Saturday I cycled “around the mountain”, a ride locals refer to as ATM. It’s the truest ride around. I hadn’t planned on taking photos but my slow tempo and the softening September light was conducive to seeing. The land smelled sweet from the monsoon rains and I found myself stopping to take in these landscapes on the road to Placitas, and beyond pavement’s end. In Las Huertas Canyon the water stream hummed softly as it rolled along the road.
The song on the you tube player above is from Tommy Emmanuel, called Traveling Clothes. Mai and I saw Tommy in concert at the Kimo Theater in downtown Albuquerque before we moved here. It was an incredible performance. He’s such a captivating entertainer, but when you close your eyes, the music is crystal clear with a golden melody. Like the New Mexican landscape.
Coming out into the countryside has always been an important part of weekend traditions. Americans used to ride the streetcar to city’s edge and walk from there. Then the car came along and we got hooked on driving. But more and more people are exploring with ways such as bicycling that give more balanced measure of exercise and rest, range and intimacy.
Bicycling releases me and let’s me exercise my imagination and my own mobility powers. It helps me protect the places I’m visiting. I fit right into the country landscape. This is the key to why I like doing it so much. Cycling meets at the high point of the intersection of health and transportation, joining the best of both worlds. And it provides a clear definition of my relationship to the world and fellow humans. It sets the tone of cooperation, humility, and admiration. I don’t feel apart or alienated, but alive and whole. I feel like I’m riding on the seam of the good life, experiencing mobility freedom while learning local history and geography, and traveling in a way that opens up my accessibility to outdoor education. I am always meeting new people and seeing old friends, especially on a slow ride on a slow road. Bicycling is a good sustainable travel mode that fits right in and opens up new life in this Southwestern city.