Category Archives: Albuquerque Bike Culture

ABQ by Bike with Strava, Camera, Notepad

Albuquerque has an elegant symmetry to it and you can sense this on a bicycle.  The Sandia Mountains and Rio Grande and West Mesa are all in consonance with each other.  Today I rode out onto the West Mesa.  I have never seen it so green.

West Mesa greenery

West Mesa Atrisco Vista behind the volcanoes

Tramway July 15 2015 shoulders

Around Christmas I started tracking my rides on a free program called Strava.  Looking at the cool maps and training logs Strava creates, I’ve noticed certain habits.  I trend toward staple rides.  For instance, I like the Sandia Crest, which is the best ride available.  I like La Luz, South 14, Gutierrez Canyon, the Bosque Trail.  But today I wanted to do something different and I was feeling satisfied having spent ample time recently on all my favorite routes.  So I did something new and headed through the southwest quadrant out to the West Mesa.

bike in coffee mi amigo

bike in coffee July 15

Bike in Coffee is an attractive destination. Biking fits really well with sugary treats and caffeinated beverages

The southwest quadrant flows in meandering contours in harmony with irrigation canals and pastures.  It is part of the agricultural heartland that runs up and down the Rio Grande valley.   These rural roads within our metro area make for interesting riding.  It is not the straight up grid system we have on the east side.  I left my map in my pocket and got pleasantly lost.  One thing I notice all over town is how people connect the different parts of the city together.  We do it with neighborhood themes and unifying infrastructure such as main streets and greenways.  Community emerges from the basics that nature provides.  The river, the land, the people.  As we make the city more amenable to bicycling we’ll see a more beautiful tapestry emerge.

Many of our bike boulevards such as this one on Silver pass through residential neighborhoods with tremendous character

our bike boulevards such as this one on Silver travel through residential neighborhoods with tremendous character

San Pedro RGCU 2

This photo and the one below were taken in the Mile Hi District with the reconfigured San Pedro with Bike Lane

 

San Pedro redesign space for bike peds

Copper St. no centerline cooperation key 2015.5.28

This section of Copper Ave. just west of I-25 has no centerline. People drive more slowly and carefully and negotiate

One of the gifts of bicycling in Albuquerque is the tremendous diversity of riding available.  I’ve polished up my skills and learned new ones discovering Albuquerque by bicycle.  To get to the best riding in each region of town you end up navigating different types of infrastructure design.  The variety keeps me sharp.   There’s a little bit of every kind of terrain you could think of finding.  Bicycling here is like the best of novels or plays.   You can go back for the same pleasures and each time you can discover more.  Here’s a link to today’s ride on Strava.

https://www.strava.com/activities/351756302/embed/40fe907bb692db54f9fa3b76a66a9ad96b5b0e34

Diversity in Cycling: National Brotherhood of Cyclists

“The common ground for clubs that are part of the NBC network is their use of the bicycle as a vehicle for social change, community building and a commitment to improving access, participation and health for adults and children in the communities they call home.”
–from the article by Liz Murphy in the League of American Bicyclists News from the League

NBC Conference

The leading narrative in building up the bicycling culture in Albuquerque and New Mexico is the importance of reaching out to everyone so the benefits of bicycling are universally shared and enjoyed.  Our city and State is so diverse and varied the defining theme is diversity centering on the mosaic of cultures and different landscapes.  Focusing bicycling promotions on inclusivity and collaboration is key for shared success.  Programs that promote bicycling and walking such as Safe Routes to Schools and Complete Streets New Mexico are perfect vehicles to come together around because of the democratic interests of healthy lifestyles and affordable transportation access that help make better habitat for humans all around.

We have enormous opportunities to reconstitute and enliven our culture through making paradigm shifts in our transportation system.   I think there will be some good research and collaborations coming from the National Brotherhood of Cyclist’s conference “Equity in Motion” in Minneapolis this July.  The active transportation movement is about so much more than bicycling and walking.  It is about healing health disparities in communities with modest income, promoting bicycling infrastructure for everyone’s benefit, meeting people, welcoming all.  It’s about opening up the city for human powered movement to all destinations.

What I really love about this organization and conference is the shared principle of the bicycle as a tool for social change.  To ride a bicycle is to experience the world on a human scale in a way that grows our empathy and sensitivity.  The bicycle opens up a new angle on the pursuit of happiness and the American Dream, a dream that is richer when more people are contributing.  For June 2015 The NBC is my bike club of the month.  Thank you for inspiring us.

Resources:
Equity in Motion: The 2015 NBC Bike Summit
Slow Roll was launched in Detroit by Jason Hall and helps citizens feel empowered in the transportation, health, and equity issues facing their communities.
Esperanza Bicycle Safety Education Center links bicycling to the full spectrum ABQ community

Sandia Crest Road Race: Southern Rockies Racing at its Finest

“Albuquerque’s got a lot of history…a lot of great races.  Road and Mountain Bike.”
–Ned Overend, 1st mountain biking world champion in 1990, and still racing (and winning!)

One of the best races in the West is this Sunday, the Sandia Crest Road Race.  It’s starts in Albuquerque and finishes at over 10,000 feet in elevation at the crest of the Sandia Mountains.  Beginning racing licenses are available, so anyone can do it providing you have the fitness and preparation.  This course is one of the best in America, and on par with excellent venues such as the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic from Durango to Silverton, Colorado.

Register for the Sandia Crest event here

The Sandia Crest road is a National Scenic Biway

The Sandia Crest road is a National Scenic Byway.  There is an Aerial Tram to the top for an easier ride

This is a difficult ride.  So why would people do it?  I think road racing and especially events with big hill climbs are a metaphor for life.  Nothing worth doing is easy.  The rewards match the challenge.  You’ll get to a point on the Crest climb where you are not sure that you are up to the task.  Seeing that through is a test of faith and self reliance.  It’s amazing what resources you can find to overcome, or how much one little thing like a sip of water, a break in the gradient, a deep breath or someone calling your name can do to restore your rhythm.  The sense of accomplishment at the finish can be a big release.  I get a heightened sense of appreciating simple things like water, food, and rest.  The intensity that a race brings to the Crest climb can make a relatively short moment–about an hour of climbing for the quickest–expand into a longer journey, one that can help bring life into focus.  Sharing the challenge with a supportive community is extraordinary, and the energy from so many valiant people spreads inspiration.
____________________

Highlights of the 2013 Sandia Crest Road Race courtesy of Chad Patterson, Proview Networks:
Heartbreak Hill  Good footage here of the riders struggling up one of N. Mexico’s steepest hills
Kip Taylor, winner, being interviewed post race.  “You start getting those doubts in your head…you can’t push that away…work with it…Just believe in yourself”.
Ned Overend, cycling great, interviewed post race.  “It feels good to finish third out here.”
“I was in trouble when there were still five guys in the group.  Fortunately for me there were some other guys that were in worse trouble than me.”  –Ned Overend
The whole race.   There’s some footage of me on the Crest climb around the 2:05-2:15  mark.  The race, like life, is very humbling.

City Council Passes Bicycling Plan: Carpe Diem Albuquerque

Albuquerque City Council unanimously adopted the Bikeways and Trails Facility Plan on May 18, 2015.  This plan builds on many years of hard work and specifies next steps in the progression for increasing bicycling friendliness.  The plan’s champion Councilor Isaac Benton said this was a long time coming and took a multi department effort that was boosted by advocacy from the entire community.  Bicycling is generating an atmosphere of excitement in Albuquerque, NM.

I’m including a link to the actual City Council proceedings because it tells a tremendous story.  This was a community moment where the long struggle to realize a vision of better bicycling was recognized.  The prevailing sense is that bicycling connects people together, and better bicycling advances all of humanity.   People really want this, and are doing the work to make it happen. There was a pause to take stock and celebrate all the hard work it has taken to get the plan this far.  It hasn’t been easy, but challenges increase rewards, and people were feeling the joy in that.  There is also a sense of focused excitement and obligation of duty–a sense of purpose–that there is more to come as we look toward the horizon.   We can apply what we’ve learned and use the innovations happening in cycling transportation to carry momentum forward into the implementation process.  We want to keep everyone involved and engage more people in sharing the enthusiasm for bicycling.

Four speakers provided public comment prior to the vote.  Mike Trujillo recounted how safety has improved and new facilities have opened up access for bicycling.  He uses the Gail Ryba bridge to reach the west side and the Coal, Lead, and MLK Blvd. improvements help connect downtown and the river to the university, the community college, Nob Hill, and the southeast neighborhoods.  Stephen Verchinski urged everyone to keep pushing for elevating Albuquerque’s bicycle friendly status.  Stephen advocated for ongoing leadership from Council.  Channeling our care and energy, we can aim for silver, then gold level status for bicycling friendliness, and beyond.  John Thomas provided community perspective on the importance of access for all kinds of users.  John emphasized connectivity, and building up the engineering practices for bicycling and walking transportation.  Julie Luna discussed achievements in consistency and coordination with long range planning efforts at the regional level, and the cooperative spirit developing between different agencies.  Everyone sees our understanding of how to better accommodate people bicycling and walking is evolving.

The Council’s reflections on their own bicycling activites produced smiles.  Councilor Sanchez recognized the effectiveness of Councilor Benton’s engagement with stewarding bicycling.  The pay off is huge.   We see what we’ve learned on this journey and channel our efforts to galvanize community and unite us as one team working for a common goal.  The Council recognizes the affinity of Albuquerque’s relationship with health, wellness, and vibrant outdoor life.  Council President Rey Garduño spoke of Albuquerque as a place that is mentioned in the same breath as world class bicycling.  That is a vision worth working towards.

Thanks to continuous work on refining the bike and trails plan, we have a good roadmap for taking the next steps.  It takes a whole team and the entire city staff should be commended.  Planner Carrie Barkhurst and city council staff Andrew Webb were both recognized by City Council for providing a high level of leadership and keeping the different elements–elected officials, professional staff, community advisors and advocates–involved and moving forward.  A particular note of accomplishment is the emphasis on user friendliness in the bikeways and trails system.  The user experience is always placed at the center, and Carrie and Andrew led the way for keeping everyone in touch with that and working together.

In the video you can scroll down to the index and select the bike plan agenda item:
Video of City Council discussing and passing Albuquerque Bike Plan

Finally some photos I took yesterday on my lunch ride.  Give the desert some rain and it blooms to purple.  What a place to live, work, and bicycle.  I love bicycling in Albuquerque.

IMG_20150518_122301438

 

IMG_20150518_132751213

purple trails

City Transformed: Riding the NM Law Memorial

“I can’t believe that is Central Avenue!”  –ABQ resident upon seeing Central Ave. with cyclists
What an honor to ride with the New Mexico Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.  There is something about bicycling that centers us and grows the sense of community.  This ride goes from downtown Albuquerque up Central Avenue, and follows the Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe.

I started out the day riding Lomas from my home to the ride start downtown. All's quiet at 7:30am

I started out the day riding Lomas from my home to the ride start downtown. All’s quiet at 7:30am

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 045

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 060

Riders were colorful and visible at the start near the downtown government campuses.  People gathered together.  The Chaplain said a prayer.  A vocalist soared through the National Anthem, his voice reverberating down the street corridors and booming off building walls.  The human voice and bicyclist presence filled the quiet streets in the stillness of the morning light.

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 074

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 076

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 079

Just after 8 am we were off heading up Central Ave.  The police escorts on motor bikes provided a rolling enclosure and stopped all traffic at cross streets.  It was wonderful bicycling Central.

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 100

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 119

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 166

Bicycling is a community building activity and a life empowering force.  Central, old Route 66, is such a vital life line in Albuquerque.  We transformed Central today with beautiful people power.

You can always count on Julie for cheer

You can always count on Julie for cheer

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 168

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 175

When people ask me why I moved to New Mexico I tell them for the bicycling.  But sometimes I’ll say for the farmers and the local food.  Then I start to make a list to include all the people, the flagship University of New Mexico, diversity, cultural appreciation, the river, the mountains, everything in between in the landscape together.  Maybe I should make it much simpler by saying I moved to New Mexico for the Flying Star eatery.  That would also be true.

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 151

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 154

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 155

I met lots of friendly people today.  It is easy to talk while bicycling in the open air under the blue New Mexico sky.  It was joyful experiencing Nob Hill by bike with neighbors and friends.

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 156

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 162

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 163

The route took us past memorials where officers had fallen in the line of duty.  There were bagpipes playing and officers standing at attention.  Music is a touching tribute.

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 214

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 187

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 202

In the Village of Tijeras I left the peloton and headed up the Sandia Crest.  People doing the 30K ride turned back toward Albuquerque, and those in for the 100K ventured north on the Turquoise Trail for Santa Fe.  Thank you New Mexico Law Enforcement Officers and community.

2015.5.2 NM Law Memorial Ride 241

Riders refueling at one of the rest stops in Tijeras Village

 

after a long bike ride I'm empty. And I can fill up with goodness

a long bike ride leaves us empty and we can fill back up with goodness

The New Mexico Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Ride is my bike org. of the month for April 2015.  They did a super job organizing this ride.  I am grateful.  Here they are on Facebook.

NM Law Enforcement Memorial Ride

“I would say do something local.  Do something real, however, small…We need to embrace the idea that we are the leaders we’ve been looking for.”  –Grace Lee Boggs, from Bill Moyers Journal

If you’re not going to the Tour of the Gila bicycle events this weekend in Silver City, NM, consider doing something even more local.  On May 2 there is fundraising bicycle ride from Albuquerque to Santa Fe that pays tribute to law enforcement officers in New Mexico that died in the line of duty.  The classic route follows Central Avenue through the heart of Albuquerque, then braids through Tijeras Canyon before turning north where it follows the Turquoise Trail past small villages set in the finest high desert landscape in America on the way to Santa Fe.

Memorial-Ride-map

The journey begins downtown on Central Ave. following old route 66 east.  Albuquerque is remaking this corridor into a multimodal transit way with a sleeker bus service called Bus Rapid Transit that brings benefits of light rail.   This shift combined with mixed use development can transform neighborhoods, enabling residents and visitors to explore and meet daily needs  with greater ease and more good travel choices.  What would you like to see as you pedal your way down Central Avenue?  Central Ave’s iconic resonance plays a big roll in the regional and American imagination, making it a natural magnet for attracting our talents.  With strong transit available people have quality time freed up.  Propinquity, the nearness to one another, is one of the advantages of cities.  Transit puts this to use.  People interacting directly–including incidental and spontaneous meetings while biking, walking, and taking transit–can be productive.  Face to face interactions spur innovation and creative economic development.   Making it better for people bicycling, walking and riding transit is a positive factor for creating a sustainable sense of place that is healthy and alluring.  Welcoming people to enjoy life in an attractive and inviting streetscape makes it exciting and safer for everyone.  A new era is beginning to take shape on Central.

Leaving New Mexico’s largest city, the transition from the open plains of the middle Río Grande into winding Tijeras Canyon immerses the riders in a geologic wonderland folded between the areas two largest mountain ranges, the Sandias and Manzanos.  Six miles later riders emerge on the other side in a piñon juniper forestland and the Village of Tijeras.  As you go north this charming desert landscape opens up with enormous vistas across the Río Grande valley to the Jemez Mountains.  The small towns you pass through along the way such as Madrid and Golden display unique character.  The pine speckled hills of the Ortiz Mountains lend stunning intimacy and great depth.  This is a one good way to pay tribute to the sacrifice and service of New Mexico’s finest and open up our hearts to celebrate our way of life, and to say thank you.

Here’s the website to register:  http://www.nmlememorialride.org/

Some of this route is used by the Santa Fe Century on May 17.  If you love the high desert and community spirit of New Mexico, you’ll like this:  http://www.santafecentury.com/

Adoption Exchange: Day Two at the Races

Three races in two days.  That’ll make your legs tired.  These images and more are available at Sansai Studio.  Mai from Sansai has road race and time trial photos available now and says the criterium photos are forthcoming, pending on getting her regular job and the taxes done.

The Men's Cat 1, 2, 3 criterium winner unleashed a wickedly fast sprint

The Men’s Cat 1, 2, 3 criterium winner unleashed a wickedly fast sprint

 

The criterium venue at Balloon Fiesta Park provided close up views for spectators

The criterium venue at Balloon Fiesta Park provided close up views for spectators

We are athletes.  Being active helps us learn.  I viewed this weekend’s event as a training race to get into the swing of things again.  It built up my motivation and gave me a sense of how strong the racing is in the Southwest US.  The event showcased fit and healthy athletes and brings bicycling to the broader public.  People race to reach for pinnacle experiences, to execute teamwork (road cycling is a team based sport), to build community, and to have fun enjoying the bounty of all the hard work that goes into practicing bicycling.

2015.4.13 Adoption Exchange Crit 2

Since we live in Albuquerque it was a special treat to race from home.  There was a little driving involved to each venue, and I got a little bummed out spending Sunday morning on the freeway heading over to the West Side, and Sunday afternoon on the freeway again heading over to the north side.  When you’re driving on the freeway major landmarks like the Rio Grande are a quick blip on a high speed journey, or you may not even notice the river at all.  But when I climbed out of the car and onto my bicycle I felt grounded again knowing exactly where I was.  The driving was not too bad considering races such as Valley of the Sun in Phoenix, which requires 50 or 60 miles of serpentine freeways between stages.  I’m spoiled because in my regular life I don’t have to drive a car.  I can use my bicycle and transit for everything, as Albuquerque is a city especially scalable by bicycle, and my favorite place to drive my bike in.

Matt from Caruso Cycle Works is training for the Masters National Championships Time Trial

Matt from Caruso Cycle Works is training for the Masters National Championships Time Trial

Thanks to Sports Systems Mountain Top Cycling on Montgomery and Louisiana for a wonderful weekend of racing.  Please remember to support the beneficiary of this race, the Adoption Exchange, by helping them find waiting children safe, loving, and permanent homes.  I’ll see you next time at the races, or perhaps we’ll meet before then somewhere out on the road or trails.

Adoption Exchange: A Day at the Races

Today I raced the Adoption Exchange.  It was my first bicycle race since finishing the Everest Challenge last September.  The Adoption Exchange consists of three events over the weekend, a road race, time trial and a criterium.  The road race was Saturday over a 75 miles course including the Turquoise Trail, Heartbreak Hill, Frost Road, and Gutierrez Canyon on the other side of the Sandia mountains from Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Sunday we have a 20 kilometer time trial in the morning, and a one hour criterium at Balloon Fiesta Park in the afternoon.  The race information is here.  This weekend’s events help raise support for the Adoption Exchange, an organization “dedicated to helping waiting children in New Mexico find safe, loving, and permanent homes.”

2015.4.11 Adoption 1

My heart beat harder than it has all year as we cruised challenging terrain including two trips up the ridiculously steep Heartbreak Hill.  The course wound through a sinewy gem called Gutierrez Canyon.  We passed touring cyclists on the highway 14 heading towards Santa Fe.  Even after you crested a hill the Spring winds made it hard pretty much all the time.  In spite of their efforts some people managed to pedal smoothly and keep looking cool.

2015.4.11 adoption 2

I love a challenge and enjoy competing.  Being with the racers brings out something new every time.  I am alive and present.  It is inspiring to see what people can do when they push themselves on their bicycles.  Bicycling expands the human spirit.

2015.4.11 adoption 3

2015.4.11 adoption 4

There are racers from Nevada, Colorado, Mexico, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico.  There are women racers, men racers, masters, elites, up and coming stars, semi-pros, juniors, collegians.  Everyone is working to fulfill their potential.  It is amazing to witness the passion and commitment people express for their health and wellness through bicycling while also being champions at home, in their communities, and at their professions and studies.  Bicycling functions as an amplifying factor giving you more positive energy for everything else in your life.  I love racing for the camaraderie, the energy, and the commitment and dedication that people exhibit.  We need more bicycling here, everywhere, all around the globe.

2015.4.11 adoption 5

2015.4.11 adoption 7

Thanks to Sansai Studios for sharing these copyrighted photos.  A gallery of race photos will be available for purchase through Sansai Studio’s website sansaistudio.com . These pictures give a great view into the diverse audience this event attracts set in the stunning landscape of the Turquoise Trail in the scintillating high desert light.  If you are in Albuquerque Sunday April 12 and want to see good racing, the time trial goes off between 7:30-11 tomorrow on the I-40 frontage road heading west from Atrisco Vista Blvd.  The time trial discipline is called the “race of truth” because each rider goes alone and the rider with the quickest time wins.  It is just you, your bike, and the power you produce pushing against aerodynamic limits.  Then in the afternoon at Balloon Fiesta Park the criteriums will be in full swing until 4:30pm.  The “crit” is a short loop course, usually in urban terrain, that provides intense action as riders zoom around the course going after lap prizes and playing tactics trying to win the crit.  But another layer of complexity is added by the quest to earn points to place well in the overall scoring for the full weekend.  Races within races.  Hope to see you at the time trial and criterium tomorrow.  Thank you Sports Systems Mountain Top Cycling for putting on this exceptional event for a most important cause.

———————
References/Links:
Adoption Exchange, New Mexico website
http://www.adoptex.org/site/PageServer?pagename=locations_nm_news

Adoption Exchange race information:
http://www.newmexicosportsonline.com/Cycling/The-Adoption-Exchange-Classic-2015/10415

Sansai Studios Photography
http://sansai.photoshelter.com/

New Mexico bicycling event calendar:
http://www.nmbra.org/event_calendar

A City with Big Heart: Jim’s Blog, Bike-in Coffee, & Urban ABQ

When we were considering moving to New Mexico it was 5150.  But the people and place welcomed us.  The character here is extraordinary.  We are confirming this daily.

a rainbow on Sunday from our deck

a rainbow on Sunday from our deck

I was riding back into town today from my lunch ride and I had a green light at the intersection with 4 Hills Road from my westbound direction on Route 66.  There were three cars lined up on eastbound Route 66 waiting to turn left across my lane to enter I-40.  I’m moving at about 20 mph and am the only traffic in my direction.  The first car turned left in front of me and had time to clear the intersection without interfering with my right of way.  But that turning action screened the car behind from having sight lines to me.  Once the first car cleared I wanted to connect with the driver of the second car to confirm that I’m visible.  I raised my left hand above my head gesturing a big hello.  The driver puts his left arm out his window and gives me the peace sign.  I pass on through the intersection knowing the driver sees me, but more than that, we recognize each other as friends.  Country manners in a city.

2015.3.23 Crest Sign with Bighorn

This type of connection happens regularly in Albuquerque.  There is a basic fabric of human community here that is extraordinary.  An ease of being and strong sense of place ground us.  When we were looking at moving here I rode my bike around the Sandias.  Climbing up Las Huertas on the narrow dirt road I had a driver of an old dented pickup flash me the peace sign and a smile as we edged by each other.  That was one of the moments that sold me on Albuquerque.  The people do the marketing.  Absolute genuineness.

an encouraging sign on Frost Road

an encouraging sign on Frost Road

I’ve had a couple other experiences recently that reminded me that this is not your ordinary city.   Today I met Jim on my ride as we overlapped paths cruising down Frost Road.  Jim was riding a recumbent, the kind of bike you ride from a relaxed horizontal seating position.   He had two Papillon dogs with him (the youngest named Jazzy), a ham radio, a go pro video cam, and other assorted equipment.  It was neat meeting another person who views bicycling as a research platform.  But the center of our conversation was health, physical, spiritual and mental.  When you do a little bicycling and walking, it improves every aspect of life including social and economic.  If only we would increase the valuation of living in the present in our society.  Well, I think slowly we are regaining that focus.  And if you check out Jim’s blog you’ll get some nice centerpieces for the discussion, along with true east mountain and Albuquerque flavor to savor.

at an observation deck by a pond on the Rio Grande Bosque

at an observation deck by a pond on the Rio Grande Bosque

On Saturday, I rode with Dan to Bike-in Coffee on Old Town Farm.  This is a farm that serves fresh local food and hot coffee on the weekends to customers that ride in on bicycles.  It is just a few blocks from the urban core easily accessible off the ever popular Bosque River Trail in Albuquerque’s central green belt.  When we turned down the road entrance to the farm we cycled past two magnificent horses in pasture chewing on grasses.  We leaned our bikes against a farm fence and had steaming cups of Kona coffee.  Coffee before a ride is good, but coffee during a ride is exquisite.  Especially when you have it with fellow cyclists on a farm open to guests on the first full day of Spring with cherry blossoms opening and New Mexico blue sky aloft.  Bike-in Coffee invites you in to enjoy the finer things in life, which are quite simple.  While we were there we ran into many nice people including Tim from Urban ABQ.

deer blending in

deer blending in

Urban ABQ is an initiative advocating for a more vibrant city life including increased density, walkability and bikeability.  Their blog is one of the harbingers of the economic recovery happening here from the ground up.  It’s all about bringing the good energy in the people and place together creating a blueprint for a strong and lasting foundation.   Urban ABQ builds collaboration with downtown businesses, residents, urban planners and elected leadership and develops teamwork centered on common interests to the benefit of the entire city and State.  They put on the first CiQlovía, an open streets event that invites people out to experience their city in an up close walking and biking setting.

celebrating Sunday with a walk in the foothills at the eastern edge of Albuquerque

celebrating Sunday with a walk in the foothills at the eastern edge of Albuquerque

These three elements–Jim and his blog, Bike-in Coffee, and UrbanABQ–deserve more attention.  I’m aiming to do a spotlight piece on each one.  But in the meantime I thought I’d introduce you to them, and touch on that underlying thread that is a force for positive days here.  Let me leave you with farmer and poet Wendell Berry from Revolution Starts Small and Close to Home in Yes! magazine Spring 2015, a copy of which was loaned to me by a sponsor High Desert Yoga:
“Spending less, burning less, traveling less may be a relief.  A cooler, slower life may make us happier, more present to ourselves, and to others who need us to be present.  Because of such rewards, a large problem may be effectively addressed by the many small solutions that, after all, are necessary, no matter what the government might do.  The government might even do the right thing at last by imitating the people.”