One thing we enjoyed most about Albuquerque was the excellent cycling infrastructure. There were a few challenging spots, like when designated bike lanes would disappear right at busy interchanges (an occurrence not unique to Albuquerque); but generally, the numerous bike lanes and paths were ideal for riding around the city. And of course the scenery was gorgeous with the Sandia Mountains to the east of town. We had our mountain bikes with us and rode most days during the week we were in town.
There was a long, steady climb to get back to the west Albuquerque neighborhood where we were staying from the lower land around the Rio Grande, which bisects the city. This certainly whipped me into shape after doing it several times!
We quickly discovered that we were able to ride to a nearby grocery store, a nice convenience. We liked the name! We'd never seen this chain before back in the eastern US. We bought fruit and some excellent whole-grain bakery bread here -- and Sol beer, Barry's favorite!
Our rental "casita" was on the western side of the city, adjacent to the Petroglyph National Monument. We rode over there though didn't walk around this time since we'd hiked there and seen the petroglyphs on our 2006 trip to the southwest. Still, it was fun to re-visit.
Barry figured out a route to the Road Runner commuter train station using roads and bike paths. We were planning on riding our bikes to the station and catching the train to Santa Fe to ride a rail-trail there. So we did a trial run ahead of time to check out and time the route. (More in a later post about how the actual adventure went!) In the meantime, here are a few photos from the trial run. Round-trip mileage from our rental was 16 miles.
The highlight of Albuquerque riding, seen in the two photos immediately above, was the Paseo del Bosque, which runs along the Rio Grande among the cottonwoods. Flat and fast, this trail was a blast to ride and a green oasis in the middle of a busy and city that is mostly decorated in shades of tan and brown.
The Paseo is sixteen miles long and requires no road crossings, a rarity among multi-use trails. We rode portions of it a couple of different days, and Barry rode the entire trail on our last day in Albuquerque. Here are photos from this ride.
After our Paseo ride on our last night in the city, we celebrated our week with an excellent meal at the Range Cafe, recommended by a friend of mine with family in the city. It's a funky, retro diner-style cafe with excellent homemade eats and a nice selection of beers. Probably our favorite meal of the week. And the desserts were killer! Just go there if you are in the city -- you will not be disappointed.
The only downside of biking in Albuquerque was something we had never encountered before, living east of the Mississippi -- goatheads! These evil little critters are like sandspurs on steroids, and, much to our surprise, we encountered them even on the paved paths.
Although I was the only one who got a flat tire because of them, Barry picked numerous goatheads out of our tires -- these would have caused flats if not removed promptly. We ended up running around to a couple of bike shops to purchase tire liners to protect from their sharp intrusions. Unfortunately, I managed to get another flat even with the tire liners. The silver lining in that was a guarantee from the company (Stop Flats). If you flatted while using their product, they'd send you new tire liners and a new tube if you sent back the old ones. I did this after our trip, and they did make good on the guarantee. Gotta appreciate a company that stands behind its product.
Barry was a real trooper, changing our tires numerous times to repair flats and install the liners, but I know he was getting tired of it -- we almost never get flats in our normal biking areas. Other than that, we sure had fun riding in Albuquerque and would do it again, goatheads and all!
Stay tuned for more from New Mexico. Next up is beautiful Santa Fe!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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