Hey. I havent posted on these forums for such a long time. I have been riding, mostly commuting (about 25 r/t these days) for many years now, but have been thinking of getting in more riding outside of commuting. Ideally I'd like to do cross riding to enjoy some offroad, but also feel good on pavement. I am not super competetive, but a race or two in the Fall sounds good. Why not? The whole cross scene makes me wish I still lived in Portland!

But I have a few newb questions-

One, where is a good place to ride in Los Angeles? I live at the foot of Griffith Park, so I might poke around there for some quasi-legal dirt paths. Any other ideas?

Two, Looking for a bike. I would like to spend no more than $1000. Maybe find something used for significantly less. Also would prefer steel to aluminum - really didnt like the feel of the last alu bike I had. I've narrowed it down to three-

Surly Crosscheck
Jamis Nova
Bianchi Volpe

Is there anything else I should look for? Any of these preferrable over the others?

I hope to check out the clinics they hold in the Fall/Winter too. Cheers.