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Mountain Bike! Los Angeles County: A Wide-Grin Ride Guide Paperback – April 28, 2007

3.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charles Patterson was introduced to the sport of mountain biking by his mother and older brother, both former professional cyclists. He is living the dream—blazing the local trails and writing about it.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Clean ocean air, pleasant views of the Pacific Ocean, and unmolested chaparral make the Overlook Trail one of the sweetest ascents to be found anywhere in Socal. The climbing is tough, but not relentless because a few flat spots will alleviate the pain in your lungs and legs along the way. Sandstone Peak dominates the skyline to the East, rising to 3,117 feet, making it the highest mountain in the Santa Monica Mountain range.
If you’ve had enough after 4.5 miles of the Overlook Trail, you have two bail-out options. You can either descend the Backbone Trail, which will be clearly marked with a sign on your right side, or go down Hell Hill, which is a fire road, also on the right about 300 feet beyond Backbone. Hell Hill is a steep B-line back to Big Sycamore, and much easier than the twisty, bumpy singletrack that is Backbone. If you have the grit, avoid bailing out here and continue up Overlook for another 1.25 miles so you can be rewarded with the Guadalasca singletrack descent. The views become more and more interesting near the summit of Overlook, at the top of which you can overlook the vast agricultural plains of Oxnard.

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Product Details

  • Series: Mountain Bike!
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Menasha Ridge Press; 1st edition (April 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897326466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897326469
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,850,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I would have to agree with Serge's review above. I have not done Sullivan's Canyon, but when I read the text, I could see that it did not match what was laid out on the map. It makes me very hesitant to do other trails for the first time based on this book, as they might not be labeled properly. Also, the "Key-At-A-Glance" section is sloppy. On some rides Technical Difficulty is listed on the third line and Aerobic Difficulty is listed on the fourth line, but on other rides they are reversed. This could get you into trouble if you confuse the two and do what you thought was a 5 aerobic difficulty that is actually a 5 technical difficulty you are not ready for. And on Sullivan it is inexplicably rated as "Moderate" with no number or aerobic rating at all.

My second complaint is which trails were chosen for the book. I say there are only 33 rides listed because I am not counting the 7 non-LA County rides in here. There is a section called South Bay/Cleveland National Forest. It should really be marked Orange County/San Bernardino County. There are no South Bay rides listed in here (Torrance, Rancho Palos Verdes, etc.). There are other LA County proper rides which are not listed at all in here for some reason, such as Turnbull Canyon. If one had to include some OC rides, why not list some of the plenty that are way closer to LA than El Moro or San Juan?

My third complaint is that most of the rides in this book are geared for the advanced rider. The back cover of this books says "whether you're new to mountain biking or an experienced downhiller".
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I am new to Southern California and usually bike myself as my schedule is hectic.
I bought that book so I can pick a trail and ride it.

I tried 4 trails out of the book so far. The explanations are either too general or incorrect. In all four occasions I ended up lost.
Example - Route #10 - Sullivan Ridge to Sullivan Canyon Loop. Never mind the mismatches between the map and real-life (The return in ON Mandeville fireroad and NOT next to it as one might derive from looking at the map in the book), the explanations go the other direction of this loop ride than the markings on the map!
Another Example - Route #6 - Santa Maria Trail - "... The unmarked trailhead starts on the right (east) side of the road, right across from Pat's Topanga Gril, on the left (west) side of the road". Across from Pat's grill there is a fenced area. You can go either 0.1M before or 0.2M after Pat. I picked the first and ended up in people's backyard with a woman yelling at me that she is calling the police.

One might read this review and say, well this guy is a klutz. The thing is that when we lived in Northern California (East San Francisco Bay) I used Lorene Jackson's (AFalconGuide publishing) "Mountain Biking the San Francisco Bay Area: A Guide to the Bay Area's Greatest Off-Road Bicycle Rides (Regional Mountain Biking Series)" and found my way every time.

DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK. If you did, you better check the route with Google earth or Google map before hitting the trail.

I have wasted 4 precious riding Fridays and I hope I have just saved yours.
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The problem with this book is exemplified by the map on the inside cover: an overview map of the LA county rides. It has the Pacific Ocean on the right (yes, right, not left). I looked at it for a while. Flipped it sideways, but then you have to read names sideways. Weird. Then I went to check out a ride I know well(Bulldog Loop)to see if the description makes sense to me. Again, it took me a while to figure out what the author is talking about, because the ride direction arrows on the map are reversed relative to what is described in the text. "Must be a typo", I said and went to look at another ride I know very well "Sullivan ridge to Sullivan Canyon...". Here things got even more weird. The arrows are reversed again. He really describes a ride up what is commonly known as Westridge Road (properly labeled West Mandeville Fire Rd on their map), but the text refers to the Sullivan Ridge Fire Road "...the Sullivan Ridge Fire Road provides a great warm up for this ride... and "the entrance to the Sullivan ridge Fire Road" which is really ways away on Amalfi. And the funny thing is that his map does have Sullivan Ridge Fire Road, not being part of this ride. Very confusing. I wonder how screwed up the rest of the ride descriptions are.
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