Orange County Wheelmen, the biggest bicycling club in the county, is primarily a road riders' group. A handful of mountain bikers, however, have also found a place there.
That niche has a name in the monthly Wheelmen newsletter: Goat Hill Corner, which lists rides and other events. Although the road cyclists have at least a half-dozen group rides to choose from each week, the pickings are a bit slimmer for mountain bikers, who stage but two or three events a month.
Most of the time, those group events are cozy ones, with participation usually running between six and 17 riders. Though road rides can accommodate big numbers, small is beautiful on back-country fire roads and trails.
The next event for the Goat Hill gang is an ideal one for newcomers to the group, said ride leader Paul Cadwell. The Saturday morning ride enters Chino Hills State Park off Carbon Canyon Road and heads up Telegraph Canyon.
"That's a really excellent beginner's ride," Cadwell said. Anyone with a mountain bike and helmet is invited to join in; Wheelmen membership is not required.
Telegraph Canyon starts off as a gradual climb on a scenic, oak-shaded fire road before getting steeper as it nears a saddle at the top of the rise. From there, several trails and fire breaks take off in different directions.
A rider in reasonably good condition can make the climb to the saddle in about 40 minutes, Cadwell said. He likes to keep the group rides loose, with flexible itineraries that allow for riders' different abilities and how far they feel like riding.
It's not necessary to reserve a spot. Cadwell requests, however, that everyone wear a helmet, bring water and carry a tool kit and spare tube for emergencies. Also, it is important to be at the rendezvous by the designated time because the riders won't wait.
Other Goat Hill rides include an Aug. 7 ramble in Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park, and a return to Chino Hills Aug. 14. And on the last Wednesday of July and August, twilight rides in Huntington Beach are planned for 6:30 p.m.
What: Mountain bike ride.
When: Saturday, July 10, at 8 a.m.
Where: Chino Hills State Park.
Whereabouts: From the Orange (57) Freeway, take Lambert Road east. Park in the dirt lot on the left about 100 yards past the entrance to Carbon Canyon Regional Park.
Where to call: (714) 529-7220.