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The Playbook

They stock a variety of mountain bikes, and have a strong rental program for those interested in experiencing the raw and sprawling beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains without plunking down for bike ownership.

“If anything we started off as a full traditional bike shop and have narrowed down to an adventure shop,” says owner Chris Kelly. Speaking about the shop, he says, “It’s a cabin under 1,000 square feet with a wood stove and rocking chairs overlooking the creek.”

Chris Kelly is a soft spoken man who started giving bicycle tours around L.A. in the late ‘90s as a way to supplement his income as SAT tutor. “I was tutoring kids and working at I Martin Imports, and a friend of mine and I wanted to do something fun, so we started a touring company and it turned into a bike shop.”

He moved the shop up to Topanga because he loved the area. “It’s surrounded by mountain bike trails right out the door,” he says. “We ride every Saturday, still finding new trails. It’s amazing.”

The phrase walking the walk is applicable to Chris, who has baked his adventure lifestyle into his workweek with UnPredict Your Wednesday, an overnight group ride of which he closes the shop for.

“It was my birthday about 4-5 years ago and I didn’t have enough staff to stay open, and I wanted to take some days off,” he says. “So I took some customers up to Ojai and we went camping for a few days. We sold a bike out of it, and I realized that living life well is better.”

It’s not every Wednesday, but if you follow them on Instagram you can find out when they take place. A typical ride is anywhere between 1-10 people and in places like Big Bear, Los Padres, Catalina, and even out the backdoor of the Outpost.

“Rides vary from a couple of hours to eight,” he says. “Sometimes we go hiking. Everyone brings their own food.”

As for his favorite trail:

“In Topanga, my favorite is an Outpost loop that’s a mindless 10 mile round trip with 1,500 feet of elevation gain. There are a couple of horrible hills, and beautiful scenery - it’s the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains. No buildings - just trails, trees and very few people.”

Visit The Topanga Creek Outpost or join the weekly UnPredict Your Wednesday ride.

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