Blockade

The road isn’t exactly closed. More like not there at all.

Right-wing antivaxxer Canadian trucker nutjobs? Nope. Just another road that goes nowhere by design.

This one butts up against Sandia Pueblo land, between Balloon Fiesta Parkway and Roy Avenue, which becomes Tramway Road NE just past Interstate 25.

It would be convenient to be able to press on to Roy via San Mateo. But you know how the white man is. Give him a bike path and the next thing you know he’s grabbed the whole damn’ country.

So I roll up to the Pan American Freeway and hang an illegal left turn, riding about a quarter-mile to Roy/Tramway on the west shoulder, against traffic.

Frankly, I don’t relish doing this. It gives ammo to the haters (“Look at that douche on the bicycle riding against traffic!”). And it gives me a small jolt of The Fear, because Pan American just south of Roy/Tramway is half frontage road, half interstate on-ramp, and I don’t care to become a hood ornament on an accelerating F-350 whose driver can barely see over the hood when he’s sober.

But there’s a nice wide shoulder — full of debris from previous mishaps, natch — and anyway, it’s the cost of doing velo-business in that neighborhood. So there you have it.

The payoff is the gradual, mostly uninterrupted, half-hour climb up Tramway to the stop sign at The County Line Grill & Smokehouse. There’s just one stoplight, at the casino just east of I-25, so you can just pick a gear and roll it.

Wave at the buffalo herd as you pass. Just don’t try to roller-skate through it. Because you can’t.

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18 Responses to “Blockade”

  1. Tony Geller Says:

    Similarly it would be nice to have a connection behind the Bien Mur store to Louisiana for days when I want to get home quickly and don’t want to deal with left turn from the I25 Frontage Rd. to Alameda.

    And while I never skated through a buffalo herd, I did try to ride through a herd of cattle (several dozen at least) on a road outside of Paonia, CO. It went exactly as you might imagine.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      For sure. That’s where I shot the header image — Louisiana and Elena. What a great loop that would make. Drop down Tramway, climb back up Elena, repeat as necessary. Or reverse the loop to get mostly right turns out of it. Speed humps on Elena, though, if I remember correctly.

      Never tried riding through a herd of cattle myself. I don’t think my mad cyclocross skillz would be much help if the cow were taller than 40cm.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Was riding the NM-4 loop between White Rock and Back Gate once. Entering one of the canyons between White Rock and Ancho Canyon, I heard this loud rumble and slowed down. Just in time, too, as a whole herd of elk barreled through right in front of me. F-350’s notwithstanding, not sure what it feels like to be an ornament on an elk’s rack, either.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I saw a few herds of elk up Weirdcliffe way. The party’s over if you hit one of those in your truck. Just think about centerpunching one on the bike. Owie.

      • Herb from Michigan Says:

        Here in the Mitten State you have a 1 in 54 chance of smacking a white tail deer in your vehicle. My experience on a bike is about the same on certain trails and roads adjacent to farm fields. I’ve come way too close to t-boning deer so I have a super loud bell mounted that I use freely in certain stretches. But when one blasts out of some cover and you can hear it’s breathing as it bolts by, it’s time to wash those bike shorts.

  3. Libby Says:

    The Roger Miller ditty reminded me of the days of ‘60s radio and before FM. Pop, rock, country, Motown and soul all on the same station. Roger Miller shared the hours alongside The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, The Chiffons, The Beatles, Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, Martha Vandella, Tammy Wynette, The Four Tops, Eddy Arnold, Herb Alpert & Brasil 66, The Ventures, Frank Sinatra, The Turtles, The Strawberry Alarm Clock, Gene Pitney, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Tennessee Ernie Ford, The Four Seasons, The Monkees, Dean Martin, Dusty Springfield, The New Christy Minstrels, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Tom Jones, etc. Just a sample. I could go on and on.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It was real different, wasn’t it? On the way to the Dairy Queen outside Randolph AFB in the mid-Sixties you could hear Roger Miller’s “Dang Me” followed by the Sir Douglas Quintet’s “She’s About a Mover” leading into The Statler Brothers’ “Flowers On the Wall.” I remember a lot of Motown at the youth center (Supremes, Temptations, Four Tops). And of course Elvis was everywhere.

  4. Pat O’Brien Says:

    I have deer come up on the side of a dirt road and try to take me out. Saw hooves in front of my face one time. We have ridden with a herd of antelope on two different occasions. As long as you’re quiet, they don’t spook. We had elk cross in front of us once in Alpine Arizona within sight of a restaurant we were heading to. The folks inside told us when we walked in that they saw the whole thing. Mountain biking in the Western high country is truly special.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Road biking too. When we lived in Crusty County I was riding a stretch of Highway 96 between Brush Hollow Road and County Road 271 and saw a startled bear legging it up a steep hillside. He was a lot faster than I was, and a lot bigger, too, so I was glad he was into offroading that day.

      Here in The Duck! City foothills you have to keep your eyes peeled on road and trail. The mule deer are everywhere and as oblivious as a millennial with a smartphone. They’ll wander right out in front of you no matter what you’re driving, Steelman or Subaru.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        We should never take for granted riding through some of the most beautiful places in the country.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Even the sucky ones are a’ight. When I lived at 13th and Clayton in Denver I could roll out, take a lap around Cheesman Park to inspect the urban wildlife (plenty of it too), then head up to City Park or down to Washington Park for entirely different environments.

        Washington Park was the big exercise park Back in the Day®. The cops were writing up the bikey people for speeding, and I really wanted to get a ticket. I was gonna frame it and display it in some prominent place.

        It was somewhere around Congress Park where I saw the dude doing a no-hands trackstand at a stoplight. Now that was cool.

  5. Wideload Says:

    I met that F-350 2 1/2 years ago when he right hooked me on Comanche. Still have three physical therapists trying to piece together the broken bits and parts. Driver fled. Chased down by a woman on foot. He was 10 years into a revoked license for multiple DUI’s. Lapel cams reveal cops telling him how to beat the ticket, how to shift blame to me and then let him drive home in the utility truck. (He did beat the citation when the cop didn’t show, as he predicted and the cop’s narrative became the driver and owner’s defense) We settled a couple weeks ago for the insurance limits. Asked my attorney about going after the cops. “How much harassment do you want to deal with for years to come?” I ordered a new bike from Charlie at Two Wheel a year ago. May arrive in the next couple of weeks. I wonder how long before I can actually get on the dang thing. Shortly after the wreck and before Cycle Cave closed, I tried to get Bob to sell me a mountain bike so I could get off the road. He refused, saying I was safer dealing with traffic than boulders, cacti and slickrock. Stay safe kids

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Jesus, that’s awful. Whereabouts on Comanche? I’ve ridden it now and then if I’m in a real hurry to get somewhere, but otherwise I avoid it. Herself and I have seen the aftermaths of some truly hideous high-speed pileups at Comanche and Tramway. Also Montgomery and Tramway, Spain and Tramway, Academy and Tramway. …

      Bob may be right. When we first got here nearly eight years ago I really loved riding the trails. But since The Plague and the Great Lockdown they’re nearly as crowded as the streets, and you have fewer bailout options, though the speeds tend to be lower and F-350s mostly aren’t involved. Mostly.

      The bike paths are likewise hairy for the same reasons. Plus you have to factor in the Rise of the eBikes. Many people have acquired instant speed without learning skills or etiquette, and those things are heavy. When they hit you it’s gonna hurt.

      All this being said, I hope you can get back on the bike soon. I have plenty of residual fear and paranoia after a lifetime of close calls and occasional impacts, but I still love the activity too much to give it up entirely.

      • Wideload Says:

        I was westbound from Tramway. He passed me three times and then I him before he drilled me at Comanche and Morris. The driver acknowledged this while being interviewed by the police. They encouraged him to say that I came out of nowhere and hit him at a really high rate of speed. Oh, there is more. The cops were really on top of their name. It’s amazing what one can hear on the lapel cams with high resolution headphones. The misbehaving cop didn’t know he could be overheard on his colleagues cam.
        BTW, I passed you and Herself heading up Simms before the wreck a couple years ago. I muttered poser to you in the event that the “Old Guys . . .” represents you. I was really fat (330) Imagine a circus bear on a child’s bike. Now at 240, I’ve still got you by 50+ I believe. I’ve purchased a couple of those jerseys in the past, but I stopped. Sooner or later someone would admire it and I’d give it away

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        That’s the worst. Everybody floors it from Comanche to Morris, where the light is guaranteed to be red if you drive the speed limit or anything close to it. Although Comanche at San Pedro is pretty friggin’ bad too because nobody ever remembers that the right lane goes away just before Montgomery Park. It’s easy to get a Civic street racer up the tailpipe there.

        And Comanche between Carlisle and I-25 just plain gives me The Fear. Last time I was cycling down that way I bailed and got onto the North Diversion Channel Trail.

        Meanwhile, most of my excess weight is in the a parallel universe where nobody but me can see it. But I still have to lug it around everywhere. Something to do with string theory, or so the cat tells me. She likes string. This is why I’m inexplicably slow on the climbs.

  6. Pat O’Brien Says:

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