California

Lake Perris was a convenient start point for an 18 mile ride. The trails are dry all year round and the claim is that they are dry within a few minutes of any rain stopping so no need to plan, just meet up and ride.

Trees, obstacles and narrow singletrack were missing but really it is riding in scrub desert. Doubletrack seemed to be old Jeep trails but they seemed an endless run of these so if you lived out here you could either put together an endless mix without repeating the same trails or perhaps get completely lost and die in the heat.

Mid November temperatures were in the 80’s, or 30 degrees, which was hot. Wind was minimal and the few riders that I saw were sweating buckets. I am told that 70 is the preferred option lower than that seems a little cold.

One of the riders had a Santa Cruz of course but fat tyres for sandy, dusty trails were the order of the day. I asked about mud tyres and it seemed that the shops did not stock them at all.

On this day two riders in conversation at an easy pace would ride an 18 mile loop in less than three hours. Clip the clean bikes back into the Honda Element and home within an hour. Los Angeles is just over an hour away without traffic so the number of possible riders was huge but maybe I missed them all.

JensonUSA are based nearby and more trails start outside the door to them, literally ride from the door. Sometimes they ride lunchtimes. Jenson have offered guided rides to any of us who venture over and can link with riding groups nearby and further afield in Marin County etc. As I may be back in early spring I hope to be able to ride a bundle of trails in the dry, nonwet, warm, non-cold, sunny, non-winter, desert conditions.

My flight was £450 and hotel was about $100 per night for a suite. Car hire booked here was £120 for two weeks. Fuel is free, food is about $10 for 2000 calories served in a bucket sized portion.

I enquired about night riding but this seems less popular over there so I have highlighted the difference with the UK and would love to try a night ride in the desert. With a guide. And no bears. Or cougars. Or cactus. And lights that do not turn off when I jump.

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