Beach Cities Cycling Club

Sullivan Canyon intro to Gravel Ride

Bob Kellogg will lead a group to Sullivan Canyon to do up to 6 miles of off-pavement riding. This route was chosen because it can be done on a regular bike, with no special equipment necessary. If you've been wanting to try some gravel or adventure riding, this will be a safe, easy way to give it a try. The gravel section starts around mile 22 and ends about mile 28.

Bob's comments: I will be riding the same Felt road bike I ride every Saturday, I have used this same bike for three Belgian Wafer Rides and several hundred miles of off-road training. We will not be trekking across Mongolia, or jumping off any cliffs! It's just 6 miles on an unpaved fire road. Because this route is up and back, you have the option to turn around if you're not comfortable. If you have a gravel or cyclocross bike, you should bring that, but don't go buy one for this ride. I don't recommend a mountain bike because we have 20 miles of road riding to and from the canyon. 

Sullivan Canyon is a park and trail that parallels Mandeville Canyon Road, the road that takes us to the start of the trail. The website has a nice description of the canyon. "For three and a half miles, you make your way up a gentle grade, under cover of sycamores and oaks. The walls of the canyon block out virtually all the noise of the city nearby. From time to time, you may get glimpses of the hills above the canyon between the trees." W will likely encounter a few other bikers and hikers, but no cars. It's a pleasant surprise to find terrain like this just minutes form the crowds of LA.

A lot of people wonder what kind of tires they should use, you can use whatever tires you normally use for a road ride. If you have more than one set from which to choose, you may be more comfortable on the wider set. I have hundreds of off road miles on 23mm and 28mm clincher tires, currently I have 26mm clincher tires. You may hear that you need tubeless tires for riding off-road, this may be true for a much longer, rockier trail, but for 6 miles the tires you have will be fine.

One area you might think about is your shoes, the route is completely rideable, the only walking is around a gate. If you have mountain bike shoes, or a choice that is easier to walk in, you might be happier wearing them. I don't have road shoes, I use MTB shoes for all rides. If you only have road shoes, you could consider using flat pedals and sneakers, not necessary but might be easier if you decide to walk any short segments.

If your bike is very new, very expensive, or very light/delicate, you will probably be more comfortable on your old bike. My bike is all carbon and fairy light, nothing bad has ever happened to it off, or on road. If, like me, you only have one bike and you're okay riding the mean streets of LA, you will be fine on this ride. The same goes for wheels, if very light/delicate, you may want to put on the old set. My wheels are lightweight aluminum climbing wheels and I've never had a problem with them.

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