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Thousand Oaks

Great Rides: Conejo Valley’s Hidden Cycling Jewel

You may have driven by the Sapwi Bike Park dozens of times and never known it was there. Just off Avenida de Los Arboles between Westlake Blvd and Erbes Road, it is an amazing, fun, family- and kid-friendly bike park with something for anyone with an off-road bike, a helmet and a sense of adventure.

Opened in 2018, the Sapwi Bike Park was built by a group of volunteers and funded by private donations. It is a partnership between the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) and the Conejo Recreation and Parks District (CRPD). And here’s the best part: the park is free!

Pretty much anyone can enjoy it, as there are trails for everyone from beginners to professional BMX racers. Then there is me, a 64-year-old mountain bike racer who thinks big air is getting one foot off the ground.

The Pump Track is where you start at Sapwi to get a feel for this style of riding. Think of it as the beginner run. A pump track is a circuit of rollers, banked turns and other features designed for riders to use their body movements to generate momentum. Instead of pedaling or pushing, riders use a “pumping” action to maintain momentum. The pumping action involves pushing down with your arms and legs in harmony with the track features. I’m still working on getting all the way around the Pump Track without pedaling, but I love riding it because it’s a great place to work on my skills — and it’s a lot of fun.

“The Beginner Line features mellow berms, small rollers and two dirt tabletop jumps. Don’t expect to get big air because this line is all about building skills.”

The Beginner Line is waiting after you get comfortable on the Pump Track. It features mellow berms, small rollers and two dirt tabletop jumps. Don’t expect to get big air because this line is all about building skills. I do it to get ready for the Intermediate Line.

After getting comfortable with the Beginner Line, I highly recommend trying the Intermediate Line. It features wood ramp jumps, berms and dirt jumps. It’s your choice if you’re ready to catch some air! Personally, I’m too chicken.

The Advanced Line, which I admit to not having tried, is for those who love a thrill. It offers five disconnected wood ramp jumps for those comfortable leaving the ground. The Expert Line, like the Advanced Line, is for experts who love the thrill of getting big air. Again — no way am I trying it at my age.

For non-riders, amenities include a family viewing area with covered picnic tables and clean bathrooms with running water. The Sapwi Bike Park is located at 2255 N Westlake Blvd in Thousand Oaks. See sapwibikepark.com, and enjoy!

John Swanstrom is an amateur mountain bike racer, a resident of Oak Park and the founder of Cyclists Authority.


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