Friday, February 27, 2009

Announcing the joint MBOSC/Mere Mortals 4th Saturday ride at Wilder Ranch


Many local and remote riders have enjoyed our regular Saturday ride at Wilder Ranch for years. One recurring theme that comes up is that the pace is too fast. For years we have also tried to figure out how to make beginner or leisurely riders welcome on the ride. I am pleased to announce that we are going to address the issue with a regular slow ride.

Starting tomorrow and continuing on every 4th Saturday of the month, MBOSC in partnership with Mere Mortals will have a “slow” ride option. This ride will be at a more leisurely pace. We may not cover as many miles but it will be a ride which is friendly for beginners. There will probably be an intermediate/advanced group for the regulars and fast people as well.

Meet at 10 am on the 4th Saturday of the month at the park sign that leads into the back country at Wilder Ranch State Park.

We would like to welcome beginner or slower mountain bikers to the sport we would like them to feel welcome on our group rides.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Please attend the Santa Cruz City Council Meeting to Support the Jump Park


Earlier this month the Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Commission voted unanimously to move forward with the relocation of the Fun Spot bike park. We would like to thank the SC Parks and Rec Commission for your support for recreational cycling.

The next phase of this project is to attend the City Council meeting at the Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday Feb 24th at 3 pm to support the relocation of the bike park. Note the time has changed from Jesse’s earlier messages.

The current plan is to relocate the park around the corner to a permanent location at Depot Park. Your comments should be in support of the relocation plan and you should also express your support for a public jump park in general.

Please attend and show your support for our kids and gravity brothers. If you cannot attend the meeting in person then please email, phone or write the council members in support of relocating the bike park:

Mayor, Cynthia Mathews 
420-5020 City Hall
Email -
Vice Mayor, Mike Rotkin 
420-5020 City Hall
Katherine Beiers 
420-5020 City Hall 
Email -
Ryan Coonerty
420-5027 City Hall 
Email -
Don Lane 
420-5020 City Hall 
Email - 
Tony Madrigal
420-5020 City Hall
Email -
Lynn Robinson
420-5020 City Hall 
Email –

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

IBIS has officially moved to Santa Cruz

Another iconic bike company has relocated to Santa Cruz. I got an email newsletter from Ibis Cycles in which they mention their move to Santa Cruz (from nearby Scotts Valley). Ibis is located in the old Wrigley building on Delaware Avenue. They are close to the trails.

Here is the tidbit that I saw on their newsletter.

We've Moved!
Eagle eyed readers who noticed we mentioned Santa Cruz as our home city in the first paragraph. That wasn't a typo, part of the reason that there isn't a ton of news to report right now is that we've been moving and that has been taking a lot of our energy. Our new top secret location (top secret unless you look at our contact page) is only a block from the beach and a few feet away from an amazing network of mountain bike trails. We couldn't be happier with our new location. Other bonuses include many good restaurants nearby, a couple of wineries and a brewery (the last two for after work only of course).
We would like to welcome our friends at Ibis to the city of Santa Cruz!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

MBOSC meeting with Ranger Gary Brennan

On Monday, February 9th, Concerned mountain bikers in the Santa Cruz area met with Ranger Gary Brennan to discuss the new Henry Cowell UC9 enforcement program.


  • Ranger Gary Brennan, Henry Cowell State Park
  • Tom Ward, IMBA CA
  • A few dozen concerned mountain bikers
Henry Cowell State Park enforcement program

Ranger Gary Brennan presents the background and justification for the new enforcement program.

  • Citations for riding in Henry Cowell State Park between UC and Hwy 9 will start Sunday February 15th. Not February 18th in an older flyer.
  • Rangers staffing levels have been filled, issues of biker rescues, complaints from neighbors about noise and garbage.
  • Gary received a lot of messages and phone calls against the implication that mountain bikers were responsible for the garbage. Call us poachers but not litterers.
  • Resource ecologists and archeologists will be evaluating the area this spring to do an inventory and an environmental assessment.
  • The enforcement program in Pogonip by the City had the effect of moving homeless and drug dealing into the Rincon parking lot. This is a real issue.
Many questions and much discussion from the audience. Recanting of history of riding in Santa Cruz goes back to 1983 when there were no bike policies. Established order of politically savvy hikers, conservationists and equestrians changed the rules to exclude bikes. Worked with the system and the process over the years to change the policies and were invited to the table when new lands are acquired. Progress was made.

Frustration with the slow process, lack of State resources, staff turnover and lack of partners within the State Parks system. Frustration with the ease at which opposition groups has shut down these initiatives has created a sense of disillusionment within the responsible mountain biking community. Lack of enforcement in open space created a culture of riders who create their own reality and know how to mange sustainable trails. Responsible mountain bikers willing to accept the fact that mountain biking is an underground activity in Santa Cruz.

Secret stash becomes too popular with interlopers who do not have the same respect for the community and open space. Trails proliferate. No guidance or management. Trails are ad hoc and everywhere. Anything goes. Concussions, impaling, helicopters, neighbor complaints. Rangers.

Tom Ward leads a discussion on the future

  • This is a golden opportunity since the attention of the mountain biking community is energized. What should we do about it?
  • Despite the horrible economic climate that the State is in District Superintendents are faced with making decisions on where to focus scarce resources.
  • A decision was made to staff ranger positions over a trail co-ordinator or resource ecologist. So enforcement became a higher priority over opening new trails. The challenge is to make the recreational needs of mountain biking a high priority to warrant State Parks resources.
  • Legalizing the Cowell/UC9 trails is a hard battle. Perhaps a trail or two (or three). Long term goal.
  • Short term: There is an existing proposal on submitted to District back in November 2006. The trail conversion proposal is the most expedient way to get legitimate trails in the local State Parks. 24 miles of single track and 12 miles of fire road in Big Basin, Castle Rock and Fall Creek.
  • Medium term, opening the Wilder/Gray Whale trails will take a little more effort and funding.
  • Medium term, the inland of Coast Dairies represents the best opportunity for the future of Santa Cruz mountain biking.
Action Items

We request that District Superintendent Chet Bardo have an open dialog with mountain bikers. As a public servant and accountable to state taxpayers and local constituents we ask that you listen to the concerns of the mountain biking community.

We are willing to become partners and offer our trail building expertise and labour. We can create sustainable trails which are ecologically feasible, enjoyable and safe. We are willing to negotiate for shared access to trails to mitigate other trail user concerns.

You may choose the time and place for the dialog but we request that you address this in a timely manner and where the community can reasonably attend. A Sunday afternoon in the park would work.


Thanks to Ranger Gary Brennan for attending and subjecting himself to the barbs and arrows and handling the situation with grace.

Thanks to Tom Ward for making the trek from Sacramento to attend the meeting.

Thanks for Daryl B for providing the amp and wireless mics.

Thanks to Charlie Meehan and the staff of Seabright Brewery for the venue, the beer and the great hospitality.

Thanks to all of you in the community that showed up to support of mountain biking in Santa Cruz!

Thanks to Sebasien’s IPA for getting me though these minutes.

New Enforcement Program at Henry Cowell


Starting Sunday, February 15, 2009 Rangers at Henry Cowell park will be handing out citations for riders caught in Henry Cowell State Parks the area bounded by UCSC at the top and Hwy 9 at the bottom. The patrol area will cover Hwy 9 from the Rincon parking lot to the “Poop chute”.

The education portion of the program started February 1st and the Rangers were patrolling the area informing the riders of the new enforcement program. They were handing out flyers and placing them on windshields.

This area of Santa Cruz has been a favorite place for riding in the local community. The trail have always been off limits to bikes but that has not stopped locals, riders from the Bay Area, Northern California and all over the world including pros and industry folks have been enjoying these trails for decades with very little threat of citation.

There are several reasons for the crack down:

  • Ranger staffing levels have increased since October. These aren’t new positions. Cowell has been understaffed for many years.
  • There were a few mountain biker rescues by State Parks Rangers in recent months including a concussion and an impaling on a tree.
  • Neighbors from Felton have been complaining about the large number of shuttles.
I’m not going to get into detail about this. There is a thread on the forums at which discuss this topic at length. There is another thread which discusses the recent meeting we had with Ranger Gary Brennan.

This new enforcement program has engaged the mountain bike community. MBOSC will be working with State Parks and IMBA to create more legitimate riding opportunities in the Santa Cruz area.

MBOSC and IMBA are working hard to create new legitimate trails for mountain biking in the Santa Cruz area. Please support these two organizations and stay informed about the campaigns we will be launching in the coming months.