Dig it

A stretch of the Paseo del Bosque trail, south of the zoo.

A stretch of the Paseo del Bosque trail, south of the zoo.

There are times — even when my eyeballs feel sandpapered and my snout is clogged like the Paseo del Norte at rush hour — when I think I was pretty smart to let Herself take that job with the Military-Industrial Complex here in Duke City.

A recently resurfaced section of the Bear Canyon Arroyo trail, just west of Tramway.

A recently resurfaced section of the Bear Canyon Arroyo trail, just west of Tramway.

Like today, when I read in the Albuquerque Journal that Duke City just broke ground for a project to create a 50-mile bike loop around town.

About 80 percent of the “Activity Loop” trail already exists, and I’ve ridden quite a piece of it. Mostly it’s a matter of linking up and sprucing up all the various bits and pieces. Bike-ped bridges, on-demand signals, striping improvements, and what have you. The project will take years — the work is to be done in nine phases, as money becomes available — and cost about $20 million.

This sort of thing is not a panacea for problems like violent crime, trigger-happy cops, chronic long-term unemployment, and a sluggish economy. But it can help make a town a better place to live, which in the long term might help address at least a few of these issues.

I did most of my 61-mile birthday ride on separated bike path. The rest was on streets that were designated bike routes or had bike lanes. Not bad for a place where Bugs Bunny was always missing that crucial left turn.


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15 Responses to “Dig it”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Glad you like it. I was a little worried. Parts of the Duke city are not habitable unless you are in the habit of packing a high capacity clip of +P+ hollowpoints, but parts are really nice. The loop should be good.

    I managed to get sick as a dog the last couple weeks and am lighting a candle to the inventor of Cipro, but am about to head down to Fanta Se for the LAB’s Blessing of the Bikes. Cheerio, chaps…

    • Larry T. Says:

      Are there places there like in LA where you could get “bike-jacked”? We tried to get a bridge to connect some trails back in Sioux City, even having the money raised, but too many folks across that river in South Dakota seemed to fear illegal immigrants on bicycles would come over and cart their big-screen TV’s away…so they blocked the project. The bike trail they built near our shack comes in handy more than I ever believed it would.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I suspect some parts of Albuquerque would be prone to that stuff. Like around Zuni.

        There are always a few folks who think the illegals, drug dealers, and perverts will all buy bicycles and storm the castle on the bike paths. Its hilarious, but even in BombTown, we got some pushback on a new section of trail that will go out to the Airport Basin, i.e., it was too close to a townhouse development. I had to laugh, as I would want the damn thing as close as possible to my townhouse development rather than have to ride NM-502 with 5k of crazies rushing on and off the hill to work in the Bomb Factory.

        Violent crime is scarce in Los Alamos. We have not only the cops but the protective force at the National Lab (and about 27 private citizens with FFL licenses). About ten years ago some neitherworlders from elsewhere tried to mug someone walking home from a LANL facility. They didn’t even manage to get his wallet and were face down on the pavement with M-4 Bushmasters at the back of their neck, courtesy of the LANL guards, who turned them over to the police.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        There are definitely some sketchy areas served by the bike paths, lanes and routes. Plenty of them around our own lab, as I’ve discovered while scouting routes for Herself to use for commuting.

        The two that look most promising both pass the corner of Hungry and Homeless (Tramway and Central). Duke City’s latest encampment is not far away, and some of the joints with roofs on them in the vicinity look a little iffy, so if she decides to commute via bike a day or two per week, I’d be riding shotgun. I’m not exactly Chuck Norris, but I am 6 feet tall and 175 pounds, while she is not.

        Violent crime is a reality here, as it was in Bibleburg, only more so. I find it interesting that I’ve had fewer negative interaction with motorists here in six months than I did when we lived in Santa Fe. It’s not scientific, but I’m inclined to credit the extensive bike infrastructure. Cycling here is not safe — as we all know, it’s an inherently dangerous activity no matter where you live — but all the local lanes and paths seem to help reduce the likelihood of conflict.

        The argument to the contrary? Ghost bikes. Many, many of them, and some of them are where you’d least expect them — right next to a bike route, lane or path.

      • khal spencer Says:

        The Matt Trujillo Ghost Bike, which you took a pic of a while back, is a tad poignant for me. Matt was about to marry the sister of my cycling friend and LANL colleague Joe Martz. Joe was down during the trial of Matt’s killer, and passed off to me some of the details of Matt’s grisly condition following that high speed impact, when Matt was t-boned by a high speed red light runner who was, quite literally, running late for a meeting with her drug dealer.

        The roads down your way (and the state highways in Fanta Sea) are too fucking fast, too fucking wide, and populated by too fucking many boozed up, snorted up, or clueless morons. Santa Fe has been putting in trails as well, as I found out yesterday when touring the City Indifferent with Steve Clark from LAB, our own BCNM board member/urban planner Tim Rogers, and a bunch of folks from Santa Fe’s planning and transportation departments.

        It relieved me to get home to a town where it seems everyone has a clearance to protect, and getting arrested is tantamount to losing your job. It makes a difference, that fear thing…

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Interesting article. Seems the mayor has the ability to look beyond the next election. And only one naysayer comment. Our little town is adding a few more miles of multi-use path, but the federal grant money for them has dried up. The city hasn’t given up on them; it will just take longer to finish them since the state legislature balanced their budget on the back of the cities and counties. I’m thinking the Duke City is a good place for a cyclist to land, especially one who has a lot of test riding to do. You can hit a variety of surfaces and terrain without loading the bike on a rack and driving some where.

    Haven’t read the new Adventure Cyclists that has been sitting in the magazine rack for over a week. Time to get it, a Nooner Pilsner, and park my ass on the patio this afternoon for an hour or so. I am looking forward to reading the Mazama review.

    Glad you are feeling better Khal.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Pat, I need to chat up some of the local advocates, get a feel for how cycling infrastructure developed the way it did here. Khal may know some or most of the details, but I haven’t grilled him yet.

      This is a good HQ for a bike reviewer, for sure. I do initial shakedown cruises on a loop that’s an easy walk home if need be. It’s a rolling blend of suburban bike paths and lanes in the Spain-Tramway-Academy area, with occasional forays onto the Michial Emery Trail and into the Elena Gallegos Picnic Area and Bear Canyon area.

      Once I’ve worked the kinks out of a new bike there are miles and miles of bikey infrastructure to play with, from pan-flat to insanely steep.

      Something else I need to do is hook up with the New Mexico Touring Society. I’m not a joiner by nature, but I’ve chatted with a couple members before and will get the chance to do so again when Adventure Cycling has a little soiree here on the 19th at Balloon Fiesta Park. They’ve done a stellar job of documenting routes around here and lead plenty of rides, too.

  3. Sharon Says:

    Lovely path…

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