Off the rails



Roads are for the weak.

What a fella wants after too many days spent indoors with runny snoot pressed to grindstone is not the sissified hiss of skinny tires on asphalt but the crunch of gravel under roughly shod wheels.

So Thursday and Friday I broke out one of my own bikes for a change β€” Old Reliable, the Voodoo Nakisi, with 700×43 Bruce Gordon Rock n’ Road tires β€” and rode around in Palmer Park, Bear Creek East and pretty much wherever else the cars weren’t.

On my way back to the ranch on Friday I took a side trip along a stretch of lightly used railroad tracks that not long ago bisected a small city of homeless camps. The “No Trespassing” signs are up now, in part to keep the street folks away and in part to save the unwary from getting carpet-bombed by road workers rebuilding a bridge overhead.

Naturally, being the sort who views “No” as encouragement, I pressed on regardless. I survived.

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17 Responses to “Off the rails”

  1. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Isn’t it a nice thing to do? I also went on the trails yesterday. Nothing too technical, this geezer doesn’t bounce as high as he used to, and I did a little exploring. Sat with the site host at Brown Canyon Ranch for awhile and traded “once upon a time” stories with him.

  2. Arnold Stonehouse Says:

    Happy to hear you survived whatever the hell it was that took ‘aholt of ya there bro. Sounded ugly. As for the ubiquitous “no trespassing signs” I see them,(and justly so I believe) as. “Use Caution” when up on two wheels. So far no shots fired, no arrests, and I am not on the “10 most wanted”. Keep riding and stay strong bro. πŸ™‚

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Arnold, tell you what, I could do with not getting sick for a while. Hadn’t caught a bug in six-seven years, then catch two back to back. Blaugh.

      ‘Course, now it’s allergy season. A pal in Santa Fe, where the juniper pollen is already turning the trails yellow, is working his neti pot ’til it smokes. Good times.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Ah, I am also one with the good old snot pot almost every morning. It really helps my allergies, and it isn’t too messy if you do it in the shower.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    Did a nice singletrack ride on Sunday out on the east end of the mesa and down through the canyon between North and Barranca Mesas. That ride, which I can do by rolling out the door and spending a quarter mile on asphalt, is always a nice change from road biking.

    Saturday we had beer and jazz up at Pajarito Mountain Ski Lodge courtesy of the Marble Brewery in Albuquerque and the Craig Martin Experience, started by my buddy Craig Martin, whose day job is the open space and trails manager for the county. Meena took the bus up and I rode, to spare us from driving down the mountain road with elevated BAC. Plus, cranking the LHT up to the top allowed that I could claim my Victory Beer having actually earned it.

    Of course, yesterday while doing something as innocuous as feeding the dogs, I injured that damned disk again. The rest of the week will be spent being careful. Maybe.


  4. Larry T. Says:

    A fairly major road is under repair here, making us take a detour. The other day I noticed the police coming on another road so I decided to try it too. Much shorter, though with a bit of dirt surface in places. Turns out to come out in a spot I’d previously noted “Strada Privata” so when coming back I used the same route – until yesterday when someone truly made the road private – closing a huge metal gate complete with padlock! We just climbed over/through, unlike the irate motorist who yelled out “but I LIVE there!” as we rode past. She had a pretty long detour!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      When we lived up Weirdcliffe way we used to padlock the gate separating our private road from the county road come hunting season. We were disabused of our outmoded concepts regarding private property when some nimrods drove their ATV through the decorative log fencing next to the gate.

  5. TominAlbany Says:

    Goodness. I’m just dyin’ for a pointless ramble.

    I’m livin the good life of catholic guilt denial and going home and staying home to play with the kids like a ‘proper good’ dad.

    But damn, if I could just wander around on the bike for a day wouldn’t that be grand?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Put the little boogers in a Burley and fetch ’em along, Tom. A riding buddy used to do that in Santa Fe and it made him stronger than an onion-and-horseradish sammich.

      • TominAlbany Says:

        Well, the boy (7) has his own 16″ wheeled bike and won’t abide by that. He has all the long ride discipline of a sprinter too! The girl (4) is far to happy sitting around and letting me do all the work. I’m stealing her training wheels this summer!

  6. Chris Ivich Says:

    The sign said No Trespassing – the other side said nothin – that side was made for you and me.” Paraphrasing an old troubador from Oklahoma. – Chris

  7. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    We really enjoy going there; we ride there about twice a week. We can ride 5 miles of bike lane, path, and low traffic road to the trail head parking lot, the 3/4 mile of dirt road to ranch house. Then, about 6 miles of single track takes us back into our neighborhood. Trail is rocky in places, but not too bad. Got to watch the cactus in a few parts. A crash into that would involve at least a week of constant tweezing! We did a week of volunteer work on the ranch house last year just to pay back a little of what we get from it. Will do it again this year. The Empire Ranch is another place to get some good dirt road riding in, and learn some history as well, all on BLM land.

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