I started today’s ride from Pedaler’s Fork in Calabasas, just a 30-minute drive from my home in Glendale. In the early morning, there’s no traffic on the freeway, and plenty of parking at the nearby Park n Ride lot (see map above), so getting there was no hassle. The parking lot fills up after 8am, though, so arriving early is advised. FYI, the exit off the 101 freeway is Valley Circle Blvd.
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There’s a nice coffee bar at the back of the restaurant, though it’s initially hard to find because, although it opens at 6am, the restaurant doesn’t open until 9am, so the only way you can get to it is by going around back via a side street (El Canon Ave). Also, there’s no signage pointing the way. First-timers beware.
Next to the coffee shop is a convenient bike rack, with heavy, keyed, chain locks attached! This means you don’t have to worry about your bike walking away while you get your caffeine fix; also if you have lunch after a ride, you know your bike is safe. The coffee is good, the pastries fresh and carbolicious, the baristas friendly, and the room is warm—very welcome on a chilly morning.
I was the only rider foolish enough to start at 8am today, so I had the whole place to myself. There were plenty of people milling about, setting up for the big Saturday farmer’s market in the parking lot, but not many were in the cafe, nor using the bathrooms.
Yay! My route goes clockwise out of Calabasas, mostly along Mulholland Drive. The first 2 miles are pretty flat, allowing for a nice warmup, but once it turns onto Mulholland, the grade becomes a steady 2-4%, with an 8% pitch around mile 4, then nice downhills until the intersection with Las Virgenes Rd. After that is the first real climb, about 1.5 miles at 6%, then you get some nice rollers all the way into the town of Cornell.
The scenery is spectacular here. Horse country, mountains—rich people live here for a reason. There’s plenty of open space. Other than the occasional catastrophic wildfire, and the ludicrous price tag, it would be a treat to live out here.
Before I continue, I should mention that there is no shoulder along most of Mulholland. Where there is some shoulder, there’s often debris, so riding on this road can be sketchy in traffic. Fortunately, on an early Saturday morning, there aren’t many cars. However, they do like to go fast. I hugged the white line most of the way, and had to keep my eyes peeled for gravel/rocks. Riders beware!
Anyway, on to Cornell. This is the first place to stop, at mile 15. The town has some history, and a couple of touristy shops, but most importantly it has a water spigot, nice toilets, and a coffee bar behind a trendy looking restaurant called the Old Place. There’s only one person running the bar, so if you’re with a group of people who all want coffee, you’ll be there for a long time. I saw several other cyclists there, all of whom were headed in different directions, so it seems to be a way station for the area.
Right after Cornell, there’s a short one-lane bridge with a pedestrian walkway where cyclists have to walk their bikes. Beyond that, the road passes by the Rock Store (a major motorcycle hangout), then comes to a ROAD CLOSED sign. Yes, the road is closed, but is passable on bicycles! (There is a washed-out section that reduces the pavement to a single lane. To open the road as it is, they’d have to install traffic lights, which won’t happen. No idea when they’ll fix it.) Several other riders told me they ride the closed section frequently. Though officially it’s a ticketable offense, they haven’t been hassled about it.
This part is the major climb of the route. 1.25 miles at 6-10%, with beautiful views the entire way up, and plenty of places to stop for photos.
After the climb, you cross Kanan Rd, hit some rollers with a little more climbing and some gorgeous scenery—ocean views!—then get to Westlake Blvd for a long, technical descent. It’s steep to say the least, on a narrow road with random rocks and gravel but fortunately not a lot of traffic. You just have to take your time.
Once back on the valley floor, the pavement opens up to include bike lanes on both sides of the road, and rolling terrain all the way back to Calabasas. There are several good places to stop for water/toilets: gas stations, restaurants, and—my favorite—libraries. There are a number of traffic lights, but mostly this section is great for riding tempo, with some efforts on the hills.
Then it’s back to the Pedaler’s Fork for lunch and farmer’s market shopping. FYI, the prices are on the steep side; this is Calabasas, after all.
Summary: I did this ride to gauge whether the area would be suitable for PAA club rides, whether supported or unsupported. I think it is! There are many route options using Trip report 5 Trip Report November 23, 2019 Pedaler’s Fork as a starting point. There’s even Chesebro Cyn nearby for gravel/mtn adventurers. I’m definitely going back. I plan to set up some future routes for winter training, and will let the club know when I do.
PS You can view the PDF version of this report