Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fall Biking

The biking bug has got me! Out of the blue the urge to go for a ride hits me. This morning I saw a guy on a mountain bike all decked out in his cold weather gear and I thought, "Dude, I can be doing that too.." Then the light turned green and I looked into the rearview mirror to watch the guy pedal around the corner. This biking bug has been slowly getting stronger and stronger.

In the mean time I've been told that layering works wonders in beating the cold. Wind proof gloves, and some long johns. Good grief! I just felt like I was 8 years old getting dressed for the walk to grade school. Something about that word, "long johns," makes me think about waaay back when growing up. Ha!

Okay dudes. I'm gonna get ready for the epic booger freezing bike ride. I'll post pictures soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My last ride

My last ride was a few weeks ago and man, it was awesome. The air was cool and the morning was a little dark. The wind passing my ear and silence. I wish that I could've stayed in that animated state forever.

While my biking has been cut back significantly due to the weather and safety concerns with the darker evenings, I have been spinning and running at the gym, reading my favorite biking magazines and waiting for the weather to get warmer.

I haven't forgotten about you guys.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Haven't been riding

I feel terrible. I haven't been riding my bike. Work schedule, travel, etc. Now the weather is getting cold. I need to toughen up and get going again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Interesting bike setups

Aggressive seat angle, bungie cords. Must make the bike go faster!
That would explain the burned up seat lug: heat generated speed friction.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In these darkening times

In these darkening times I find myself in need of another bike light. My morning "Mark Cavendish" sprint to the train station has become more challenging with the dark mornings (whether the fall time adjustment will help remains to be seen, literally). The only problem is that my flight deck is an already crowded place - what with bike bell, bike computer, light #1, and 2 brake/gear shifter gadegtry. Adding a light #2 will be a challenge.

So, I've been thinking of making a special mini-rack out of PVC piping and two clamps. This small contraption will be attached to the stem and, in theory, would give me additional room to mount two lights.

I'll take a picture of it once I'm done.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Message from BikeABQ

Hi everyone,

On behalf of BikeABQ I am very excited to be able to invite you to the Can You See Us NOW? bicycle ride and rally. This will be a short (4.3 mile) ride down Route 66 on Sunday September 20. The point of this ride is to gather together as many cyclists as possible to collectively ask motorists "Can You See Us NOW?" Mountain bikers, children with training wheels, triathletes, roadies, commuters, tourists... everyone who rides a bicycle can come and add their voice.

Bells, horns, whistles, signs, flags, and streamers are also all welcome at this event

We will start at 4 pm from High Desert Yoga, 4600 Copper NE at Jefferson. With an APD bicycle patrol officer escort we will cruze down Central Ave to Tiguex park. At the park there will be a short rally.

Come to the start early to sign up, beginning at 3 pm. The event is free, but there will be numbers for the first 100 people. Each of these numbers will have the name of a New Mexico cyclists who has died as a result of a crash with a motor vehicle in the past 20 years. That's right, 100 cyclists have died between 1989 and 2009 (to date). We will also be riding to remember and honor these people.

At Tiguex park we will read the names of these victim cyclists. There will also be two short speaches about how we can work together to make cycling safer for all. New Belgium Brewery's Team Wonderbike will be there and we will have some other cool give-aways too.

Questions?? e-mail me

Want to help?? Print the attachment and post it anywhere you think a cyclists eyes might see it. Recruit your friends. Post the event on your facebook page. Post the BikeABQ link or NMCycling link where people can go for more information. E-mail me and I'll find another job for you if that isn't enough!

Thanks, and see you on September 20!

Jennifer Buntz

A strange week for commuting

This week started out pretty odd.

First, Albuquerque cops hand out bicycle lights:

Free bike lights... and a warning ticket; a hug and a smack.

Then, I receive an email from The Don who said he was going to have a talk with the mysterious and powerful Mr. COG about the Rail Runner bike strap problem. I suspect The Don will make Mr. COG an offer he can't refuse:

And today, after 267 miles the rear Michelin City Tire got "nailed."
I whipped out the new tube and in no time I was back in the saddle.
I could hear my father, "Son, you always have be prepared." Thanks Dad.

It was a crazy week!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rail Runner bike straps: the saga continues

The "Bear Trap" buckle mechanism; a real pain to thread. You push down on the part with the little mini-teeth, but it opens just enough to give you a hard time.

The frayed strap end; a real challenge to properly secure your bike.

The whole contraption. Your wheel rests in the cradle and the strap loops through your rims and spokes and meets up with the Bear Trap and, in theory, it is suppose to secure your bike.

But the reality is that bike commuters don't mess with the contraption (which is designed to hold only two (yes, 2) bikes. Here we have four bikes (and we added two more at the next stop).

Bike strap abuse.

Now that you've seen the mess that is bike commuting on the Rail Runner. Imagine these bikes swaying back and forth as the train rumbles down dilapidated tracks. Usually the end bike winds-up sideways or falling down completely, blocking the door way.

Now, imagine the dozens of Rail Runner riders backed up trying to get on and off the train with this mountain of... uh... mountain bikes in the way and your bike commuter frigg'n around with the mess trying to dislodge their war pony before the door slams shut. If your bike is, say, in the back of this mess and you have to get out in a hurry at your stop, good luck. 85% chance that you're not going to make it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Santa Fe Farmer's Market

7:00 a.m and the Market is coming to life!

How can your significant other be upset with you if you bring these home?

My father becomes sad when he sees sunflowers; childhood memories that boarding school was right around the corner.

The accordion reminded me of the Tiger Lillies.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Breaking down: pannier saga continues…

So, a few posts ago I revealed my cheapness and creativity in one swoop with the purchase of a Sunlite rear rack for the Red Shark (aka: 2003 Kona Hahanna) and two strap gizmos for a total price of $30 bucks (and using my tricked out Timbuk2 messenger bag). Like all great ideas, this one ended up sucking a little more than usual.

First there was the constant frigg’n around with the straps trying to tie the bag to the rack. Then there was the wobbly bag itself; rolling this way and that way while riding. The final straw, however, was that it looked like a home made camper- in other words, pretty low budget.

So, based on my vanity and on this experience I decided to break down and buy real bike bags. Still being the low budget money grub that I am, I shopped around and came up with the Avenir Metro Pannier for $39 dollars (I still think I paid too much)

But, dang, these bags are awesome! I rode them this morning for the first time and I must say the Avenir Metro Pannier is just the right size. Not too big, not too small. However, they make the Red Shark feel like a lumbering C141 with full load and filled tanks; which is very heavy. You’re not going to put one gallon milk jugs in there (maybe if you buy two half gallon milk jugs and stand them side by side in one of the larger compartments, and on the other side three large boxes of Fruitloops. The little side, side bags are big enough for snacks, my trusty mini-hand pump, and tools. Look, you’re not going to fit a 15 inch laptop in there, so don’t try (and if you do you’ll probably be buying a new one from all the banging around and stuff when you ride to home/work … there goes that new bike you’ve been eyeing all summer long).

I can’t quiet explain the way a bike handles with panniers. You’re not leaning into curves, you’re taking your time, and you feel the added weight when pedaling. In comparison to music listening, you’re jamming to Barry Manilow instead of AC/DC. And you get the distinct feeling that people are pointing at your bags and making fun. Children are saying, “Look mommy, that man’s bicycle is going to have little baby bikes soon.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Riding to El Pinto

“Riding to El Pinto.” Sounds like a good western movie eh? Unfortunately it’s not – it was my ride last evening to a great New Mexican restaurant in Albuquerque’s not so great north-north valley for dinner with pals.

I’d never ridden in the north valley before and was looking forward to the new experience. For example, when you start noticing used syringes on the sides of roads and broken beer bottles, you know the neighborhood will get interesting. And 4th Street was interesting.

One young homeless dude without a shirt and dirty ratty jeans and no shoes and one gallon water jug (what is it with these water jugs and zombied out homeless guys? I see this combo more and more) started jumping up and down and shouting at me from across the street, “Hey man! Hey man! That’s a niiiiice Kona man! Better keep an eye on it bro!” I was actually keeping an eye on my bike computer to see how fast I was getting out of there.

I rolled by a trailer park access road and one young thug in a bombed out Dodge Neon shouted through a rolled down tinted window, “You crazy mother******!” Ah yes, to be called crazy by a local crazy was an honor - I finally made my street bones.

At El Pinto we ate, drank, and made merriment with stories and laughter. Time passed and the beer was served in too small glasses. Soon, it was dark and I gritted at the thought of my ride home through the north valley. Fortunately, I was saved by a ride home and subsequently lost my street cred; he took it:

Friday, August 14, 2009


I’ve learned I’m cheap.

Bike commuting has taught me some pretty interesting things. Last night while riding the train back home I struck up a conversation with a fellow 505 bike commuter, a real nice guy. By the end of our conversation we were both united in our cheap struggle to save money for biking gear. It was Us vs. Bike Gear Companies and Bike Shops.

Take for example glasses marketed for bicyclists at a popular online bike shop:

Performance Vector Multi-Lens Eyewear

$49.99, on sale for $29.99


Glasses at a popular online hardware store:

Not on sale for $8.88

We talked about all kinds of ways that we save money on gear. There's the safety vest he bought at a safety uniform store for less than $18 bucks. There’s the chainsaw oil by the gallon for $8.95 (a real money saver when you consider a few ounces of bicycle chain-lube costs like $8 dineros.

Look around for the savings and don't settle for the over priced stuff they sell at most bike shops... other wise you're not using your head, even if like you're a millionaire (in that case you're really, really not using your head).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Crazy path keeps me safe

I’ve been a bit concerned lately about bike vs. motorist rage in New Mexico. I read an article about an Oregon firefighter who tried to whack out a cyclist by shooting him in the head (his wife and child were also riding with him, and, presumably watched this sad situation go down). Fortunately, the bullet hit the cyclist’s helmet and mysteriously missed his head. Do you need any more reasons to wear a helmet?

At an intersection in Santa Fe I saw some geezer Santa Clause looking dude in an old beat up truck yelling at a woman cyclist in a yellow summer dress and riding what looked like a step-through city cruiser (a real threat to cranky old men, believe me). And near UNM I saw a cyclist shoot his middle finger to some young thug who, in turn, was shooting his index finger, pistol fashion (or Contador style) out his window with his left hand. Absolutely crazy!

Reading poster comments to a local news item on the hazards posed to cyclists when the state transportation department “partially paves” roads (another article here) reinforced my efforts to avoid roads when I can. And so, here's some pictures of my daily crazy commuter path that keeps me safe:


Old dirt roads:


And crazy places:

Bike paths:

But, eventually, I hit the road:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bike junkies want NMDOT to spend more of your tax $$$

The Albuquerque Journal has done it again. This time they went a head and printed another bicycle story, further inciting bicyclist and motorist rage. The story is about a fringe group of two wheeled radical fanatics called the Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico, or BCNM (A creepy version of the Hell’s Angels), who want nothing better than to stop the state transportation department from saving money by partially paving highways. These bike junkies tell us that the partial paving makes these bicyclists ride in the road nearer to cars and trucks and semi-trailers, who by the way, all drive within the speed limit and obey all traffic laws and are courteous to all on New Mexico’s roadways. Red light cameras? Don’t need them. Traffic court? Not here. Traffic patrols? No way.

For their part, the transportation department says it saves them money to partially pave roads.

But the BCNM fires back, “It's because of this kind of practice that New Mexico's ranking by League of American Bicyclists has dropped to 46th place among the fifty states." Don’t tell the Journal’s Glen Rosales this; he thinks “Albuquerque is one darn bike-friendly town.”

For their part, the normal law abiding citizen-motorists of our enchanted roadways give us additional reasoned arguments in support of the thrift transportation department. Comments to the online article read thus:
When these bicyclists start paying license fees, are required to carry insurance, and generally pay a fee equal to what the motorist pays in gasoline taxes, they can demand these improvements...not until then!
I think they need to finance the roadway in an equal fashion to the motorists (in the form a license, registration, insurance, and fees). Until that happens, I see no valid voice from this group.”

Another voice of reason puts it this way:
“I have shared the road all to often with this arrogant group of self serving creeps that think they have as much rights on the road you provide for motor vehicles, who by the way pay taxes for the use thereof.
Not all of us ride bicycles and therefore most would agree that they should pay for their own paved surface.”
So there you have it: New Mexico bicyclists don’t pay taxes, are uninsured, don’t have licenses, are arrogant creeps who should subsidize a completely different parallel transportation system in the state. Oh, and judging by the photo below, these bike junkies have a death wish riding on a partially paved road (see the abrupt end of the road? That’s what they call partial pavement.):

Who would smile and ride a bike in such a dangerous place? Bike junkies high on smoking that anti-flat green gunk in their inner-tubes, and bike junkies who free base chain oil... that’s who! What a bunch Creeps. And I'm proud to be associated with these wierdos! They are good people.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Breakfast burrito and coffee for the bike ride

I have a new camera! Now I'll be posting random photos of my days, usually bike related.

Today's photos are items that all New Mexicans know by site, smell, and most importantly, taste: The Breakfast Burrito and Coffee:

Chuck full of simple carbohydrates for that quick burst of energy you'll need sitting at your office computer, or for that break-time bike ride for some good quality coffee or lunch. The quality of the 505 burrito varies from heavenly to, well, hellish. This particular breakfast bomber was procured from Whole Foods. There's a lot of good stuff at Whole Foods. Breakfast burritos isn't one of them. The Santa Fe Whole Foods breakfast burrito is too watered down, the green chili isn't hot enough, and the clumps of potatoes are too large and too hard, and where's the eggs? The cheese?

One of the first real useful thing that my rear rack assisted me with was:


The bike rack is a great coffee holder! Coffee in Santa Fe is like coffee everywhere on the planet. This cup came from Whole Foods, too. WF coffee is good; a counter point to their breakfast burrito. The best coffee, though, comes form Ohari's:

Don't let those lightning bolts fool you; they're real. One sip and BAM! You're good for the day. I don't know, at this point, how coffee effects my bike ride except to say that I'm unusually thirsty after a cup. I just did a google search for coffee and biking in the hopes of finding information on effects of caffeine and physical exercise and discovered: Mr. Scharf's World Famous Bicycle Coffee Systems, where I further discovered:

Coffee Bicycle Bell

Despite these interesting trinkets and thoughts of how a cup of coffee functions in the cup holder when you're out of your saddle and "dancing on the peddles", I found a web site citing a study that:
So, I guess it is safe to drink your coffee or quadruple espresso but you might be a tad edgy during the morning traffic rush.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The saga of the bike bag/rack/pannier

With the New Mexico heat wave and the treacherous five mile ride up Paseo del Norte, I figured it was time to drop the messenger bag for a rear bike rack and pannier bags. Simple. Go to the bike store, pick out a rear rack and bags and, bingo! Finish.

It didn't work out quite like that, largely because I'm cheap. First, I discovered that rear racks can get expensive ($45+), add bags ($65+) and you've got some major investment going into schlepping your stuff on your bike.

First, I went to amazon.com and figured I'd purchase a bag and rack system for nearly $90. My problem was the shipping time: up to 5 days for delivery, and the price (and later... the small size):

Because I bike commute to work, I needed something sooner and something comparable in price. So, next I stopped by the REI here in town and picked out this number for $95:

The Topeak Dynapack DX. Pricey, sleek, and... too damn small. I brought this bad boy home, loaded stuff up and discovered its fatal flaws: too small, and only holds 10 lbs. And I saw this system in action on another bike and the side swinging problem was too much. So, I scrapped this plan and settled for:

The Sunlite rear rack. Holds upto 40 lbs. and only cost $24 at The Broken Spoke Bike Shop in Santa Fe, NM. And for a bag I resorted to my old and trusty timbuk2 messenger bag. I know... you're asking, "How do you mount that bag to the rear rack?" Answer: with two of these ($3 each from REI):

The result (total cost $30):

I'm happy I saved money and I'm happy I get to use what I already have. I hate unneeded consumerism- especially when you already have what you need to get the job done!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Random thoughts on the bike commute

The silent ride through quiet morning streets is punctuated by the single ring of my bike bell when the front wheel hits small holes in the road or cracks in the sidewalk, underscoring the lonely endeavor of bike commuting in Albuquerque, one random ring at a time. I’m reminded of the poetry of Robert Frost.

On my arduous afternoon ride home the intense rays of the sun rain down on me, wilting roadside signs advertising long past garage sales, fading old junk cars into ashes, and making reality dance in distant shimmers. Every afternoon I understand why ancient cultures worshiped the sun.

At a busy intersection I watch across the way a bicyclist flipping off a truck driver with his middle finger all the while pedaling through a red light. I see the truck driver throw an Arby’s drink cup at the cyclist. The light turns green and I pedal on startled by the image of their faces, gaping mouths, teeth, yelling obscenities. What is it about transportation that drives our primal urges? Perhaps the ‘control’ we feel over an inanimate object that is then suddenly transferred to another driver or rider who transgresses over our almighty control.

The 505 bike brigade

Bike commuting has given me the opportunity to meet other bike commuters. For weeks before I rode my bike to the train station I was either locked up inside my car stressing out over traffic and cussing the lame radio stations in and around Albuquerque. Now, I catch a few winks on the train ride to work, listen to the iPod, and now and then I get to chat for a little with other bike commuters about, what else… bikes and biking gear, or the commute.

There’s one fellow with a sweet Trek and awesome panniers. From this guy I learned that wax based chain lubricant in the arid southwest can break your chain or make it wear faster than normal because dirt sticks to the wax more so than oil. He provided some advice too: “Just get yourself a gallon of the Stihl Chainsaw oil an you got enough to last you a life time! That stuff works great!” I also found out where to buy a large day-glow yellow vest for way cheaper than at the bike shops: Safety Flare, Inc. on Richmond between Menual and Candelaria.

Another guy showed me how to mount steer horns on your handle bar. While I think that is a cool set up that will make you stand out in a crowd… I think I’ll wait until I have a huge white convertible Cadillac before I mount some horns on a vehicle.

There are some really cool bikes out there too! I saw $5,000 Krestel carbon fiber racing bike once, parked among the other riff –raff, mine included. When I saw this, I was in disbelief. An image of a Porsche 911 turbo parked overnight in municipal parking among broke-down Yugos and Ford Festivas came to mind. Turns out that the guy who owns the bike is pretty cool, too. Racing bikes are his specialty. Another guy has a Motobiscane mountain bike. I’ve heard about how affordable and awesome these bikes are, but I’d like to ask him how the Motobiscane is working out. Can’t though because he’s getting off the train while I’m getting on the train.

One of our ongoing conversations, besides the crazy train bike straps, is the Tour de France. Our people include Armstrong, Contador, Cavendish, and Hincapie, Leipheimer. Like excited school children we sometimes go over the day’s stage results and who made mistakes etc. I imagine we imagine our rides in the Tour de France on our way home or to work. I know... because I day dream my race for motivation.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Update: Cyclist hit by van

Note: According to Albuquerque Police Sgt. Peter Hackett if a bicyclist is in the crosswalk and there are no bicycle lanes bicyclist do not have the right of way. Conversely, if there are no bike lanes...stay out of the cross walk and you should have the right of way because, according to Sgt. Hackett, "bicyclists must operate under the same traffic rules as motorists."

******* ******** ********

Bicyclist hospitalized after accident

Updated: Wednesday, 08 Jul 2009, 12:36 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 08 Jul 2009, 8:54 AM MDT

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An Albuquerque bicyclist is in critical condition after he was hit by a van early Wednesday morning.

Police and rescue crews were called to the site of the crash at Broadway Boulevard and Menaul Boulevard NE around 6:40 a.m. Wednesday.

According to police, the van was turning from northbound Broadway to eastbound Menaul when it struck bicyclist Nicholas Lucio, 26, pinning him under the van. It's not clear which direction Lucio was heading.

Rescue crews had to lift the van using a jack and wooden blocks to get the bicyclist out and into an ambulance.

Lucio was rushed to a hospital, where he is said to be in critical condition from a head injury. Police said they're waiting for him to regain consciousness so they can ask him about the crash.

The van's driver, Martin Molina, said he didn't know he had hit the bicyclist but thought one of the van's tires had blown out, which is why he stopped about 35 feet away. Police questioned him about the crash but he was soon released.

According to investigators, it appeared Lucio was in the crosswalk, but, according to Sgt. Peter Hackett, that would not have given him the right of way because there are no bicycle lanes on either Broadway or Menaul.

Hackett said bicyclists must operate under the same traffic rules as motorists, and don't have the right-of-way in crosswalks.

Albuquerque vents as teenager fights for his life

The news this morning of a 16 year old cyclist getting hit and then dragged 50 feet by a van driver, who didn't realize he hit the cyclist and stopped because he thought he had a flat tire, was pretty upsetting. As NM bicycle commuters know all too well, Albuquerque drivers are notoriously bad drivers. Case in point: Allstate Insurances "America's Best Drivers Report." Albuquerque is ranked 76 out of 193 metro areas (in case you're wondering the worst is our nation's capitol). Another case in point: Albuquerque Drivers Blog. Don't tell this to Mr. Glen Rosales, Columnist for the Albuquerque Journal. Rosales thinks "Albuquerque is one darn bike-friendly town" (column below). Gosh-darn it!

News of the critically injured bike rider generated 46 comments at the news article webpage. Some comments were thoughtful and encouraging, and other comments typified the ages old confrontation between vehicle drivers and bicycle riders, some equally sharing in stupidity.

Concerned Citizen posts:
I am surprise we don't see more stories involving bicyclist in the news. I personally have had to slam my brakes because they do not follow the law of the road...They run stop signs, red lights, get into the lane of traffic without looking or announcing their intention.
Brutally Honest posts:
They [bicyclists] are a menance on the road to cars and a danger on sidewalks to walkers.
Cyclist-Motorists posts:
I'm TIRED of the "I didn't see him" excuse. It's not an excuse. We motorists are SUPPOSED to be WATCHING the road, our surroundings, etc. At least that's what they taught me in Driver's Education 50+ years ago...
Cyclist and Driver posts:
Cyclists are like any stereotyped group - some are considerate, follow the rules, and work hard to ride well with other traffic while some don't. Some drivers work hard to drive well with other traffic and are safe and considerate while others don't. The point is we're all people who can be safer if we look out for each other and avoid getting aggressive towards others on the road - whether we're pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, autombile or truck drivers.
WeNotMe posts in response to Concerned Citizen:
Yeah, it should be completely legal to hit and kill a bicyclist if they aren't following the law because we said so! I also should be able to shoot you if you're pissing me off.
Albuquerque is the least bike friendly town I've ever seen.
Sick of Elitist Cyclists posts:
Sure, bud. We are spending millions for your stupid hobby by widening roads, restriping roads, pointless public service announcements, etc. But it is still not enough for your ilk. Move to Portland, if this city isn't bike friendly enough.
... And so and so forth.

After reading these posts you just want to run out your front door and jump on your bike and hit the roads, no? One thing for sure, I'll see you brave souls early tomorrow morning at the Railrunner. Wear your helmets and watch out for Sick of Elitist Cyclists and WeNotMe; them dudes roll with bad Karma.


Duke City's a hotbed for cycling enthusiasts

By Glen Rosales
For the Journal
Folks around the country are slowly becoming aware of what many in the local cycling community already know: Albuquerque is one darn bike-friendly town.
With more than 400 miles of bike paths, trails and lanes — twice that of New York City — the Duke City is a crown jewel for cyclists. It recently drew the attention of a blogger for the online magazinewww.good.is. Erik Smillie listed Albuquerque among the top-10 burgeoning bike scenes in North America.
“With mountain trails in the Sandia range next door and flat roads in the city, Albuquerque has options along with its near-constant sunshine,” he wrote.
The weather is just one of myriad reasons that such bike-friendly feelings are so pervasive and why the League of American Bicyclists lists Albuquerque as the third most-friendly bicycle city in its population group, behind Portland, Ore., and Austin.
As Smillie noted, there's proximity to top-notch mountain biking trails. City routes crisscross and bisect Albuquerque, providing commuters with plenty of variety. City buses are equipped with bicycle holders. And even the Rail Runner train has the means to transport bikes.
Then there's the 16-mile Bosque Trail along the river and the new Silver bike boulevard, both of which add significantly to the positive cycling experience.
The bike boulevard along Silver was, in particular, a coup for Albuquerque cyclists, said Ben Savoca, vice president of the advocacy group BikeABQ. The boulevard travels Silver beginning at San Mateo in the east to 14th Street just west of Downtown. It then bends north to Mountain, then follows that west to connect with the Bosque Trail.
Although cars can still use the route, the speed limit has been significantly reduced and signage along the way gives cyclists the right to use the main traffic lanes, providing a relatively safe haven to ride, Savoca said.
“We're really proud of it,” he said. “It's a place where anyone can bicycle, regardless of their skill level. You don't have to worry about traffic speeding by you at 50 miles per hour.”
It's an idea that has been in the works for several years and was just recently implemented, Savoca said.
That's the way many of the current amenities cyclists enjoy began.
Stephen Williamson, a longtime Albuquerque rider, said the city has come a long way in a fairly short amount of time.
“We have some great advocacy groups here,” said Williamson, who owns and operates Active Knowledge, an organization that uses cycling and multisport adventures as a means of building character and esteem. “The city has a wonderful bicycle and pedestrian program that they're going into the schools with, teaching bike safety.”
It wasn't too long ago, however, when things were far more dangerous for a cyclist, he said.
“When I first got here, I had bottles thrown at me. I had guns and knives drawn on me,” Williamson said. “That doesn't happen too often anymore. Fifteen, 20 years ago, it was like I was an alien on the street. People would look at me as if I was crazy. I would ride the trails and be the only one out there. Now you can see 50 or 60 riders in one hour.”
Charlie Ervin, owner and operator of Two-Wheel Drive, has been part of the bike scene in the city for more than 30 years and was on the Greater Albuquerque Recreational Trails Committee in the 1990s, helping shape the city's current status.
“The ideas and things that we started discussing years ago are finally starting to happen,” he said. “It takes years for these things to finally happen.”
He traces a lot of the progress to the gas shortages that occurred in the early 1970s, and everything has finally come to fruition in the past decade or so.
“I think the city is doing a good job of finding funding and doing things with that money that really benefits the community,” Ervin said. “I think we're one lucky bunch of bike riders.”