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Dealer Tour LA, Day 3: Escape to the Conejo Valley for LA's finest riding

Published November 13, 2015

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (BRAIN — We traded palm trees, cityscape and Hollywood stars for the scenic and suburban Conejo Valley on Thursday, the third and final day of the L.A. Dealer Tour.

Bordered by the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles proper to the east, the Simi Hills to the north, the Oxnard plain to the west and the Santa Monica Mountains to the south, communities in the Conejo Valley are peppered along the 101 freeway, which runs northwest toward Santa Barbara. The valley is split between L.A. and Ventura counties, but the communities are considered part of Greater Los Angeles.

But the valley couldn't be more different than the metro area about 30 miles to the east. L.A.'s densely populated, bustling urban environment criss-crossed by massive freeways eventually gives way to rolling hills and rocky peaks as you travel West into the suburban valley.

An economy fueled by high-tech industry makes the Conejo Valley one of the most affluent communities in the Greater Los Angeles area. With a population of just under 100,000, the valley is sparsely populated — at least by Southern California standards. And because it's surrounded by mountains and country roads, the valley is one of the most popular cycling destinations for Los Angelenos and local residents.

"We are in the heart of the riding," said Robbie Schaeffer, owner of the destination restaurant, bar and bike shop, Pedaler's Fork, in Calabasas. "We decided to open out here because the area needed great food but it also has amazing riding."

And with just a handful of bike shops serving the communities of Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park, the valley's retail landscape is also very different from L.A.'s competitive market. Retailers are optimistic that cycling will only continue to grow in the Conejo Valley, with its quality trails, wide roads, ample bike lanes and more residents with plenty of disposable income becoming interested in riding bikes.

"There aren't really any big challenges or barriers specific to this area, not that are different from what the industry faces in general. We've got a community rich in cycling and more people are discovering it all the time," said Scott Johnson, owner of Serious Cycling in Agoura Hills.

"People visiting Santa Monica will come in here to rent one of our high-end road bikes and they ride up the canyons into the mountains. They come back saying, 'I had no idea L.A. was like this.'"

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