soundtrack: Antonella’s Birthday
During the winter time the ride north to Algodones with a turn east up to Placitas is a fun one and very popular. Sometimes bicyclists finish it off with a trip up Tramway and La Luz. On Sunday after two days off the bike watching the snow fall and then melt I headed on this northern training circuit and saw a lot of friendly cyclists out. Here’s a map of my ride.
Placitas is famous for its views, art life, open air and wildlife. There’s a labyrinth of residential roads to explore but the main road, Hwy 165, is the most popular for bicycling because of its continuous flow, steady climb, smooth pavement and during the summer time, access to the forest road that connects to the Sandia Crest road. Every place I ride I wonder what it would be like to live there and experience full days and seasons. Placitas is an attractive area.
If you lived way out in rural Placitas you could end up spending a lot of time in a car. Or you could live in Placitas and commute by bike to the Rail Runner station in Bernalillo and park your bike in a bike locker at the station, or take it with you on the train to help you get to your final destination. Or just ride your bike all the way. I am happy living in ABQ close to everything I need. It’s efficient and quite a pretty high desert city with huge vistas stretching from the Sandias to beyond the open western mesa and up and down the river valley which threads us together. Plus in the ABQ metro area you can ride in any direction and get out into the countryside. I enjoy the geographic contrasts and transitions. Propinquity to people and culture in the denser city is important to me. The nearness to the countryside, cultural breadth, and sense of being enfolded by diverse landscape are treasures. The more I bicycle here the more it feels like a world heritage place, balanced, unique, distguished.
New greens were showing as the snow ebbed on the northern ridgelines and at the edges of the fields. March is transition season. I spotted cranes in these fields into February but a new season is upon us. This scene reminds me of riding the Shinkansen in Japan to Tokyo and seeing the leaves of green tea fields unfolding in front of the snow covered giant Mt. Fuji. New Mexico and Japan both have startling combinations of white green blue tri tone color bands in their enchanting landscapes. The Amtrak and Rail Runner trains whipped by me while I was riding Hwy 313. Western history is intertwined with the people and market connections that followed the first transcontinental rail line in 1869. It is mind boggling to think how the relative importance of trains has changed through time though they are still more important than we often think, hauling much of our oil from the production zones to the refineries and for distribution, as they do for many goods. Perhaps we’ll see a passenger rail investment that brings us back to the forefront in the development and innovation with this technology.
The clouds that had been around for the last few days peeled off of the Sandias to reveal a stunning scene. The snow was melting quickly on the ground and the pavement was wet. Water pooled and was running by gravity washing the streets clean. The sun beams touching the snow made it liquid again and when it wasn’t tumbling down the arroyos or soaking deeper into the soils it evaporated back into the sky ocean.
These horses were galloping across the field before they stopped to chomp grass. I think they feel the Spring renewal coming as they absorb strength from the land. And their spirit seems responsive to the lifting of the weather, just like all the cyclists back out today galloping around. I saw a couple riders sprinting for a road sign up on Tramway towards the end of my ride. We all sense the fabric of Spring time curving round.