Monthly Archives: February 2016

Thank You for Bicycling Corrales

How…do they expect a man to ride a horse in this country?  said Rawlins.
They don’t, said John Grady.  –Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Corrales Thanks You

Corrales zone

bike

Corrales bike zone

I crossed the river on the old Alameda bridge, which is now solely reserved for bicyclists, pedestrians and horses.  You can get to it from the Bosque Multiuse Trail.  On the western bank of the Río Grande you roll on into Corrales and a web of country roads.  The roads run parallel to the rectilinear irrigated farm plots.  A few roads follow acequias on the same axis as the river tracing the land’s subtle contours.  There are still open fields intact and wineries and small plots with livestock.  The suburbanized dwellings have adopted a spacious and sandy desert feel for the most part.  Llamas look at you still chewing from their grazing and horses of chestnut and all color coats are populous.  Road runners skitter on the loamy road shoulders and people walking their dogs smile and wave at you.  Corrales is a nice variety of place and part of the local flavor of mid central New Mexico bicycling.  It reminds me a lot of Santa Fe as the roads were laid out long before motorcars.  The land feels close up and timeless.  It is a landscape made at human scale, not industrial machine scale.  Bikes work well in this village environment.

Corrales pines

Corrales in the zone

corrales church and bike

more posts on Corrales and rides that go through there:
Stevie’s Happy Bikes: Total Awesomeness
Jemez Dam Ride
Cowboy Dreams in Corrales New Mexico

Loving Land from the City

“This is our world, where our health is woven together with biotic communities in a shared environment, and it is so clearly evident at Tahoe.”
–Peter Goin, Using Lake Tahoe photographs to blend art and science, UNR Nevada Today news

Living in the American West makes noticing the unique characteristics of place inescapable.  There are usually mountains rimming town and in most places piercing sun and deep blue sky.  The air is dry and water is rare and valuable.  In Phoenix, Arizona there is a bicycle club with a long tradition of sewing together people’s health with the lay of the Sonoran Desert lands.  They’re putting on a great race next weekend called the Valley of the Sun (VOS) stage race.

It is amazing how deep racing goes.  Included in the festivities is a Hand Cycling race.  “VOS has  been chosen by the United States Olympic Committee, U.S. Paralympics Cycling as one of six events in the US to complete a U.S. Paralympics Cycling Series. The goal of this series is to provide public awareness of health benefits and sport opportunities for those with spinal cord injury.”  VOS also has a kids bike race, rodeo, and safety clinic.  More information here:

Kids Bike Race, Rodeo, and Safety Clinic
Hand Cycle Race and Learn to Ride Clinic
All the events can be viewed at wmrc.org/

Every year volunteers from the White Mtn. Road Club put on the VOS series and it draws racers and spectators from all over the country.  The level of community involvement and deep knowledge of the growth of bicycling in the Phoenix metro region in that organization is phenomenal.  I was a fortunate enough to be a member for a couple of years and now I stay interlinked through strong bonds even from 500 miles away.  Bicycling makes one big family.

The White Mountain Road Club is my bike org of the month for January 2016.  Thanks for the work that you do!
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Here are a few photos from rides in the Sandia and Manzano ranges this weekend.  The strong El Niño is ebbing for now and the sun is out and the high country is becoming more accessible.  I start and end all my ABQ rides from home.   I am looking forward to the season.

rock cut

woven road S14

Bighorn

S14 tree

double pine on Sandia Road

Bike Friendly City

I don’t know if you follow Stephen Clark on Twitter, but you should.  Stephen used to be the bicycle coordinator for Boulder, Colorado, and now he leads the Bicycle Friendly Community program at the League of American Bicyclists.  Stephen visited ABQ last April.  He shared this story via Twitter on Minneapolis’s ascent to bicycle friendly Gold Status.
How Frozen Minneapolis Became a Biking Mecca

SVEDC mural time

I don’t think there’s any one formula for bicycling success in a city, and it has to be an ongoing and authentic process.  But there were a couple key factors in Minneapolis that sparked the journey.  The elected leadership began advocating for bicycling improvements, working with community-based organizations including the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition.  Then they earned a 25 million stimulus to support new biking and walking infrastructure that tied the active transportation networks in with their “long-standing heritage of parks, trails and outdoor recreation.”  They started downtown and connected neighborhoods working in sections.  Ridership kept growing and the city’s identity coalesced around bicycling and walking.

Bear Canyon trail

In Albuquerque we have a competitive advantage with our geography.  Even if you’re into snow bikes, just go higher.  Minneapolis has “four full-time city planners dedicated to pedestrian and biking matters”.  That focus, networked with a broad alliance of supporters, committed leadership, dedicated funding, and a creative spirit, weaves together all of the community-wide assets, most importantly by nourishing social connectedness between land and people.

Trek on top

Albuquerque is a great city for bicycling.  I feel very lucky to be here.  Bicycling dovetails into everything else we’re doing from addressing climate change to creating inclusive growth with economic innovation.  From caring for human health and well being, to energy efficiency and wise land use.  Moving bicycling forward is an affordable solution, and quite fun.

References:
Here’s the article on Minneapolis:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/01/16/frozen-minneapolis-became-biking-mecca/78920880/
Photos: 1 the mural at the South Valley Economic Development Center.  2 Commute home today on the Bear Canyon Arroyo trail just west of Wyoming Blvd.  (fresh snow on the mountains is so pretty).  3  Sunday on top of the Sandia Crest looking South, what a high.
Federal Resources are available, read more here:  http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/livability/newsletter/january_2016/index.cfm

Riding for Nathan

Last Saturday Nathan Barkocy’s family, friends, teammates and the community gathered for a bicycle ride on the Bosque Trail.   We rode together to rally for his full recovery.  Nathan was injured just over a week ago when a motor vehicle collided into him.  Nathan is struggling for his life.  The Albuquerque Journal published this news story on the collision and Nathan’s life.

Ride for Nathan long train

Ride for Nathan pacelining

Ride for Nathan bike train

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the ride I moved up along the left side of the group.  I wasn’t sure why as I’m usually content to sit at the back of a group.  I guess I wanted to get a sense of who was on the ride and visit with various people.  There was a place next to one rider and I pulled alongside.  It was Earl.

Ride for Nathan Mr. Gage

Ride for Nathan Earl

I like riding with Earl.  We talked and caught up and worked together to safely pass pedestrians and slower riders.  We glided in each other’s slipstream to close gaps.  What a naturally gifted rider.  We shared stories of how we fell into bicycling.  How it fit us.  It just clicked.  The world speaks in whispers.  We marveled at the excitement and joy bicycling funnels into our lives.

Ride for Nathan all together

Ride for nathan big group

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention about 500,000 injuries per year are caused by distracted driving of motor vehicles in the United States.  Every day about 10 people are killed and over 1000 people are injured by distracted drivers.   There are three main types of distraction.  Visual: taking your eyes off the road.  Manual: taking your hands off the wheel. and Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.  Every road user is at risk from distracted driving.

Ride for Nathan the card

Ride for Nathan flag

Nathan’s team did a wonderful job organizing the event.  They had a huge card we all signed and we mixed afterwards and talked.  In this country and world we can’t afford the price on human life and dignity to have random and senseless violence happening to free souls pursuing health and happiness and working toward their dreams.  This problem is worth paying attention to and preventing.  We must band together as a community of drivers and change our driving behaviors so driving responsibly is the norm, and nothing less is accepted.  With power comes more responsibility.  Exercising a responsible freedom gives everyone a chance to thrive.

Resources:
Nathan’s team:  https://www.facebook.com/juinorcyclingteam/?fref=ts
Nathan’s caringbridge site:  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/nathanbarkocy
CDC resources on distracted driving:  http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/
The USDOT’s distracted driving page:  http://www.distraction.gov/
The NHTSA site on driving safely:  http://www.nhtsa.gov/Driving+Safety
USDOT’s bike-ped safety initiative:  https://www.transportation.gov/safer-people-safer-streets
Context Sensitive Driving https://bikeyogiblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/learning-from-trails/

Ten Thousand Cranes

Under the last full moon we visited Crane country along the river lands south of Albuquerque.  The cell phone I use for pictures serves me well most of the time, but for this post  I am adding a few photos with better resolution from SBI’s partner Sansai Studio.  The large birds in these photos are mostly either Sandhill Cranes or Snow Geese.

Sandhills in sky

Snow geese arc

Sandhills in field

It shifts your orientation to the world when you see the pattern of bird migrations.  Rivers such as the Río Grande are important flyways.  Past Belen any semblance of towns vanishes and the river forest, fields and pastures, mesas, mountains and dome of sky come to the forefront.

snow geese arcing

Snow geese go to bed

The Cranes jostled and called in the corn fields.  When they took off and flew overhead we could hear the whoosh from the air compressing under their beating wings.  Their feathers like fingers articulating their glide.  Flying in formation one bird may pause for a stroke and it sinks noticeably several inches before being buoyed in the invisible slipstream of the leading Cranes.  Efficient midflight rest.  Flocks were flying overhead at all depths shaping out the sky, their movements directed by an intelligence we may not know but are able to recognize.

snowgeese beat

Sandhills over mountains

Kids play

I get a sense of appreciation from our pilgrimages to this great bird habitat.  Gratitude for the irreducible living earth.  Without it there is no us.  Sharing the world, looking around at the couples, families, and kids playing in this atmosphere is heartening.  A place for all life’s variety.

special lighting

Six foot wingspan

Snow geese above

It is a life changing experience observing so many Cranes.  The true reality of the world shows.  Squadrons of life flying soundlessly higher than the tallest building guided by keen bird insight.

Sandhills flying

moonrise over shoulder

When it began to get dark the birds suddenly rose from the fields where they were feeding, all as one.  Waves of energy taken to the air, pulsating wings lifting them off into the night.  They roost in the river and ponds in their secret places.  I wonder how it feels to be a Crane.

faint shadows and stellar light

Cranes will save you

Being outside brings on surprises.  The play of light on land and water.  The healing power of nature.  The fabric of life and all the unexpected wonders that make the world whole and alive.

Full Moon up ove Manzanos

Sandhills