Santa Barbara MUni visit

Hey, all:

Yesterday I had the pleasure of driving up (from LA) to Santa Barbara and hooking up with Matt and the Santa Barbara gang for a spectacular Muni ride (my first with a group) down a sheer granite mountainside. The entire ride took us a little over three hours (all descending) and demolished our legs. Through the course of the ride I learned the following things:

  1. When the trail narrows to 2", goes into a hairpin turn, angled at 45 degrees and littered with boulders and shale, lean into the mountain as opposed to trying to ride straight up and down. That way it you UPD, you won’t plunge to your death over the vertical cliffside at the edge of the trail.

  2. When the single track turns to sand and drops down an incline steep as an Olympic ski jump, don’t slow down or the boys will run you over.

  3. The definition of an “honest” descent precludes stopping at vertical, circuitous, rocky sections to hop over obstacles. That’s like a downhill ski racer side-slipping the tough sections. The “honest” descent requires you to “bomb” even the gravest terrain, the faster the better.

  4. The only way to bomb exceedingly rocky sections is to keep the wheel moving so fast you won’t get hung up and you can roll over anything smaller than a Bradley Armored Vehicle–though you might still get bucked off and swan dive 100 yards down a thorny palisade, or peddle directly off the trail and freefall to the next switchback (I almost did both).

  5. When the very edge of the single track turns to sand and is like the brink of El Capitan, and the Forest Service has shorn up the margin with 2 X 6’s to keep the trail from simply falling into the void, don’t dare Christian to hop onto the 2 X 6 and ride it down the 40-degree incline because he will.

  6. Allow the boys to vastly overrate your true abilities. This will give you the gusto to go for–and possibly make–something you’d otherwise blow off as suicidal.

  7. At all times, encourage each other to take even greater risks, no matter the consequences.

Thanks, boys, and I’ll see you next weekend.


Don’t let JL fool ya. For someone whose been riding for such a short amount of time he was absolutly amazing out there. I’m always amazed at what great people you meet riding these things. I have no doubt in my mind that the group that rode this weekend will be sharing some great muni adventures this summer!

This is an understatement! I can barely walk today and basically had to pull myself up and down all the stairs on campus. The crazy thing is, I’m sitting here hoping that they’ll be ok for next weekend so we can do it again! :slight_smile:


This sounds a bit like downieville. Ben Plotkin-Swing and Beau Hoover lost their unis off a cliff (they retrieved them). John Hooten also had to get his helmet after it fell. Also, some of the exposure sounds like the Amasa Back trail in Moab. I bottomed out my pedal on a rock while riding Dan Heaton’s uni and biffed hard with a 200’ drop into the Colorado(?) river on my left. I fell to the left and clawed at the gravel for dear life. Earlier on the trail I mearly lost Dan Heaton’s muni off the side of a cliff as hne walked 10’ behind me. That was scary. How long was the ride?

This trail drops 3000 feet in less than 4 miles and from what I understand is way more technical than downiville. There are some very unforgiving spots on this trail where the single track gets about 1’ wide with a wall on one side and 200-300’ drop on the other.

The first part of the trail is fast down hill switchbacks on loose shale with alot of those unforgiving drops. The second half is super technical rocky sections alongside the creek. Eyal, who was in the back of the group at the time, went over the side of the trail at a large drop but luckily held on to a small seedling to keep from falling and pulled himself up. His unicycle was not so lucky.

We’re working on documenting the local trails here (with unicyclists in mind) and will hopefully post soon.


I must add that Eyal was remarkable per the terrain he could power over first try. We’re talking a super steep, thin trail littered with bowling ball sized rocks, always clanking your cranks and peddles while trying to b-line through the maze at a speed so fast that you’d dislocate your hips if your legs were moving any quicker. The fact that Eyal went Muniing the next day (Sunday) blows my mind. I had my legs packed in ice.