I dig city and country riding. Everyday errands and jaunts along the ocean, on chaparral fire roads, and on paths come alive on a bike. Mountain biking became huge while I was in college, and I lost many nights sleep over the $250 I would drop on a GT mtb in 1992 – I don’t remember the model. But that was my ride in college.
San Clemente Canyon, which runs East-West from La Jolla to Miramar, was my singletrack fix back then. Its about 12 miles from home, and has some bumps, river rocks, creek crossings, and some nice descents. I finally took the Rawland out for an afternoon and both enjoyed myself, and woke up the next morning with unexpected soreness. Maybe some poison oak, too.
We might not have a forest in the middle of the city, and our native trees aren’t very tall anyway, but we do have a wonderful network of canyons running right through the heart of the city. The canyons are filled with wildlife and chaparral, and a bike ride or a hike can evoke the feeling of separation from urbanity, even as the freeway noise interrupts such thoughts.