Friday, December 15, 2006

Another stolen bike in Santa Cruz

This happens far too often in our small town.

Jun's bike was stolen Thursday December 14th at around 8 pm at Longs Drugs on Mission St during a 15 minute errand.

This really, really sucks. Everyone who knows Jun knows that he is a solid and generous guy. He regularly supports and volunteers for many bike related events in the community. He is an avid bike commuter and this bike was his primary means of transportation. In fact, he hasn't driven his car since last June.

Here are the specs:

Stolen bike! - 700c wheels w/ disc brakes on green Buzz frame with drop bars and ultegra STI.
  • 19" Green "Buzz" frame (Novara, but you can hardly see that with the "One Less Car" and "Velonerds" stickers on the downtubes and "Big Brother is Watching You" George W portrait sticker for a headbadge (BB serial number = F-44/0203/0116)
  • 700c Alex rims laced to Formula hubs with all black spokes and
  • Avid mechanical disc brakes
  • Rockshox seatpost and SDG saddle
  • Salsa "short and shallow" drop bars with Ultegra STI levers and black wrap tape
  • XTR rear deraileur
  • TruVativ Elita cranks (48/36) with Shimano 636 SPD/platform pedals

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Report: UCSC Bike Plan Public Meeting

Last Friday I attended the public meeting which reviewed the UCSC bike plan. This meeting was attended by local bike transportation advocates, student commuters, mountain bikers and representatives from transportation planning of the City of Santa Cruz.

A revised map of the bike plan was made available which included a dotted line that represented the Moore Creek trail (a.k.a "Star Wars"). This was a hopeful sign.

Some points as it relates to mountain biking
  • This is one of the only bike plans in the UC system that addresses off-road trails.
  • The recreational off-road trails portion of the plan generated a lot of very passionate written comments. Most of them were pro-mountain biking.
  • There was no opposition to the off-road aspect of the bike plan at the meeting. I was expecting opposition but it never materialized.
  • The Moore Creek trail may become the first legitimate trail in the preserve. The director of the Campus Natural Reserve, Maggie Fusari, commissioned a student to do her thesis on a re-route and I am currently in discussions on working on the logistics and funding for the project.
  • Larry Pagler (transportation planning at UCSC ) suggested that the existing Chinquapin fire road could be converted to become a recreational trail. If so then we could probably use some of the road decommissioning and narrowing techniques that were employed at Annadale State Park to create a better recreational trail experience.
  • This draft plan is pretty close to being finalized. This means that it is highly unlikely that recreational off-road trails will be pulled out of the document. This is the best news!
Some points as it relates to bike commuting
  • It's clear that there aren't enough ways to get into UCSC from the City by bicycle. Bay and High Streets are both quite dangerous and intimidating to novice bike commuters. There was some discussion of propose bike access to Pogonip to open up an eastern transportation corridor into the upper campus from Harvey West Park.
  • A suggestion was made to close McLaughlin Drive to private cars (service vehicles and buses would still be allowed) as a way to increase safety and circulation of pedestrians and bikes throughout the central core of the campus. This suggestion was very well received.
Next steps
  • They are still accepting feedback on the plan until December 18, 2006.
  • There will probably be small revision to the plan which will be posted on the web
  • The goal for completion and acceptance of the final bike plan is July 2007.
The meeting was very productive and satisfying. After the meeting, a bunch of us went for a nice ride around campus. It was a beautiful and clear evening and we stopped on Chinquapin fire road in the large meadow near twin gates and admired the stars.

It looks like legal recreational trails is going to be a possibility at UCSC. Furthermore, we are starting the planning process to create a legitimate trail project up on UCSC. This trail project can be done independently of the acceptance of the bike plan.

Thank you very much for sending in your written comments to support recreational trails in the plan. They really helped. I hope we can count on the mountain biking community to help us build the trail network.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Fox Racing Shox has been an excellent supporter of MBOSC. Their first "Free The Trail" campaign directly benefited MBOSC during the Nisene Marks lawsuit. We have also been working with IMBA California to help us open more legal single track in our local State Parks. Please support this program by buying a T-shirt. Please support IMBA California by becoming an IMBA member.

You can buy the new Free the Trail T-shirt at

Watsonville, CA – November 9, 2006 – FOX Racing Shox is proud to release their latest Free The Trail T-shirt. All proceeds from the sale of Free The Trail T-shirts will go to support the IMBA California office. "IMBA CA is turning heads and getting trails built and keeping others open," said IMBA's California Director Tom Ward. "But don't be fooled - there are many anti-bike activists working to kick us off or block new trails. FOX Racing Shox is helping IMBA CA raise awareness and resources to fight for our access."

FOX Racing Shox commissioned renowned Bay Area artist Steve Smith to illustrate the newest T-shirt. The artwork features an idyllic mountain bike scene, behind bars and locked up, hence Free The Trail. "We had such great fundraising success with the first Free The Trail T-shirt, we knew we had to keep Free The Trail alive and continue its success," stated Elayna Caldwell, Marketing Manager at FOX. "Whether you live in California, go on vacation here or hate it because it is full of fruits and nuts, the fact is that there are more mountain bikers in California than anywhere else and what happens here is generally a bellwether for actions across the nation, and that is why FOX supports advocacy, because we like to ride fun, legal trails," stated Caldwell.

You can get a new Free The Trail T-shirt of your own and help support California's IMBA office, just go to and go to the online store. Shirts are $15.00 and both men's and women's versions are available, they are American Apparel shirts, made in the USA of 100% cotton. Get one for yourself and help support Mountain Biking in the great state of California.

Since 1974 FOX Racing Shox has designed and manufactured the finest suspension products for Motorcycles, Mountain Bikes, ATV\'s and Snowmobiles. World Headquarters are in Santa Cruz County, CA with its Off-Road Division in Santee, CA. FOX Racing Shox distributes its products in more than 40 countries.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

UCSC Bike Plan Draft Review November 17th

There will be a public review of the UCSC bike plan next Friday November 17th from 4:30-6 pm. Details are at the end of this post.

This is a great plan since UCSC has made provisions for LEGAL off road single track trails in Section 2.

If you haven't done so already, please make comments on the plan to

Some talking points:
  • Express your support for the provision of recreational off-road bicycling in the draft.
  • Express you willingness to help with trail design, construction and maintenance of the trails.
  • Express your willingness to serve on the Campus Bicycle Committee (CBC) to oversee bicycling issues.
This recreational trails part of the plan is a great concession to the mountain biking community. I hope we can work together to make it work.

For more details please look at the Bike Plan page
UC Santa Cruz 2006 Draft Bike Plan

A public meeting to review the Draft 2006 Bike Plan (PDF) for the University of California, Santa Cruz will be held on Friday, November 17, 2006, in Bay Tree Conference Room C, from 4:30-6:00 p.m. Larry Pageler, Co-Director of Transportation and Parking Services, will start the presentation at 5:00 p.m.

This meeting is an opportunity for the campus community to comment on the Draft 2006 UCSC Bike Plan. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to learn about and comment on the University's framework to improve and encourage bicycle use on and around the campus. The general public is also welcome. An updated project list (although not yet available on the web) will be available at the meeting.

Comments on the Draft 2006 Bike Plan are welcome until 5:00 p.m., December 18, 2006. Send comments to:

Questions should be directed to Larry Pageler (, Co-Director of TAPS, or Cathy Crowe (, Transportation Planner at TAPS.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Yukon study about the Market Potential for MTB Tourism

I've been pretty excited about the potential for developing mtb tourism for Santa Cruz county. I believe that tourism is the best framework in order to open more trails and create more volunteer participation in advocacy and trail work. I believe that mountain bike tourism has the potential to develop more economic activity for the local bike industry and the tourism economy of Santa Cruz.

The other day I did a Google search to find information on the demographics of people who would engage in mountain bike tourism. I hit a gold mine when I found this document from the Yukon Tourism and Culture resource center:

Exploring the Market Potential for Yukon Mountain Bike Tourism (PDF 51 pages, 5.05MB)

(NOTE: printing this document pegged my printer at work for about 45 minutes due to the white on black section boxes)

This is a recent document (March 2005) and it's quite comprehensive. Even if you aren't interested in developing a tourist destination, this is a good overview of the demographics of mountain bikers.

Part 1 discusses the history and global demographics of mountain biking. Part 2 talks about the economic impact of various mountain bike related events. Part 3 has case studies of existing mtb destinations and some lesson learned for aspiring destinations. Part 4 and 5 discusses the assets of the Yukon Territories and outlines a strategy for how they can capitalize on the mountain bike tourism market.

When you look at the geographic and logistical challenges facing the Yukon to implement this plan, it seem much easier for Santa Cruz to develop and market itself as a mountain bike destination.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day was a huge success!

The second annual "Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day" at Wilder Ranch State Park was a great success. We couldn't have had a better day. The weather was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold and no wind.

We had 25 kids participate ranging in age from 3 - 13 years old riding all types of set ups including Burley trailers, front seats, rear seats, training wheels and a wide variety of kids bikes.

Thanks to California State Parks including Rangers Joseph Connors and Brett Reid for the logistical support and escort. Thanks to interpreter Carolyn Schimandle for arranging the activities and blacksmith. Also, thanks to Piet Canin of Bike2Work/SCBIC, Dave Gittelman of Another Bike Shop and Berri Michel of the Bicycle Trip for donating raffle items and stickers. Thanks to IMBA/Clif Bar for the yummy donation of Z-bars. The kids loved them!

Thanks to volunteers Daryl Breuninger, Eve Davidson, Rich Henthorn, Sebastien Praly and Geoff Smith for donating your time. I really appreciate all your help on putting on this event.

Finally, thanks to all the participants and volunteers for giving the kids a very positive outdoor experience. We are genuinely feel blessed that we live in an area that has an abundance of great parks. With childhood obesity on the rise, an event like this can introduce our kids to a healthy outdoor activity like mountain biking. Mountain biking is a great activity which builds confidence, fitness and an appreciation for the wonderful parks that we have in this area.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

IMBA CA: California State Park Trail Conversion Project

I'm in the process of nominating some trails for the California Trail Conversion campaign and I can't find any reference to this program on the IMBA website. The only reference to the campaign I can find is from an IMBA message sent back in May. Since I don't want to rut around for the message everytime I make a reference to it, I'm transcribing it here for convenience.

Dear IMBA CA Club Leader,

IMBA California, in cooperation with the Northern California Mountain Bike Association (NorCAMBA), IMBA Reps and mountain bike clubs throughout California, has launched a project to convert select state park trails to multi-use status. Please join our campaign.

California State Parks has embraced the need for multi-use trails (access for hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians). However, it's up to the biking community to provide the catalyst for converting existing trails to multi-use.

Details on the project can be found below. IMBA California will help train your club on the procedures that can open trails to bicycles. Please feel free to write or call me if you have further questions.


Tom Ward
IMBA California Policy Advisor


California State Park Trail Conversion Project

Project Goal: Increase trail miles for mountain bikers in California through the efficient conversion of selected California State Park trails from limited use to multi-use.

Background: In December 2005, California State Parks released a new trail policy that provides a process for the public to request trail use conversions in state park units. The policy encourages the establishment of multi-use trails as an effective and efficient way of meeting the diverse trail needs of the recreating public. Additionally, California State Parks encourages multi-use trails in its California Recreational Trails Plan, a policy guide for land mangers throughout the state.

Action Needed: There are numerous trails in state parks that are currently signed for equestrian and/or hikers only. Many of these trails are suitable for conversion to multi-use. Mountain bike clubs need to identify specific trails that they think should be converted.

Send your list of trails to Tom Ward, IMBA California Policy Advisor.

IMBA California will create and prioritize a master list, and provide follow-up consultation and guidance to bike club leaders on the process to follow for trail conversion.

When identifying trails, please provide the following information:

1. State park unit name.
2. Trail name.
3. Trail length.
4. Current trail users.
5. Describe the physical characteristics of the trail.
6. Describe the volume and frequency of trail use.
7. Describe any unauthorized bike use.
8. Does the unit have a general plan in progress?
9. Describe past attempts, if any, to convert the trail to multi-use.
10. Describe known opposition to converting the trail to multi-use?
11. Are you or the bike club able to commit significant time and effort to
the trail conversion process?

If you can't answer all the questions, IMBA CA can steer you in the right direction to research more about possible trail openings.

Thanks for your cooperation and participation in this project. With the new climate in California State Parks, there's a very real possibility that riding opportunities for mountain bikers can be increased significantly in the near future.

Thanks for joining our campaign!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

2006 Draft UCSC Bike Plan Released

The 2006 UCSC draft bike plan has been released:

A review of the plan shows that UC has made provisions for LEGAL off road single track trails in their plan.

Section 2 recognizes the recreational opportunities for students and the community by allowing single track trails. Maintaining an off-road network of trails is going to require involvement from the mountain biking community in the design and maintenance of environmentally sustainable trails.

Section 4.3 discusses a bicycle licensing program as the foundation for education, outreach and enforcement. I would love to get clarity on the position of off road bikes and the licensing program.

In section 5, the plan calls for the formation of a Campus Bicycle Committee (CBC) to address the future adaptation of the plan. There are staff, student and community positions available on this committee and I hope that we can have the interests of mountain biking represented.

The bike plan is accepting written comments to I urge you all to write to support the plan to allow mountain biking at UC. They will be accepting comments until the end of June.

Last year representatives from MBOSC had a serries of meetings with UC officials and land managers where we presented a proposal for legitimizing the UC trail network. I'm happy to say that the draft proposal incorporates many of the ideas in the proposal.

This plan is great news for mountain biking in Santa Cruz. I hope that we can count on the mountain biking community to help us out in the design, maintenance and monitoring of a future legal trail system at UCSC.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Carrot Fest 2006 was a success!

18 mountain bikers and about 25 equestrians participated in Carrot Fest on Saturday. It was a casual event and it was a great opportunity to learn about the other user group in a social setting.

We were high up on the Horse Camp marine terrace with great views of the ocean and the back country. The sunshine was breaking up the morning fog and there was no wind.

After a registering and refreshments, Rebeckah from SCCHA and Sebastien from MBOSC discussed the basics of horse-bike interaction on the trails. That discussion gave way to an open forum of experiences with the other user group.

Some new things that I have learned about horses and equestrians:
  • Horses can't see directly in front or behind them.
  • A horse is a prey animal who will run if threatened.
  • Carrots are like candy to horses (which is why they love them so much). It's not part of their regular diet and too much carrots will make them sick.
  • Equestrians can feel the tension when horses get nervous from bikers. This tension can make the equestrians feel threatened and may cause them to shout at these bikers - which may create an atmosphere of hostility.
As a mountain biker, these are the things I can do on the trail when encountering equestrians and horses:
  • Talk and indicate that you are a "human" when approaching horses. Expecially from behind. Bikes are quiet and horses have sensitive hearing. They may think that cyclists are predators.
  • Communicate with the equestrian about passing the horse. Some horses are comfortable with bikes and will allow you to ride by. Others may wish that the horse or the bike should come to a complete stop when passing.
  • Ride slow when passing a horse and give them plenty of room.
I also appreciated that equestrians are not fully in control of their horses. While horses are obedient and have been trained, it still has a mind of it's own and still subjected to physiological constraints like hunger and fear. An equestrians control of where they want to go must be negotiated with the horse. For example, when an equestrian wants to stop, they must communicate this desire to their horse then the horse will stop. There may be a bit of a lag between the desire to stop by the equestrian and when the horse will actually stop. This is different from bikers because there is no other animal brain to negotiate with when controlling the bike. I acknowledge that not all bikers are in control of their bikes and some bikers have primitive brains.

This was a great way to build understanding between equestrians and mountain bikers. Many of the equestrians I talked with have had positive encounters with mountain bikers on the trail. We are blessed in Santa Cruz county to have such a great relationship with the other user group. Both user groups have a lot of common ground and goals and we can work together to accomplish these goals.

We thank all participants for coming to Carrot Fest for showing the initiative to learn about the other user group. I especially like to thank Sebastien Praley from MBOSC and Rebeckah Crill from SCCHA for representing the co-operation between mountain bikers and equestrians in putting this event together. I also like to thank Supervising Ranger Joe Conners from California State Parks for helping with getting the location prepared for the event.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

More Carrot Fest details

There isn't a rigid structure to the event. The point is to get two trail user groups together in a social context and build understanding. We will be doing a 1-2 hour clinic to help horses get comfortable with mountain bikes. Afterwards groups of equestrians and bikers will ride in opposite directions of a loop to simulate an encounter with the other group to practice what we learned.

This is a really positive event that helps to maintain the great relationship that exists between equestrians and mountain bikers in Santa Cruz county. So come out and get to know our 4 legged friends!

Coffee, carrot cake and other snacks will be provided.

Meeting time

9 am at Horse Camp, Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz.


8:15 am at the washrooms the Wilder Ranch Parking lot. We will ride to Horse Camp along the Ohlone Bluff trail or along Wilder Ridge loop if we have a strong group.

Directions to Horse Camp

Horse Camp is located at the "star" at the bottom of the map:

If driving, north on Hwy 1 to turn right on Dimeo Lane (towards the SC Dump) and then make an immediate right on the dirt road.

If riding, I will lead an easy ride departing from the Wilder Ranch Parking lot departing at 8:30 along the Ohlone Bluff trail and across Hwy 1 to Horse Camp.

You can ride in the Wilder back country along Wilder Ridge Loop trail, take a left at the fork (lower Wilder Ridge a.k.a. Dairyman Trail) before Zane Gray Trail. Follow this trail until you almost get to the fence line and you'll see a gate on your left. This is the Horseman's
trail and follow it through 2 gates to Horse Camp.

We encourage mountain bikers to ride over to Horse Camp since there is limited space available for parking. The Horse Camp parking is rugged and the gravel road up there is a little steep. Please carpool if you have to park at Horse Camp. Priority is given to equestrians with trailers, families with young children and carpooling.

CA State Park day use fees are in effect at Horse Camp and the Wilder Ranch parking lot.

Thanks and see you at Carrot Fest!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Announcing Carrot Fest 2006! Saturday May 13th 9 am

Carrot Fest is an event co-sponsored by the Santa Cruz County Horseman's Association (SCCHA) and Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC) that helps to desensitize horses to mountain bikes and increase communication and understanding between mountain bikers and equestrians. This is a really positive event that helps to maintain the wonderful relationship that exists between equestrians and mountain bikers in Santa Cruz county. If you have been following the events from Woodside, CA then you should appreciate the great relationship we have with the equestrian community here. So come out and get to know our 4 legged friends!

The core organizing group has done a lot of legwork in setting up the permit, getting the lawn mowed, insurance and all the other logistical support but we could really use some help on the day of the event. We would love to have an event photographer and some more leaders who have done Carrot Fest in the past (alas, the previous Carrot Fests were before my time). Please contact me or Sebastien if you want to help out.

We need some mountain bikers to participate! Help make horses feel comfortable by riding around them and giving them carrots. There will be a clinic portion of the event in which the equestrians and bikers will be milling around and interacting at horse camp. After the clinic, groups of equestrians and bikers will ride in opposite directions along Wilder Ridge loop and meet up and practice the rules of interaction.

Coffee and carrot cake will be provided. Perhaps other snacks and schwag may be provided. TBD.

Just the facts

Time and Location : 9 am @ Horse Camp near Dimeo Lane at Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz, California.

We may have a group ride starting at 8:15 am at the usual Wilder meeting place and riding over to Horse Camp along Wilder Ridge trail.

Location: Dimeo lane is the street that leads to the SC dump. Horse camp is the dirt road which is an immediate right when you get onto Dimeo lane.

We encourage mountain bikers to ride over to Horse Camp but there is limited space available for parking at Horse Camp. The Horse Camp parking is pretty rugged and the gravel road up there is a little steep. Please carpool if you have to park at Horse Camp. Priority is given to equestrians with trailers, families with young children and carpooling. CA State Park day use fees are in effect at Horse Camp.

Resources for Equestrian, Biker interaction

Equestrians And Cyclists: Can We Get Along?

Bikes and Horses: A Case for Sharing

Thanks and see you at Carrot Fest!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bay Area route to SDF is closed

On the evening of Sunday April 23th another slide closed Highland Way blocking the northern access to Soquel Demonstration Forest (SDF). If you are coming from the Bay Area you cannot reach SDF via Summit Rd. and Highland Way.

The situation does not look good. Today, there was a sign posted at the beginning of Eureka Canyon Road, in Corralitos, stating that the road was closed 10 miles ahead. On Monday, when I investigated the slide the road crews seemed hopeful of opening at least one lane. I was a bit surprised to see the sign, and I was wondering if they were just trying to discourage through traffic. I decided to check it out for myself Wednesday evening, and I was very disappointed in what I saw. The slide is much worse. It is bigger and deeper than what I saw on Monday. It is very unstable. I only stuck around to look at it for a short time as I heard branches crackling, and saw mud and boulders 2 foot in diameter flowing down the hillside. The instinct of self preservation took over and I bolted. The road bed appears intact, so lets hope things dry out quickly and the road crews are able to clean it up. Do not try and "hike a bike" this slide! It needs lots of time to dry out before even considering it.

You can access Demo from Corralitos by going up Eureka Canyon Road or by riding up through Nisene Marks in Aptos. You must use an alternate route by going through Corralitos via Eureka Canyon Rd. Or you can park at Nisene Marks State Forest in Aptos and ride up the Aptos Creek Fire road to the top of the Ridge trail. That's about a 13 mile climb.

Meanwhile, don't be a stranger to the Demo. It will only add about 45 minutes to an hour to get there from the Bay Area by going through Corralitos. Since you may not becoming as often, look at it as an incentive to do a loop or two or more than you usual.

I hope to see you at Demo soon!

Daryl B

Monday, April 10, 2006

Please give the trails a break

Santa Cruz County has just weathered one of the wettest month's of March on record, some 25 days of rain. And April hasn't started any drier. Our mountain bike trails are saturated. The dirt is oozy, thick mud. Bicycling in these conditions is bad for the trails (causing erosion and wider trail footprint) and your bicycle. Please practice restraint and stay off the off road trails until we have at least 4 days of dry weather.

We'll have great riding for late spring and summer. For more information on sustainable mountain bicycle practices please see For local mountain bike information check:

A message from the Santa Cruz Bicycle Industry Coalition and Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Soquel Forest is Waterlogged

Hi folks,

I just wanted to let you all know that Soquel Forest is thoroughly saturated and the trails are a slimy mess. They've gotten over 6 inches of rain in the last 5 days, and will probably get more this week. Please, give the trails a rest and don't ride Soquel Forest until things start to dry out.

It's also really slippery, and your skills may be a little, uh, rusty. CDF had to respond to an injured rider last week, and the roads are really not in the kind of shape you'd want to drive a truck or ambulance on them to cart you out.

Also, the slide on Highland way has been moving and could close the road at any time.

Sorry I don't have sunnier news about the conditions there.

Patty Ciesla
Stewards of Soquel Demonstration Forest

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Call for volunteers: Wilder Ranch Path Clean up

Wilder Ranch Path Clean up Day
A Call for Volunteers!
Saturday, March 11, 2006 9am start
Meet at Shaffer Road & Wilder Path entrance

Help cut back overgrown vegetation that is narrowing the path and sweep the path clean of debris. Join the bike community in this first monthly clean up event hosted by the Santa Cruz Bicycle Industry Coalition.

Besides improving Wilder path you'll be provided with drinks, snacks, powerbars, and be eligible for prizes from Giro, FOX Racing Shox, and Santa Cruz Bicycles! Also support from Aptos Bike Trail, Another Bike Shop and Family Cycling Center as well as all the local Bicycle Industry Coalition members. Help improve a path which kids, families and individuals use for exercise and transportation to Wilder.

Clean up equipment will be provided but if you have some, bring work gloves (bike gloves will do). Contact Piet to sign up: or 423-9569 ext. 127. Volunteers welcomed to show up without signing up.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Announcing Carrot Fest 2006

The Santa Cruz County Horsemen's Association and Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz will be hosting Carrot Fest 2006 on Saturday May 13th at Horse Camp in Wilder Ranch near Dimeo Lane.

The goal of Carrot Fest is to create safer shared use trails by training horses to be comfortable with the presence of bikes and educating bikers to the needs of equestrians on the trails. In addition, it brings both user groups together in a fun environment to get to know each other and reinforce that we share the common goal of enjoying the open space.

Refreshments will be served. Kids are welcome. Other details will follow and will be posted on

Here are some pics from a previous Carrot Fest:

Please contact Mark ( if you wish to participate or help organize Carrot Fest 2006.

Friday, February 03, 2006

"Hypnosis" movie premiere at the Rio

The Santa Cruz premier of "Hypnosis: Visual Intensity" will be at the Rio Theater Friday February 10th, 8:00 p.m. This showing is sponsored by FOX Racing Shox.

Hypnosis is a unique documentary style portrayal of downhill and mountain cross racing in 2005, allowing the viewer a glimpse into the thoughts and emotions of the sports best riders.

Admission is $5 and there will be a raffle with awesome prizes. All Proceeds will go to the Northern California Mountain Bicycling Association (NorCAMBA).

NorCAMBA is dedicated to maintaining and increasing trail access for Northern California mountain bicyclists by unifying and leveraging the resources of existing grassroots organizations and promoting the development of new organizations. NorCAMBA encourages and supports sustainable trail construction and maintenance, environmentally and socially responsible riding, and land stewardship.

MBOSC is a proud member of NorCAMBA.

Come out and see a wicked film while supporting local trail advocacy efforts!

Just the facts

Friday February 10th, 8:00 p.m.

Rio Theater
1205 Soquel Ave
Santa Cruz, CA 95062 - 2107
(831) 423-8209

Friday, January 27, 2006

Specialized Shindig: Announcing IMBA California

Specialized held a party at it's Morgan Hill headquarters to welcome the East and West IMBA trail care crews who will be leading trail work at Henry Coe this weekend. Specialized provided beer, pizza, T-shirts and water bottles. It was a good opportunity to meet and socialize with local advocates.

Ariadne Delon Scott - Specialized's advocacy director, gave a brief presentation on the history of the companies advocacy efforts. Did you know that there is a forest in Japan named after Specialized? Now you do. Ariadne made a stunning announcement that Specialized is underwriting IMBA California with it's first full time staffer Tom Ward.

Tom was the manager of recreation for California State Parks but retired last year. He is an avid mountian bikers and has been a champion of mountain bike access and advocacy efforts. He was in government for over 30 years and is in a great position to navigate though the bureacratic red tape which prevents access to public lands for mountain bikers. Among his projects will be working with the US Forest Service to allow mountain bikes in California wilderness areas.

Ariadne presented Tom with a new 2006 S-works Stumpjumper FSR. Tom was genuinely surprised. I took a nice close look at this bike and it's a really sweet ride. Specialized knows how to take care of thier boy.

Mountain biking and IMBA started in California. This state also has the most IMBA members, excellent riding, the best weather and lots of bike companies. We also have a lot of land access issues. It's great to have IMBA representation for California and I'm looking forward to working with Tom to open more trails in Santa Cruz county.

This is a very good development for mountain biking in California.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Environmental Survey on "Star Wars"

An intern named Iris is doing a study on mountain biking on the Campus Natural Reserve. She has been stopping and interviewing riders as they rode though the Upper Moore Creek (a.k.a Star Wars) trail. She interviewed a friend of mine...

She mentioned that they are considering an interpretive trail through Star Wars. She asked if bikers would stay on the trail if it was routed out of the "creek" bed. My friend mentioning the fact that it is only a creek when it rains and the runoff from parking lots and streets are also flowing into it. Bikers would stay on the trail if they made it fun but currently, it is still appropriate for bikers, horses and hikers.

It was mentioned to her the numerous studies that support our position that hikers and bikers cause similar amounts of damage and it is a qualitative difference that, due to the numbers of bikers on the trails, often gets biased against us. MBOSC has offered to help with constructing any trails on campus that would be open to bikers, and equestrians including a re-route of Seven Springs. As an example, MBOSC had success with the Uconn trail and it has held up with essentially no maintenance and the illegal campsites and bootleg running trails that used to be in that area are no longer there.

It is our opinion that the UC should use the "reserve" as a research tool to study urban trail design and use for all users. UC should not continue with the status quo that "hikers and their trail damage are okay but others are not" without providing any scientific basis for that position. People have been riding, running, and hiking on that trail far longer than it has been a reserve and that they will continue to ride it since they don't have any better access to the upper campus. In fact, I wonder if she was aware that there is a sewer main buried down the middle of that canyon, and that the Rec department put the "par course" down it decades ago, thereby establishing it as a recreational and fitness route for the campus community.

She seems to be the typical environmental intern with preconceived ideas that mountain biking damages trails (hint: it's actually the water) but she was still interested in getting our perspective. She admitted that she hikes and doesn't enjoy sports involving speed so I doubt if she will ever relate to why we love riding so much.

We don't expect much from this. It is interesting that the CNR is looking for changes to improve the situation. Maybe they'll actually do something that doesn't try to shut us out!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

MBOSC Meeting: Gray Whale Status

On Wed Jan 11, 2006 we had a meeting with Kirk Lingenfelter (Sector Superintendent, Pajaro Coast Sector, CA State Parks) and Joseph Connors (Supervising Ranger, Wilder Ranch, CA SP). The topic of discussion was about opening the Gray Whale trails for public use.

Here are the minute from the meeting and a presentation of the current issues. Fact checking is welcome.


Daryl, Mark, Kirk, Joseph, Rich, Noel, Elayna, Harvey

Gray Whale Status

The Gray Whale trails issue causes grief when ever it's presented internally to a State Parks (SP) official. The file is so large, the issues are so complicated and its difficult to find a champion for this cause within SP.

Kirk and Joe had a meeting with Victor Roth (Staff Park and Recreation Specialist) and Chris Spohrer (Resource Ecologist) concerning the Gray Whale trails issue. Items for discussion included: where they left it, what they know and what are the current issues.

The process to open the trails stopped at the end of 2001. State Parks submitted the trail proposal to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) . The CCC issued a response to SP - who have yet to respond. More details about the proposal and response can be read in a different post.

The biggest concern is the requirements from California Coastal Commission (CCC, State) which were driven by Fish and Game (F&G, State) and Fish and Wildlife (F&W, Fed) concerns over the listed and endangered species in Gray Whale. These concerns are the basis for the 100 Ft biotic studies request from the CCC. Satisfying 3 government agencies is a tall order for a resource constrained organization like CA State Parks.

The public works project plan (PWP) which was submitted predicated a general plan (GP). There is no general plan for Gray Whale but if there was then the process to open the trails would be easier. A GP is quite an expensive and time consuming affair. A very rough estimate could be about $500K and two years. Also, the plan would have to run the gauntlet of a public process and we know there is a lot of opposition to opening the trails.

After talking with some other people who are familiar with trail plans, 100 Ft biotic studies are not unreasonable. However, 100 Ft studies are new to the North Sector Santa Cruz area. There were some studies done around the time of the Gray Whale acquisition but they were incomplete and were only done to 50 Ft.

The bottom line is that there are seemingly insurmountable hurdles in opening up these trails. State Parks doesn't have the stamina or the resources to open these trails. I don't blame them. The biotic studies requirement would be very expensive to complete and there is a lot of local opposition to opening them from hard core wilderness advocates and environmentalists. The Nisene Marks suit demonstrated that.

State Parks can better utilize their scarce resources to projects which add a lot of value and can demonstrate results. The Gray Whale trails project would require a lot of additional resources a and a champion to drive it internally. After that level of commitment, there is still no guarantee that the trails will be opened.

On a Happier Note

Meeting with State Parks demonstrated the good will shared between MBOSC and CA State Parks. This reengagement will lead to a productive and mutually beneficial relationship. State Parks are willing to help open new trails in Wilder Ranch. There are also some oportunities for creating new alignments to improve existing trails in Nisene Marks.

MBOSC and California State Parks are committed to cooperative efforts to promote mountain biking at Santa Cruz area State Parks, as well as educating all trail user groups on trail etiquette and sustainable use via special events (Take a Kid MTBing Day, Carrot Fest, a possible spring event, etc) and volunteer trail work.

Kirk and Joe would like to thank all trail working volunteers. There are 252 miles of trail in Santa Cruz county that has to be maintained by SP. All the trail work in Wilder Ranch and Nisene has been maintained by volunteers so it's not a burden on SP resources.

Future Directions

All is not lost. The barriers are pretty high to open the trails but not impossible.

SP needs resources (money) to move forward. They got whacked in the last State budget. Perhaps a seed of $100K can pay for a part time resource ecologist position to catalog and address the requirements from CCC, et al. Perhaps some money from a government grant or private donors can help pay to get tha general plan started for Gray Whale. Funding for the Nisene Marks general plan was seeded by donation.

The good news is that the resource department was active in the Wilder/Gray Whale area over the past several years. They have a database of activity and species which may be used as a basis for future studies.

Mountain biking is still perceived as "evil" from the environmental community. This tends to bite us in the public review process in which angry hikers attack mountain bikers as a group for anecdotal incidents of user conflict and the perception of trashing the environment. As mountain bikers, we know that we are environmentally aware and concerned. We really do have the same values as other environmental groups like the Sierra Club. As a user group we need to alter the public perception of our sport to illustrate our environmental credentials.

The lack of progress in Gray Whale doesn't mean that SP doesn't want to open trails. There may be opportunities for opening new trails in Wilder Ranch and Nisene Marks. We should consider trying to re-open Deja Vu - which is a nice single track diversion off Eucalyptus Loop. Deja Vu was closed around 2000.

Recently, a new "Fire Break" was created near Deja Vu from Eucalyptus Loop to Long Meadow. The decision to open this Fire Break was necessary and permitted outside the normal works project approval process, due to exigent circumstances that came up during the last controlled burn (fire fighter safety and control of an unplanned flare up). State Parks are interested in trying to reopen the portion of Deja Vu that does not cross into Gray Whale.

Perhaps private citizens should bound together to lobby CCC, F&G, F&W and try to get clarity, resources and lowering the requirements for opening the Gray Whale trails. This shouldn't be limited to mountain bikers. All users who have a vested interest in opening the trails should consider lobbying these organizations for access.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

What Happened to the Gray Whale Trails Process?

The readers digest summary...

For those of you who need a history lesson, there were a number of trails which were recommended to be opened by the Gray Whale Advisory Committee (GWAC) - a group of concerned trail users and stake holders. GWAC included MBOSC and the Santa Cruz Horseman's Assoc some environmental and native species groups, etc....

The great thing about GWAC was that a consensus between these disparate groups was actually reached. Some of the trails that were recommended to be opened include:

1. Wally World; from top of Long Meadow to Cave Gulch
2. Holiday Trail; from Chinquapin Trail to bottom of Woodcutters Trail
3. Picnic Loop; from Chinquapin Trail to Holiday Trail
4. Deja Vu Connector; From Eucalyptus Trail to Long Meadow
5. Majors Creek Vista; a short trail off of Woodcutters to a nice view
6. UCSC Connector; from top of Englesman Trail to the University property across from the Arboretum.

The proposal to open the trails was submitted to the California Coastal Commission back in 2001 and the CCC came up with a reply which was never implemented:

1. 11x17 Base map
2. Habital Assessment and Management:
- all biological resources within 100 ft of any Gray Whale trails
- For any resources identified, trail impact analysis
3. Trail classification
4. Trail monitoring and management program
5. Summary of Public Input
6. Revised Gray Whale Ranch Public Works Plan
7. Santa Cruz County Co-ordination
8. PWP Project Request

Out of all the requirements, #2 was the difficult part.

By the time the CCC letter came out, State Parks went though re-orgs and budget cutbacks. Requirement #2 became an unsurmountable hurdle to open the trails. The momentum to open the trails was lost and many MBOSC members who worked so hard on this issue burned out.