Concerned Off Road Bicyclists Association-CORBA
Web Site: www.corbamtb.com
Dear Don and Kay: As an active member of CORBA for many years and lifetime member, I feel their involvement in the mountain bike movement from advocating land access to trail building and the education of responsible biking puts them in the forefront of the pioneer and/or land access categories for induction into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. I am proud to recommend them for inclusion on the upcoming nomination ballot. Sincerely, Dr. Al Farrell
Nomination for CORBA to Mountain Bike Hall of Fame
The Concerned Off Road Bicyclists Association was founded in August 1987 as a response to trail closures and to represent the interests of mountain bikers in the Santa Monica Mountains and Rim of the Valley Corridor near Los Angeles. With little to go on other than determination, CORBA formed and quickly became a prominent voice of reason in the chaos of newly emerging mountain biking advocacy. A year later, and with other like-minded advocates CORBA became one of the five founding clubs of IMBA.
With 25 years of experience behind it, CORBA continues to represent mountain bikers throughout the Los Angeles area, and provides leadership throughout the country. Its programs have been models for the mountain bike community worldwide. Its leaders have gone on to local and national prominence. CORBA’s longevity, high level productivity, and principled commitment to an inclusive trail community deserve recognition by the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.
CORBA represents the think globally/act locally philosophy and has fostered a culture of leadership for mountain bike advocates. As one of IMBA’s founding clubs, CORBA leaders took on tasks that helped support and grow the fledgling organization. CORBA founders Mark Langton and Kurt Loheit (MBHOF Class of 2004) attended the March 1988 meeting that actually created IMBA. Jim Hasenauer (MBHOF Class of 1998), one of CORBA’s founders became IMBA Spokesman, then IMBA Board Member and President. Kurt became CORBA’s trail designer and builder. His work with CORBA became nationally recognized and he became IMBA’s go-to guy on trail design issues. IMBA sent Kurt to several sites around the country, and that led to land managers contacting him for consulting and training, services he still provides. Kurt was instrumental in helping train and launch the IMBA Trail Care Crew.
In 1988 CORBA, the National Parks Service, and California State Parks created the Mountain Bike Unit, the first multi-agency volunteer bike patrol in the country. The partnership with NPS and California State Parks required strict training and protocols which created an esprit de corps that continues to this day. CORBA recognized earlier volunteer patrol efforts by mountain bikers, and elevated the training, certification requirements and organization of the MBU to a much higher level. IMBA recognized the CORBA MBU as a model Program in 1993 and it was publicized widely to other mountain bike groups. In 1994, IMBA and NORBA cooperated to create a National Mountain Bike Patrol based on the MBU model, and brought in MBU leaders Ross Blasman and Jack Dwyer to train the NMBP recruits and trainers. Today, while CORBA still provides financial assistance, the MBU is a free standing organization and other land managers participate.
In 1992, Mark Langton and the late Ross Blasman created a free Introduction to Mountain Bike Skills Class that has met every first Saturday of the month for 20 years. Langton still coordinates and coaches the program which has been attended by thousands of riders from as far away as San Diego and Orange Counties. The class teaches skills for beginners as well as more advanced riders and emphasizes trail etiquette and the necessity for all mountain bike riders to represent the mountain bike community responsibly.
In 1994, CORBA worked with Marilyn Price (MBHOF Class of 1996) to create a Southern California Trips for Kids Program, the second such program in the country. After the passing of Charlie Litsky (MBHOF Class of 1994), Mary Litsky created the Charlie Litsky Memorial Fund to commemorate Charlie’s love of the sport. The fund was used to establish the CORBA Trip for Kids Program, now called CORBA Youth Adventures. It continues to take inner city youth groups on mountain bike rides once or twice a month. Since its inception, thousands of at-risk and disadvantaged kids have had the opportunity for a mountain bike ride that’s not only fun, but that interprets local natural and cultural resources.
CORBA leaders became involved in fundraising, political activity and management of Los Angeles open space. CORBA founder Peter Heumann produced March for Parks events for several years, including the largest earth day event in the country three out of four years. Peter went on to produce a consumer bike show and the long running City of the Angels Fun Ride which has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to children’s hospitals and other youth charities. Peter promoted mountain biking in LA by installing the first indoor dirt test track, which hosted thousands of test rides and mountain bike lessons. Mark Langton sits on the Conejo Open Space Trails Advisory Committee and has served as its Chair for three years; Jim Hasenauer serves on the governing Board of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. Former Board Member Hans Kiefer, who coordinated CORBA’s Trail Crew for many years and helped build several new trails in the SMMNRA and Angeles National Forest, now owns a professional trail building company. Current CORBA Board member Steve Messer is active in the Friends of the Angeles Volunteer group and has been especially proactive in coordinating mountain bicyclist efforts toward trail reconstruction after the monumental Station Fire. Steve has also been instrumental in the start up of the Southern California Mountain Bike Racing League and has helped the league implement a give-back mentality among the student-racers, requiring them to participate in regular trail work in their communities.
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, CORBA’s home territory, consists of lands managed by the National Park Service, California State Parks, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and other public and private land owners. Perhaps because of this structure, CORBA was able to develop a unique, positive and productive relationship with NPS. Despite the national regulation that severely restricts mountain bikes from NPS dirt trails and roads, CORBA worked with the agency and now, most NPS trails, including singletrack are open to bikes in the Santa Monica Mountains. This relationship and success in trail sharing is often cited all around the country, as mountain bike advocates continue to press to change the anachronistic regulation that makes creating bike opportunities so time-consuming and expensive on NPS lands.
The most recent CORBA program is CORBA Kids Club, regular rides where kids and adults share the mountain bike experience. Inspired by IMBA’s Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day, CORBA is encouraging kids and their families to get outside on bikes.
CORBA, one of IMBA’s founding clubs, has come full circle. It is now a Chapter of IMBA. Its coverage now extends to the Angeles National Forest, the Palos Verde Peninsula and northern LA County. Over the years, hundreds of CORBA volunteers and advocates have nurtured and sustained these foundational programs. New leaders emerged and helped the organization adapt to new threats and opportunities. Throughout it all, CORBA advocates have taken the high road, maintained close relationships with the land managers and have worked tirelessly to secure opportunities for mountain bicyclists and for the protection of wild lands near Los Angeles. CORBA should be in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.