With its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and rolling green hills, coastal Orange County is some of the most coveted land in the country. Not surprisingly, developers with insatiable appetites have every square inch in their crosshairs. So it’s quite remarkable that Laguna Beach is still surrounded by a healthy sized green belt, an area comprised of open space that’s frequented by hikers, bikers, artists, and naturalists. While not all those who use the land see eye to eye on everything, today, more than ever, they’re working together to preserve what’s left of this precious natural resource.
Bike magazine staff photographer Anthony Smith is one of those who loves mountain biking Laguna Beach’s renowned hills. And when his friend Travis Engel was sidelined by injury and slow to get back in the saddle, Smith knew just what it would take to get his wheels turning again. “We all need a little nudge at times,” says Smith. “And a place like this, where you can see ocean on one side and empty valleys on the other, that’s just the kick in the pants you need to get moving again.”