Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

The path is the way

June 19, 2018

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.

Forward, into the past (part 1,672,078 in a series)

June 18, 2018

The road to the clouds. OK, so it’s the road to the tram. But the tram is the road to the clouds, so there, smartypants.

How pleasant to enjoy a respite from summer before its official arrival.

The rain ushered in a brief spell of cooler temps, and I actually considered wearing knee and arm warmers for yesterday’s ride. But the sun eventually came out, and stayed out, so I troweled on some sunscreen instead and got after it.

The Eurocross lacks handlebar tape, but otherwise it’s all set for 1990.

What was intended as a short spin wound up taking a couple hours, and afterward Herself and I slouched on the back patio with refreshing beverages, helping the cats watch the birds.

On Saturday, while it was still raining, I continued my time travels, chucking my favorite Steelman Eurocross into the Wayback Machine for a journey to the era when aero levers and bar-end shifters ruled Velo-earth. That Shimano 600 STI was just too dern modern for me.

While I was about it I added a new, wider bar, a 44cm Soma Highway One, which has less reach and drop than the old 42cm Cinelli Eubios. The Cinelli may be as old as the bike, which says something about Cinelli quality, the luck I was pushing, or perhaps both.

Oh, deer

June 9, 2018

Miss Mia Sopaipilla thinks a little fresh venison would enhance the daily bowl of dry cat food. | Photo: Herself

Eight o’clock, 70 degrees. Summer may not officially start until June 21, but it feels pretty damn’ summery right now.

The drought is driving famished mule deer down from the foothills and into people’s yards, including ours. The rose bushes provide tasty morsels, as do the lilacs. Looks like they’ve been after the pears as well. And the cinderblock wall is taking something of a beating from the JV hurdlers.

This one was scrawny but a good leaper. Cleared the wall in a single bound.

After the deluge

June 4, 2018

That pleasant little soaking we got yesterday soothed a scorched patch of grass in the back yard.

Herb swung by El Rancho Pendejo for a nosh and a nip after his museum-inspection tour of Fanta Se and asked if it had rained here.

Yup. Like a mad bastard, too, probably for a good 20 minutes.

But you’d never know it, because the sun came right back out, and there was nary a puddle to be seen.

This Chihuahuan Desert country drinks like a clerk-typist telling fake war stories at a VFW bar. And we’re a thousand feet above the Rio, so the parched earth just swallows and pisses and swallows and pisses and hollers “More! More! More!”

Thus yesterday’s downpour was already coursing through the Rio before we could say, “Hmm, smells like rain.”

“One never knows during a fine dinner when a bike ride will break out. Always Be Ready.”
Photo and caption by Herb C., who, like Herself, takes notice when a bicycle is parked where it shouldn’t oughta be.

Still, we’ll take whatever moisture comes our way. It must have been particularly welcome up north, where crews are still battling the 36,000-acre Ute Park fire.

Today we’re right back to hot and sunny, which is a good thing. For me, anyway. Those bicycles aren’t gonna review themselves.

La Ruta Reducido

June 3, 2018

From left: Pat O’B, Your Humble Narrator and Khalil S. “The boys regret their apparel selection as they begin their prison sentences. It seems they will be targeted by the harder criminals.” | Photo and caption by Herb C.

La Ruta del Rancho Pendejo 2018 is receding in the helmet mirror, the weather gods having decreed that stage two would not proceed as scheduled.

Stage one, a pan-flat, 33-mile out-and-back on the Paseo del Bosque, went off without a hitch, unless you count hunting parking spaces at the Alameda trailhead. Hijo, madre, etc. It was like looking for honesty in DeeCee. I usually bicycle down to the bosque trail, so this was a new experience for me, and I devised my very own parking space, where I imagine no one had parked before.

With the heavy machinery docked, properly and otherwise, Pat O’B., Herb C., Khalil S. and I set sail with a few hundred thousand of our closest friends (save for you, dear readers) for what I and the weatherperson anticipated would be a hideously hot, wind-scoured ride. Not so much. It turned out right nice. Even our handlebar bells were in sync, pealing out nuggets of harmony as we overtook our brethren and sistren in heavy traffic.

From left: Pat O’B, Your Humble Narrator and Herb C. The South Diversion Channel Trail, says the city’s description of the bosque tour, “provides impressive views of an industrial portion of Albuquerque,” if you happen to be feeling industrious. | Photo by Khalil S.

For some reason I never remember to unlimber the camera on these deals, mostly being preoccupied with bullshittery, so we have no “pro” images of the four of us from the Canon PowerShot S110 and its convenient timer for hands-free photography.

Happily, Khal and Herb weren’t shy about pulling out their phones for a few snaps, so we have proof that we were on the bikes and not barstools. At these precise moments, anyway.

Afterward we lunched at Casa de Benavidez on 4th, and then I sped off to the Duke City airport to fetch Herself home from a jaunt to Colorado while the lads amused themselves elsewhere.

I had planned to snap a few candids of the crew on today’s mountain-bike ride, especially if anyone wound up plucking cactus thorns from their bibs, but the planet had other ideas.

Between fires, high winds, and impending heavy rain and/or hail, we agreed to employ the better part of valor, which is to say “discretion.”

At long last, rain. My fault: I washed and lubed the bicycle I intended to ride today.

We might have been able to pull off a quick hour on the trails — by noon, the gods had huffed and puffed to no particular effect — but there ain’t many places to hide in the upper reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert when they finally start tossing the icewater and electricity around and about.

So Pat scurried off home to Sierra Vista, Khal remained in Fanta Se, and Herb headed north to inspect The Arts so that he might tell the wife he’d done something of merit over the weekend. Me? I caught up on news and chores. The party never stops.

Next year we might shift the Ruta north to Khal’s neighborhood. There’s plenty of cycling to be done in our old hometown, lots of top-shelf grub, and The Arts aplenty in case any of yis tilt in that direction.

Finally, thanks to Pat, Khal and Herb for joining me, and another round of happy-birthday wishes to Pat, who celebrated his 69th with us.

 

 

Another beautiful bus lane

May 30, 2018

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers never went electric, but they sure as shit knew their buses. Freak Bros. © forever by Gilbert Shelton

Mired in what could only be termed a Central Avenue clusterfuck as I took the scenic route home from the airport this afternoon, gazing longingly at the bus lanes unoccupied by electric buses, or anything else, and at one point being passed by a kid nonchalantly kicking a skateboard, I found my spirits lifted considerably when KUNM-FM played “Bike Lane” by Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks.

Naturally, the lyrics rearranged themselves in my head thusly: “Another beautiful bus lane … another beautiful bus lane. …”

Hot time in the old town

May 30, 2018

New Mexico must have a patent on these cloud formations. And if it doesn’t, it should.

Looks like the inaugural Ruta del Rancho Pendejo will be a warm one, with highs in the 90s and 80s, though there’s a chance of afternoon showers on Sunday.

The very latest in fluid acquisition and retention technology.

This last we will believe when we see it.

Never fear, however. Your Humble Narrator, with an assist from Adventure Cyclist editor-in-chief Alex Strickland, has acquired a number of advanced hydration-delivery devices for distribution to all participants.

We regret to announce, however, that Roseanne Barr will not be joining us for the weekend’s activities. She’s apparently decided to take a fresh direction. Some sort of gravity deal.

And it seems to be quite the show. I haven’t seen anyone go downhill that fast since Missy Giove was shredding the gnar.

Sun day

May 27, 2018

Blue skies this morning.

Same shot, different day. I could still catch a whiff of the Buzzard Fire, now scorching 15,313 acres (h/t Pat O’B), but it seemed the winds were taking the bulk of the smoke elsewhere.

I was making my own smoke here yesterday, firing up the Char-Broil gas grill for the first time this season. Steak and taters and salad, oh my. Oh, boy, hey, hey, it’s a national holiday.

But Mad Dog and his band of jerks aren’t lighting off the fireworks. It’s enough of a thrill just to grill.

 

Fire on the mountain

May 26, 2018

The view from below the tram.

When I sallied forth for the day’s ride I saw smoke and assumed that some asshat had been careless in my vicinity.

Nope.

A local TV station says that the haze bellied up to the base of the Sandias is from the Buzzard Fire, a 12,400-acre blaze in the Gila National Forest.

This doesn’t mean that asshats have not been careless in my vicinity. After observing the smoke I started noticing the cigarette butts scattered along the shoulder of Tramway Boulevard. I thought I’d count them but it proved impossible. It seemed more important in the short term to focus on the asshats trying to kill me with their cars.

A hard rain

May 22, 2018

The clouds over the Sandias look to be answering the bell for round two.

It rained and hailed like a mad bastard for a spell yesterday, the first moisture to make landfall here in the better part of quite some time. Fifty-four days, to be precise.

The trees lost a few leaves, and the Duke City lost at least one resident, who got swept to the next world via the North Diversion Channel. Firefighters rescued five other folks from various places they shouldn’t have oughta been. Water don’t play, yo.

We might get some more today, and we might not. Regardless, don’t expect to see me loading up the woody with my board inside, heading out and singing my song. I have other, drier diversions in mind.