Palos Verdes Mountain Biking
I discovered riding in Palos Verdes in 1981, just about when mountain biking was becoming national. I fell in love with the sport and started leading rides at Del Cerro Park. That led to doing trail repair, building, trash removal, and brush cleanup. All of this was done under the radar of course because this was all private property. As long as we kept a low profile we seemed to be able to do anything we wanted. It was like the Wild West - no rules, no law.
Gradually as more riders came we started to worry that people would complain to the city or landowners about bad encounters. We were still learning how to deal with other users, especially equestrians. We had a good thing going and didn’t want to get kicked out.
In 1987 CORBA was formed to deal with trail access in the Santa Monica Mountains. They became the framework for the many mountain bike groups that formed later, including IMBA. I became aware of their efforts through Kurt Loheit, one of the founders. Their philosophy was to work through education of trail users and set up guidelines for mountain bikers.
Kurt designed the triangular yield sign we’re all (I hope) familiar with. Our riding group, loosely called BC Riders, adapted this approach. Since we couldn’t put up signs on private property we just simply spread the word and tried set an example. This worked so well that equestrians have complimented our good trail manners, even in city meetings.
As with all things, changes come. The city has started buying the land to preserve it as open space. The good news is that if they can buy the land it won’t be developed into million dollar homes or a golf course. The bad news is that we will face a lot of changes. Law and order has come to the Wild West.