The path is the way

Looking east toward Albuquerque from the 98th Street end of the I-40 Trail.

Today’s ride sort of got away from me.

That fine country gentleman Sam Hillborne and I rolled north on Tramway nine-ish and it was 1 in the peeyem before we got back. Fifty miles is a long way for one of us.

I was thinking we’d roll down Tramway and under I-25 along Roy to 4th, then noodle over to the Alameda open space and thence onto the Paseo del Bosque. And so we did.

Take it to the bridge! The Gail Ryba Memorial Bridge, that is.

But at I-40 I decided on a whim to hang a right and experience the Gail Ryba Memorial Bridge, named to honor the founder of Bike ABQ and the Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico. Gail, a former Sandia Lab researcher, died of cancer in May 2010, and Friend of the Blog Khalil S. noted her passing here.

For some reason I’d never headed west on the I-40 Trail, which goes all the way to 98th, and today there was pretty much nobody out there but me. I felt like Magellan after crossing the Rio on Gail’s bridge.

There are a couple screwy multilane-thoroughfare crossings — none of your fancy-schmancy bridges there, bucko — and one poorly marked U-turn under Coors at Ouray Road, just past the Walmart. That double-left leads to a narrow stretch of trail by a storage concern that looks like a lovely place for a quiet killing.

But once past that, it’s smooth sailing. In fact, a touring cyclist westbound from, say, El Rancho Pendejo, armed with a working knowledge of the city’s bicycle trails, wouldn’t have to spend more than a dozen minutes riding on actual streets while traversing the Duke City.

Of course, once the bike path runs out by 98th, you’ve got I-40 to deal with. Weed, whites and wine, etc. Just stay willin’ … to be movin’.

The Rio, as seen from Gail’s bridge.

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10 Responses to “The path is the way”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Ah, the Sam. Did you wipe my drool off the top tube?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I was drooling on it quite a bit myself as I climbed back to the ranch. Needed a third bottle of water and some more Purina Mad Dog Chow for that ride.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Well, 50 miles is some serious riding. Plus, I suspect it was a little warm outside, especially on the climb back to the casa. It’s getting a little warm here too. Thinking the ride tomorrow needs to start just about dawn, or 15 minutes before.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Gorgeous bike.

    Yikes, that reference to my 2010 post brought back a flood of memories. Gail was wonderful. The good die young, and leave the rest of us behind to try to live up to their standards.

    What really pisses me off about Santa Fe is they have a Gail Ryba trail in this great mess of trails. Its about a quarter mile long and dead ends in a parking lot. WTF? Whoever thought of that has some explaining to do. Seems to me one of the best trails should have been renamed after her.

    I finally got my ass out of bed today and coughed, wheezed, and toodled around on the folding bike. Went over to REI and found some hardware and then mounted my Low Rider rack on the Long Haul Trucker. Looked at some forbidden fruit at The Outdoorsman of Santa Fe. Stay tuned for the pictures…

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      What class of a plague did you manage to contract? Sounds like a doozy.

      That sinusitis I was rasslin’ in May hung on like a Gila monster. I finally had to resort to docs and drugs to clear it up. I hate it when that happens.

      The bridge they named for Gail is a useful bit of business. Now if Albuquerque would only work on the east side of the I-40 Trail, which fades out around the Big Eye and never really gets its mojo back.

      Damn it, now I want a folder.

      • khal spencer Says:

        No idea but on Monday morning I started feeling woozy, extremely tired, and a lot of lung congestion. Then mid afternoon, the lower end kicked in. Feeling better today. Could have been a combination of bad allergies and bad food. Shame on me.

  3. Carl Duellman Says:

    How did ABQ end up with so many bike paths? Seems kinda progressive.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve never looked into it, Carl. But it’s really something.

      The city claims more than 400 miles of bike paths and trails, and it’s actually possible to move around town using them. They’re not just little exercise loops that lead nowhere — they’re honest-to-God routes you can use to travel from point A to B, home to work to grocery and back.

      There are a few little glitches. I was surprised early on to encounter “BIKE LANE ENDS” signs while barreling along, but these only mean that the bike lane is briefly superseded by a right-turn lane and resumes on the other side of the intersection. Some routes do end abruptly, and in unpleasant places, too, but they’re in the minority. And only recently did the city forbid parking in bike lanes.

      I should ask Bike ABQ a few questions about the history of bike infrastructure here. Maybe I can generate a little paying copy for a change.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        That would be an interesting read. Seems the local paper would be very interested in a piece about bike infrastructure and the difference it has made in the city. I would like to come back and ride more of it, including the trails we missed the last time.

  4. Herb from Michigan Says:

    All I know is when we pulled into the trail parking area at 9 am on a Saturday it was totally filled with cars. Build it and they will come. It proves that Americans will indeed recreate if only they have safe trails to do so without getting run over. At least at this point, recreation is the word as most trails are not used for commuting. But just wait until fuel prices crack $4 once the Gas Weasels put the screws to us. Stay tuned sports fans..

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