Category Archives: Bike Org of the Month

Strava Connects Athletes with Planners

Strava technology blows my mind.  Strava has united what I’ve always done, bicycling, with my current project in long range transportation planning, design and education.  I’ve always thought the best way to advocate for bicycling is to do it.  I’m good at that.  With Strava, a free application that tracks your movement with GPS from a device as simple as your current cell phone, our riding becomes visible to planners and elected officials.  It literally makes your riding count and show up as evidence on how much and where people are bicycling.

If you’re riding and you’re not on Strava, please sign up for Strava for free.

La Luz piñon

This makes a huge difference.  Metro Planning Organizations have been counting cars since the 1970’s, but systematic counts for pedestrians and bicyclists have not been programmed as well.  So the lack of statistical “evidence” that people are walking and bicycling has been detrimental to justifying the allocation of funds for making improvements.  Strava says “nearly one-half of all rides on Strava in denser metro areas are commutes so Strava Metro data gives great insight into the needs of those riding for transportation.”  Strava is doing us all kinds of favors, including breaking down false divides between people that bike for health (“sport”) and for those that bike for transportation (“utility”).  People bike for all reasons, just like we use cars.

Winter ride

Aside from the social networking you can do with Strava, such as tracking your friends’ rides, and taking pictures and uploading them to rides (the photos on this blog post are from my rides on Strava), you are serving a greater purpose too by making your riding more visible and making it part of a big data set.  Strava is my bike org. of the month for December 2015.

S14 descending

Sign up for Strava:
Follow me on Strava:


from Strava Metro

Strava Metro is a data service providing “ground truth” on where people ride and run. Millions of GPS-tracked activities are uploaded to Strava every week from around the globe. In denser metro areas, nearly one-half of these are commutes. These activities create billions of data points that, when aggregated, enable deep analysis and understanding of real-world cycling and pedestrian route preferences.”

Here’s a little heat map screen print from our bicycle rides in Albuquerque:

Strava Heat ABQ 2016

Ned Overend Never Grows Old

I don’t know if you’ve ever cycled in Durango.  If you have then you know what it feels like to ride with the whole community behind you.  That is a great feeling.  Ned Overend is one of the reasons why Durango is an epicenter for Southwestern bicycling.  Outside Magazine just featured Ned in an article that includes a great video. Here’s a summary of Ned’s top ten tips for riding your bike and never growing old.  Ned makes bicycling more fun.

Keep it fun (“I use Strava and Group Rides”–Ned)
Mix it up
Pay attention to your health
Understand training theory and recover completely from your training
Be able to adjust your bicycling equipment on your own
Keep it within the envelop of control
Focus your competitiveness on yourself
Don’t assume age will slow you down
Stay positive and trust yourself
Find the right ratio of intensity to recovery
Mold your training program to your preferences and racing plan

Here’s the whole article from Outside Magazine:
Ned Overend is the Champion Cyclists Who Never Grows Old
Here’s another article on Ned’s training regime for masters
On Ned’s Fat Tire bicycle that won him the 2015 Fat Tire National Championships

PS that reminds me, I’m a little bit behind on naming SBI’s bike org. of the month.  For November 2015 it is the place called Durango that is the bike org of the month.  It’s the complete chemistry there–the riding, the people, the way the racing community is integrated with the identity of the place–that makes for greatness.  Bicycling is a place maker in Durango.  Durango wouldn’t be the same without bicycling.  The inverse is also true.

Telling It Like It Is

‘Courage is like a muscle.  Keep on using it and the stronger it gets’.  –The Daily Word,

The Southwest Bike Initiative’s bike org. of the month for October 2015 is US Military Endurance Sports.  They’re a non-profit supporting endurance athletes, sports education and activities for current, retired, and veteran members of the United States Uniformed Services.  I raced with one of their members during the Everest Challenge bicycling event in September 2014.  It was inspiring to ride up those mountains with him.  Their motto is Fit for Duty, Fit for Life.

US Military Team

Endurance sports such as cycling are perfect  avenues for training the mental and physical fitness one needs to perform in challenging situations.  The kind of muscle suppleness and fluidity bicycling develops makes everything else flow more smoothly in life.  I think endurance cycling especially helps with mental resilience and prepares the athlete in us  to bounce back and recover.  Most of all the teamwork in road cycling is a great platform to foster cooperation and unspoken bonds between people.  In cycling we learn how to intuitively know how our teammates are doing, and we also learn to assess our selves and test our judgments in adverse conditions.  It is difficult to say exactly what the most rewarding part of cycling is, but certainly being able to sacrifice myself during races for the betterment of my team, and to see my team achieve an objective, is something that has stayed with me and strengthened with time.

I was privileged to recently hear a member of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s department speak to a gathering of cyclists.  He was deployed twice in the US Army and after four years of service, became a law enforcement officer.  Then he joined the bike unit and performs much of his patrol on the bike.  He said the most difficult part of bicycling safely is using the general travel lane when you need to, for instance to avoid debris, to elevate your visibility, and avoid right edge hazards such as cars pulling out from driveways, or cars turning right and left in front of you.  It takes courage to ride a bike in a safe manner and I am grateful to be part of a very large, diverse and wholesome bunch of people that finds benefits in doing it.  I’m ready for duty.

These photos are from the US Military Endurance Sports website:



US Military Endurance Sports - Fit to Fight, Fit for Life

US Military Endurance Sports - Fit to Fight, Fit for Life

Planning for a Healthy Legacy

“Architecture is a background to life…not life itself.”  –J.B. Jackson

For September 2015 the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County are my “bike organization of the month”.   Together they have embarked on a two year process of updating the Comprehensive Plan.  This ambitious project is crafting a framework for better integrating bicycling and walking into our everyday living environment.  This planning framework guides the way our region grows.  Bicycling, walking and transit fit into the context of strengthening our community and function as mechanisms for achieving broader goals such as having more mobility choices, an ecologically sustainable economy, better public health, a city built to human scale.  A practical approach is exactly how bicycling made its way into my life.  Biking worked for low cost and agile commuting, but also made me feel good.  I gradually developed more uses for biking including weekend travel, social rides, taking on challenges such as racing, and it became a kind a complete instrument around which my life would grow.  It has helped me develop discipline, meet life’s challenges, and focus on health and well being every day.



hello sunshine

As municipalities look forward for solutions to stay in business for the long term, deliver better services to their residents, and attract newcomers and sustainable tourism, it is clear that planning for robust walking and bicycling networks is the way to go.   I was reading an article on downtown Ciudad Juárez in the Official 2014 El Paso Visitors Guide.  “The nightlife infrastructure built in the twenties and thirties buoyed Juarez’s entertainment industry well into the seventies.”  But the anything goes perception had negative consequences and did not draw visitation that had positive lasting impacts.  We have a chance to leave a legacy of health and also sway advantageous economic development by attracting a workforce seeking a healthy life centered on personal growth, education, innovation, advancing connections with society and the natural world, while respecting & highlighting the assets that make us grateful to live here.

cactus alighting

river bloom

keep growing up

I’ve heard good questions being asked at community planning events.  How do we help people feel more comfortable outside of our cars?  What makes a good street?  How can we make places where people want to stay and spend time, not feel like they want to rush through?  How can we make living arrangements where our time is spent efficiently, and our travel time is pleasant & useful for exercise, doing work, talking to friends?  Good bicycling, walking and transit networks help with all of these factors for improving quality of life and livability.  We have work to do to make it easy, safe and efficient to move freely around the city without a car.


sky walk

echoes of light

“It is always that which strikes us as commonplace or absurd which indicates that we are not open to one of the mysteries, for such sentiments are the protective mechanisms which prevent our framework from being shaken.” (Bloom xxii, The Republic of Plato).  Is it commonplace to drive a car everywhere, absurd to travel by bike, take transit and walk?  What does the way we are building our city and city streets say about our mobility choices?  There are plenty of people bicycling and walking now but we need to do more to make these modes viable choices for everyone, so people feel at ease, secure, and free to move around.

“To experience the landscape in terms of its inhabitants”,  J.B. Jackson encouraged us to ask questions about opportunities the landscape offers for making a living, for freedom of choice of action, for meaningful relationships with other people and the landscape itself, for individual fulfillment and for social change (from Teachers by D.W. Meinig).  When we ask questions that involve and engage our senses, empathy and vision,  we have a better chance of directing our powers for shaping our own environments.  An exceptional vision for the whole city is made up of unique individual perspectives.  We are an unfinished authentic city shaping a new legacy.

AZ Highway 82

dynamic Crest

Bike house

Albuquerque + Bernalillo County’s two year long Comprehensive Planning and Zoning Code update process is detailed here at .  Feel free to get involved.

Quotes from The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes: Geographical Essays by Donald Meinig  and  The Republic of Plato introductory essay by Allan Bloom

Check out the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy blog to see more on how building Active Transportation infrastructure is leaving a healthy legacy in communities and rural places:

When calculating how to place persons walking and bicycling into the roadway width, this information resource is helpful for engineers and all the departments working together to make great streets in Albuquerque:

All photos mine except the photo of bicyclists from Arizona and New Mexico, which is from this story:  Arizona Gets Approval for US Bicycle Route 90

Designing and Educating for Bicycling

Every effort to promote bicycling hinges on a clear understanding of how bicycling works in the context of the overall transportation ecosystem.  The guiding principle for bicycling is commonly referred to as vehicular cycling.  A more modern term is bicycle driving.  It is the basis for safe coexistence with traffic and conforming to the rules of the road.   If you’ve ever operated your bicycle on an ordinary residential street, going with traffic, then you’re already doing it.  Bicycle driving is what is taught in the Safe Routes To Schools curriculum, and every other bicycling education program.   Complete Streets is the design aspect for bringing bicycling into the mainstream by designing streets for bikes.  The educational component is bicycle driving, and it instills confidence for people to be fully empowered to use bicycles to travel anywhere.

The Bike League’s curriculum and all bicycling education programs are designed “to create a mindset that bikes are treated as a vehicle” (from becoming an instructor).  This mindset instills a sense of proportional responsibility and is the basis of appropriate relationships for bicyclists to all kinds of traffic and traffic control devices.  This mindset shared by all sets the tone for great streets and trails.  On the multiuse trail this principle guides bicycles to yield to pedestrians and equestrians, gauging travel speeds accordingly.  On the road the bicycle driving principle means the most predicable, safe, and visible way to move is with the vehicular traffic flow.  Even when there is physical separation between motorized traffic and bicycle traffic, such as with a protected bike lane, the motions of the two traffic streams must always be coordinated and mutually aware.  This is especially true at intersections, driveways, and parking zones when traffic mixes and the cooperative environment depends on predictable movements, communication, awareness, negotiation, and common rules to which all traffic adheres.  Complete Streets policies support design environments that welcome bicycle traffic and lower traffic stress so that people have a better chance to positively orient to the road with whichever mode they choose.  A Complete Street is as an inclusive place and built on the underlying structure of relationships between varying types of traffic.  Traffic skills education is a complimentary factor that facilitates pleasant travel by fostering order and raising awareness.  Design and education work in tandem to promote good bicycling.

Most people have some reservations about bicycling because they are not clear how bikes fit in.  Forward looking solutions include education for drivers to respect all kinds of traffic, and treating bicycles as an equal vehicle, welcoming diversity.  Most bicycle traffic occurs on roads without a designated bicycle facility such as a bicycle lane.  A regular travel lane needs to be at least 14 feet wide for it to be safely shared side by side by a car and a bicycle.  Seeing bicycle traffic using a general travel lane may look different than what we are used to.  I trust we are acclimating to bicycles as a normal component of traffic and civic life in the mainstream, just like we are welcoming diverse religions, cultures, and lifestyles.  Change takes a new attitude, an open mind, and in the case of roads, traffic calming and the conception of an inclusive space.

Bicycles are good for the transportation ecosystem.  As we design and educate better for bicycles, include bicycle traffic in our engineering metrics and traffic flow analysis, and we learn more about what bicycling can do for us and we do it more, things are going to get a lot easier, safer and more attractive.  The quicker we can make these changes, the sooner we can move ahead.  In the Southwest, Utah and Colorado are already in the bike friendly top ten.

For understanding bicycling, I’ve benefited from the generosity of the creator of  For the last two years, Ed has suggested reading related to bicycle law, roadway design, engineering, and traffic behavior.  He has a “do it yourself” entrepreneurial attitude and continues his education, applying critical thinking and analytical skills to practical experience to spur progress.  Ed responds cordially to questions, and links people to resources.  Always there to foster more informed dialogue.  Some of the lessons were tough, like the lessons from a cyclist who was killed by a hit from behind on a charity ride in Cornville.  Ed’s analysis and documentation is brave and courageous, like the novelist Cormac McCarthy’s willingness to tell the story of violence in Western culture and its continuum past to present.  AZ Bike Law is my August 2015 Bike Org of the Month.  Thanks for your diligence and enthusiasm Ed.


Please be kind to persons bicycling, walking, rolling, driving autos and commercial vehicles.  Drive with care and caution.  Forgiveness and understanding.  We are all learning.  Gracias!

long Crest road

Cycling World Championships with Tilford

Road World Championships are happening this week in Richmond, Virginia, USA.  Road Worlds were last on US soil 29 years ago in Colorado Springs in 1986.  US cycling was breaking onto the world scene then.  Greg Lemond was the first non-European to win the Tour de France in 1986 in its 73rd annual running.  He was phenomenal.  Lemond grew up in Reno, NV, and that is where I began cycling in earnest.  Western roads nurture climbing ability and make for exciting bicycling.   Since 1986 cycling has grown in equity and inclusiveness, spreading around the world.  Now there are teams from Asia, Africa, South America, all over.  And the upcoming generation of North American riders race stupendously and with honor, a la Lemond.  Cycling is a true global sport, much bigger than soccer.  Cycling’s usefulness for promoting health, social connectedness, efficiency and sustainability make it stand out above all.

Brandon McNulty wins bronze at Road Worlds, Junior Time Trial. Brandon is an alumnus of the Landis/Trek team

Brandon McNulty wins bronze at Road Worlds, Junior Time Trial. Brandon is a graduate of the Landis/Trek team.  An Arizonan.  The places cycling takes you!  Photo from Tilford’s blog

Steve Tilford is at Richmond covering worlds.  His blog opens up cycling in a unique way, giving access to an insider’s view with great depth.  He is a practicing racer, and highly accomplished.  Cyclesport is closely intertwined with culture and civic life where it is thriving in America, in places like Durango.  “Durango probably has the best trail system of any town in the United States.  The city itself is so supportive of cycling it should be the city that every other one in the country tries to emulate.” (Durango Dirty Fondo).   In the last few weeks Steve’s been to Cross Vegas where Governor John Hickenlooper announced 100 million to make Colorado the best bicycle State ever.  And Steve’s covered himself with mud at a mountain bike race in Wisconsin called Chequamegon.  He also raced with the pros at St. Louis doing four criteriums, and reported from the US Pro Challenge in Colorado.  Steve will roll you into the world of cycling with a humble, expansive perspective.   We get tips on developing technologies and enduring traditions.  He introduces us to great people, and has a genius for relating the mundane routines that lead up to peak cycling experiences.  He lights up the landscape of cycling for all of us.  Steve’s worlds coverage illuminates the biggest one day race of the year.


For July 2015 Steve Tilford’s blog is my bicycle org of the month.  I’m a couple months behind on designating my bicycle org of the month, but I’ll catch up.  The world of cycling is composed of so many diverse champions.  Steve has been wheeling for decades and is getting stronger.

flower greet and bike parking

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.

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

Bringing Bicycling into the Mainstream: US DOT

“US DOT (Department of Transportation) hopes that public agencies, professional associations, advocacy groups, and others adopt this approach as a way of committing themselves to integrating bicycling and walking into the transportation mainstream.”  –from the USDOT guidance on Accommodating Bicycling and Pedestrian Travel

As has happened many times before in American history, the US Government is taking its cues from the people.  Lately people are walking and bicycling more.  US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s leadership has set the tone for viewing walking and bicycling as indicators of livability in healthy communities, and is helping to craft policies based on meeting the increasing demand for active transportation modes across the country.  The USDOT’s guidance calls for “intensive re-tooling and re-education of transportation planners and engineers” (p7) to accomplish the goal of “fully integrating bicyclists and pedestrians into the transportation system” (2).  For the visionary leadership and fine resources and high standards they are developing, the US DOT is my Bike Org of the Month for May, 2015.

The public transportation system threads together the fabric of our Nation.  Federal leadership serves as guidance for the State planning:   Public comments are being accepted by NM DOT through June 26.  Articulate your support for walking and bicycling.  Every voice counts.  Help New Mexico absorb the USDOT guidance.

Our actions speak the loudest.  During the recent initiative by the Albuquerque Parks and Recreation department to weed out the pesky ‘goathead’ plants and reseed with native grasses, two young people that just moved here from Texas volunteered to help with the task (pictures below).  What a way to get started making this your home.  People care about active transportation and want to get involved helping our walking and bicycling systems thrive.

Trail crew

Bosque trail better now

trail crew works

“You cannot build enough trails.”  –Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis, IN
“Helping children fall in love with nature should be…a top national and even international priority, right there alongside addressing climate change and preserving wilderness.” –John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado

We can gradually realize a positive transformation of the transportation system because of the integrity of the planning and coordination, and through our unwavering focus and commitment.  Citizens are leading the way with their involvement, grass roots organizing, and by walking and biking more and asking for competitive transit.  Governors understand that connecting people with places is essential for respecting cultures and environment.  Mayors realize providing a healthy living environment builds economic prosperity and brings out the best in people.  And regional planning agencies, counties, and cities are all reorganizing around the principle of synchronizing land use and transportation polices to achieve walkable and bicycling friendly communities.  On Sunday I bicycled out to “South 14” (pictures below) and it reminded me of how much existing excellence we already have to build on.  Paved shoulders on rural roads make it safer for everyone and open up a good option for cycling and walking to foster closer connections between people, and between people and the places where we live.  There were so many people cycling South 14 (aka NM 337) on Sunday!

S14 Sunday 2015.6.14

S14 Sunday Bikes Going Past 2015.6.14
climbing purple S14

“To know who you are, you have to have a place to come from.”  –Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, quoted in Wisdom Sits in Places by Keith H. Basso

Indian Paintbrush up in Northern New Mexico.  At a public meeting a citizen expressed the importance of better roads north of Santa Fe

Indian Paintbrush up in Northern New Mexico. At the June 4 NM DOT public meeting a citizen expressed the importance of improving roads north of Santa Fe


Further reading and sources:
KRQE did a story on the program to remove goatheads and restore the trails system land health with native grasses:

Another organization that was present to volunteer for trail work was the

Gred Ballard and other Mayors voice their support for bicycling’s transformative powers here.

John Hickenlooper quoted from this Denver Post article.

This US DOT document tells an interesting story about where we are coming from, includes a vision of where we are going, and how we can get there step by step.  Thank you US DOT, for developing these resources for America.  This is leadership on freedom.

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.

Walking Santa Fe

cherry blossom in parking lot between Sage Inn and Whole Foods.  photo by Sansai Studios

Cherry blossom in the parking lot between Sage Inn and Whole Foods, Santa Fe, New Mexico.   Photo by Sansai Studios.

We took a trip up to the lovely high desert town of Santa Fe last weekend.  Mai performed Ikebana at The Molecule, a modern design studio, on Friday evening.  We stayed overnight and strolled from our hotel to the Farmers Market on Saturday morning, followed by an afternoon spent at the Japanese Matsuri (Spring Festival) in the downtown Convention Center.  Walking helped us slow down and have time to appreciate the often times contrasting sights, inscribing and better integrating an understanding of the diverse character of Santa Fe through our web of experience.

2015.3.28 Santa Fe architecture with cherry blossom

2015.3.29 walk Santa Fe 022

2015.3.28 Molecule performance

The Molecule is constructed of recycled shipping containers.  Quite a contrast to the Spanish-Pueblo architecture and designs from other eras.  Santa Fe is a fusion of intersecting cultures and times, making it a natural hub for innovation.  The Molecule is just south of Railyard Park which is home to the trendy yet ancient Farmers Market.

2015.3.29 walk Santa Fe 045

2015.3.29 walk Santa Fe 038

2015.3.29 walk Santa Fe 049

Walking is the way to discover what this global city has to offer.  Creative Santa Fe made a cool walking map of a route from the Railyard Plaza to Downtown, which are intertwined with the Acequia and Rail Trails plus many streets.  Sometimes inviting people to walk again is important in a culture where driving can be reflexive.  The walking journey creates remembered miles.  Santa Fe is so rich and dense with cultural attractions walking is an elegantly simple way to appreciate the living here.  Walking is an integral part of threading together a sense of this place, and often opens up opportunities to meet people, get pleasantly sidetracked and enjoy improvisational moments.  You have great freedom in making your own discoveries once you see this as a place where you can walk to destinations everywhere, or combine with transit.

2015.3.28 Ringtaro Tateishi taiko drumming

2015.3.29 walk Santa Fe 162

2015.3.29 walk Santa Fe 184

People come from all over for the Japanese Festival.  Ringtaro Tateishi’s drumming captivated the audience.   Of course the food served at Matsuri from local restaurants was so good that ambling around the show floor and plaza was beneficial to work up appetites for more delicious sampling.  The textures of this world, from the building décor to the ambiance of celebratory Springtime, charmed us beyond measure.  Everywhere we are reminded of the wide range of global histories intersecting in the Southwest, through people, architecture, food, art.

2015.3.29 walk Santa Fe 255

2015.3.29 walk Santa Fe 258

2015.3.29 walk Santa Fe 248

Headed back to Albuqueurque we stopped at La Cienguilla petroglyphs, a place we’ve always wanted to explore.  The walk along the edge of the basalt escarpment takes effort but it is worth the awesome surprise of the rock art panels opening up to you, and the opportunity to contemplate the rock artists’ ability to communicate through time.  Overlooking the Santa Fe river and with far away vistas of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range above Santa Fe, it was a neat spot to visit.  The ancient artists chose wisely.  It was good for us to get out in the country for a gentle stroll and let those close up city times echo around and spiral their way into our memories.  The urban life contrasted with the rural setting puts you at ease and opens your imagination.   Spending a weekend walking in Santa Fe turns restlessness into a creative event,  and is a good way to live fully in the present while arriving to a healthier future here.

2015.3.29 walk Santa Fe 271

2015.3.29 walk Santa Fe 198

2015.3.29 walk Santa Fe 238

Good planning creates opportunities for people to envision and make healthier and more productive choices.  It is encouraging to see an entrepreneurial spirit come out in individuals and families who are taking advantage of the walking and biking around Santa Fe to make their own pathways of discovery.  These direct experiences build up knowledge in our population, making for better connections to this land we are still arriving at.  Santa Fe is walking heaven.
The Santa Fe metro planning org. is generating a Pedestrian Master Plan.  They are my organization of the month because of the way they’ve included human powered mobility in Santa Fe’s portfolio of exceptional natural assets:
Creative Santa Fe Org. explains why walking rules and is a good thing for people & the city.
The Santa Fe Conservation Trust has a great toolkit for active transportation planning.