail advocacy work and promotion of responsible riding. CORBA’s free monthly skills clinics in Malibu Creek State Park are a sociable setting for learning riding fundamentals.

The best way to master the local terrain is with other cyclists. Santa Monica Mountains Cyclery in Woodland Hills organizes rides into the hills. If you don’t have wheels or want to test new ones, Topanga Creek Bicycles offers rentals and lets you demo high-end models on trails easily reached from the shop. 

As road biking grows in popularity, so does the Santa Monicas’ rep as a road bike destination. In fact, the range will again host the final stage of May’s Amgen Tour of California. For serious roadies, Cycling Escapes holds five-day camps that climb a total of 36,000 feet—with, of course, full support and licensed guides. 

Girlz Gone Riding is where the boys aren’t. The 400-or-so all-woman mountain biking club conducts organized outings for every skill level on trails in the Santa Monica Mountains and elsewhere. The Girlz also provide trail maintenance and lead “Wenches with Wrenches” workshops that teach bicycle repair.