A brief diversion

The Oscar, like the Pulitzer and Reuben, continues to elude me.

But the white man can’t keep me down. Underemployment and boredom are powerful motivators. Thus on Saturday I clamped a Shimano CM-1000 to the stem of my Nobilette and documented my first visit to the North Diversion Channel Trail this year.

The NDCT is an easy ride from El Rancho Pendejo, and it’s the trail that got me interested in Albuquerque as a winter alternative to Fountain Hills when we still lived in Bibleburg.

The Nobilette and I visited Balloon Fiesta Park back in fall 2014, shortly after we moved to town.

If February had me by the brain stem with a downhill pull I’d jump into the trusty Furster and motor on down to the Hampton Inn at Carlisle and I-25, which proved a perfect base camp for exploring the hundreds of miles of paths and trails available in the Duke City.

The hotel sits adjacent to the I-40 Trail, which feeds into the North Diversion trail a short spin to the west. The NDCT runs from the University of New Mexico on the south to Balloon Fiesta Park on the north. In between, you can connect with other trails that will take you east to the foothills or west to the Paseo del Bosque Recreation Trail, the crown jewel of the local network.

This 21-mile spin starts at El Rancho Pendejo, picks up the Tramway Recreation Trail a few blocks west, then crosses over Tramway to the Paseo de las Montañas Trail, which eventually bridges Interstate 40 and leads to Indian School Road.

A quick right-left on Washington and Cutler leads to the Hampton on the I-40 Trail and thence to the NDCT. Turning right on Bear Arroyo leads to a bridge over I-25, and from there the ride home is a blend of off-street bike path and quiet suburban streets.

Mostly I ride the road, but when I become exasperated with boneheads and leadfeet the trails are a pleasant diversion. Pun intended.


11 Responses to “A brief diversion”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    That’s so nice! I thought the Nobilette would get its day in the sun sooner or later this year. I like your friendly good morning to the pedestrians, but I was surprised not to hear an Incredibell ringing out a warning. Looks like a promising route for the Mad Dog Media Duke City Tour this spring. Especially if it was tied to the Paseo del Bosque path as a loop.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      You can hear the Nobilette’s Spurcycle bell, Pat, but you really gotta listen — I dialed the volume down a notch and applied some noise reduction in post-production to deal with an irksome rattle that I suspect comes from the camera’s USB-port door or perhaps the clip-in mount. I’ve heard this racket before and need to experiment with a couple stouter K-Edge mounts I picked up, and maybe a bit of cardboard shim.

      This is a clockwise loop. Another longer, more scenic counterclockwise route takes Tramway north, dips down under I-25, and winds over to the balloon park via the Panamerican Freeway and Balloon Fiesta Parkway.

      Then you head south on the NDCT, pick up the I-40 Trail, and head back to El Rancho Pendejo via the Paseo de las Montañas.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        I put the cheapo bell robbed from my Bianchi Spillo (replaced by an ever cheaper one) on my real road bike awhile ago – the narrow lanes on this island are easily blocked by the now ever-increasing numbers of tourists and it comes in handy, especially when there are people here speaking Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish and even Russian in addition to Italian and English. The bell’s a universal and effective way to part the throngs as we thread our way back onto the island at the end of a ride. The little dinger might be worn out by the time I leave here in May so I might have to bring one of the high-dollar ones over next time?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        The challenge for a bell-ringer here is to cut through (a) the wind noise and (2) the earbuds. Quasimodo would have a hard time getting attention under these circumstances.

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          The folks I’m trying to get around are tourists rather than those “power-walkers” or general boobs with some sort of music blasting into their ear canals, so the bell is very effective in a universal and friendly way.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I had forgotten about the Spurcycle Bell. It is a work of industrial art. I need one. Would you please tell Sandy I want one for my birthday?

    • JD Dallager Says:

      Pat: I too use the Incredibell on my MTB and have been getting friendly, cordial “rave reviews” from those I meet on the trails.

      That said, PO’G is spot on about the earbuds, wind noise, et al making it tough to “reach out” to many on the trail without having to whistle or yell.

  2. John A Levy Says:

    For this tempting bit of spring. You should be shot repeatedly. Great ride. For those of us near the Canadian border, who have not seen bare ground in approaching 90 days, this ride looks fantastic. Envy Envy!!!!!

  3. Joby Says:

    Nice ride, some of those segments I have ridden back during my stay in the Duke city some 30 years ago. Sorta wish I was going to Albuquerque and not Farmington next week.

  4. Shawn in the Gorge Says:

    Cool video. I really appreciate bike / pedestrian trails around communities. As you say, they are great opportunities to get away from the cars on those challenging winter days. I have a 10 mile out and back “Google” trail that I take advantage of day and sometimes late on full moon nights or freshly fallen snow days… Oooo, powder riding…. I recall a number of years ago benefiting from the lengthy bike trails that exist in Bakersfield, CA. When the wintertime inversion set in and depression was looming, I could always go out for a ride in the fog on those trails….

    I was noting that as you turned left onto Cutler that you clipped the center yellow line…. I hate it when people (mostly cars) do that. Real race drivers hit the apex late, they don’t cut the corner too early….

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m always in a big hurry to get through that section, Shawn. There’s a ghost bike at Washington and Indian School (Khal knows the victim). Also, there’s a shooting range and Human Services Department on the left side of Cutler, and I don’t want to get caught in the crossfire as the Takers and Second Amendment types draw down on each other.

      The nice thing about these Duke City bike trails is that you can actually use them to get somewhere. They’re good for transportation, not just recreation.

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