Today’s ride went longer than expected. I wanted to do something new and Sensei Drew had told me about this great ride to San Ysidro that Kent Bostick’s group used to do from his Corrales perch. It was a gorgeous sunny day with temperatures not reaching much above 50.
It was a new route for me going through Rio Rancho and it was intimidating being on 528 with fast traffic and sometimes five lanes in my direction! But the engineers either had a bike lane or a big shoulder (with bike symbol stenciled signs). The hardest part is getting through intersections and navigating the straight path through while negotiating with right turning traffic. The merge zone, where the bike lane is dotted, is an incredibly vulnerable place for bicyclists. I always do shoulder checks to be sure I’m synchronizing well with traffic.
Highway 550 has a smooth shoulder with rumble strips separating it from the travel lanes. The speed limit is 70mph once you clear Rio Rancho so good thing the shoulder is nice and wide. The only complaint I had was the diesel traffic fumes from the heavy trucks and domestic pick ups. It kind of reminds me of when I went to truck driving school and walked into the classroom and smelled the heavy soot that was hovering about the yard from the idling trucks that had drifted in the door with us. Would love to see diesels retro fit with particulate filters. The American Lung Society would too. That we haul “energy star” products around and build LEED certified buildings with dirty heavy equipment signals we are in a transition phase to truly clean.
Once clear of Rio Rancho, which has to be the least dense and most sprawling of cities anywhere, you pass a series of small Pueblos, the Santa Ana Pueblo, the Zia Pueblo, the Jemez Pueblo. The views are wide open and country magnificent. People very friendly. I can’t believe how many smiles come across faces here when people greet each other or are just passing by.