Category Archives: community news

Bicycles Bring People to Nature

The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world.  –Richard Louv

A father of a young bicyclist told me “bicycling cures my son’s Attention Deficit Disorder.”  Yes, that and much more.  Bicycling fosters appreciation for the life we have outside.  And increases our sense of value and investment in the natural landscape, while making us more a part of it.   Check out this upcoming event in Santa Fe, and also Richard Louv’s provocative books.

Richard Louv at Lensic

“Louv makes a convincing case that we are entering the most creative period in history, that in fact the twenty-first century will be the era of human restoration in the natural world. This encouraging and influential work offers renewed optimism while challenging us to rethink the way we live.”

References:
http://www.santafewaldorf.org/louv/

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/

New Mexico Bike Summit 2016

Here’s an Announcement from the New Mexico Bicyclist Educators.  Like them on Facebook!
———————————————————————-

NM Bike Educators

Grab your bike, BREAK FREE from your daily grind and join us at the New Mexico Bike Summit in Las Cruces on April 23, 2016. Mark your calendar — registration information coming soon.

The New Mexico Bike Summit is an inclusive event welcoming advocates, educators and bicycle enthusiasts of every kind. Come see old faces, make new friends and learn about what’s happening in New Mexico related to bicycling.

Topics/Speakers include:

*US Bike Routes / USBR 90*
– Jennifer Milyko, Adventure Cycling Association, Assistant Director Routes & Mapping

*Rio Grande Trail*
– Dan Carter – Southern NM Trail Alliance, President
– Peter Mattox – Southern NM Trail Alliance, Rio Grande Trail Commissioner

*Safe Routes to School*
– Ashleigh Curry, Las Cruces Public Schools Safe Routes to School Cooridinator

*Albuquerque Bike Share Program*
– Valerie Hermanson, Regional Planner Mid-Region Council of Governments

Additional Panelists:
– Carrie Hamblen – Las Cruces Green Chamber
– Jamie Lakey – NMSU, Velo Cruces
– Scott White – Velo Paso

The New Mexico Bike Summit is coordinated by NMBE.

Southwest Cycling Times

I don’t know if bicycling and walking are especially hot topics or if I am just tuning in more, but I’ve found a plethora of good stories in the news.  Here’s a brief summary of individual articles with a link for further reading if a topic strikes your interest.   Though the literature surveyed here always has national and global implications, my approach is looking at issues from a regional perspective based on issues that are of particular interest in the Southwestern U.S.

The League of American Bicyclists released their report on Bicycle Friendly Universities.  University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University remain at Bronze status.  Lots of room for improvement here to move up to Silver, Gold, all the way to Platinum.  Campuses are always a locus for walking and bicycling culture.  Places to build up from!  Both ASU and UofA register at the Gold level, and Utah’s largest two State universities come in at Silver.  Colorado and New Mexico both have some room for improvement.  My alma mater Univ. of Nevada at Reno made it to Bronze.  Look for UNLV to step up.  Bicycling and learning go together.

Dallas lost its bike coordinator to a private firm in Denver, Colorado.  This story covering that transition looks into Dallas’s history integrating bicycling transportation and touches on the process of opening up more choices for active transportation in a city built with cars in mind.  Texas’s motto is “Drive Friendly The Texas Way.”  Very important to put this in context with everyone we encounter on the road, not just the folks traveling in the same way we are, that look like us.  I can see a photo shop opportunity for including bicycles in this sign.

drive friendly

Building bicycle friendliness is an incremental process.  The work that Dallas’s bike coordinator put in carves the way for the next steps and gives us something to build on.  I see a lot of cars with Texas plates in New Mexico and Texans love to come here for our mountains and cultural roots.  So bicycle friendliness there matters here too, bicycles matter everywhere.  We are definitely one nation interconnected and interdependent.  I also think interchange of people–people switching jobs, etc.–can be a good thing.  That is what keeps NY City vibrant and relevant, the influx of new ideas and culture, and the migration of influential people.  Mix it up.

People ask a good question.   How are we going to pay for better bicycling infrastructure?  This article The True Costs of Driving  shifts the way we think about paying for roads and puts it in terms of how much our transportation choices cost.  Clearly bicycles add value with no risk to our future, and with direct improvements to health.  Bicycling is a good choice by any metric.  We can’t afford not to invest in bicycling infrastructure, especially for the benefits to our health.

We’ve all heard about Colorado’s commitment to bicycle infrastructure.  Well how about Oslo’s.  They’ve got it right, that bicycling is in the interest of everyone in the city, not just the traffic department.  A new holistic forward looking framework is developing that sees bikability and walkability as being issues that go way beyond transportation.  They are central to sustainable urban development.   Making every city a place where ordinary people can bicycle is the future.

River Fall splendor

The Fall colors on the Bosque Trail along the Río Grande light it up

 

Trail Survey Placing Albuquerque’s Trails on the National Map

“We’re really excited to be in Albuquerque because you have an incredible trail system.”
–Dr. Tracy Hadden Loh, RTC’s director of research.  (Quote from ABQ Business First)

The last couple weeks I’ve been out working on a trail survey as part of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy’s nationwide T-MAP project.  It has been incredible to be working outside and talking to the public using Albuquerque’s wonderful trails.  The project is helping measure the beneficial impacts that trails and active transportation networks are making in communities, including improving transportation, health, and spurring local and regional economies.

T-MAP (Trail Modeling and Assessment Platform) is designed to lead to more trail construction and give local agencies a better idea on where to focus improvements.   T-MAP creates ways to quantify and explain how investments in trail systems pay off in terms of health and transportation savings, and increases understanding of the economic stimulation greenways instigate.  Aside from savings in health and gains in transportation efficiency, trails lift quality of life and open up transportation choices, making Albuquerque and Bernalillo County stand out as attractive places to invest, work and live, raise a family, retire, and vacation.

This project was in the news last year when Albuquerque was selected as one of 12 cities nationwide that would participate in this survey.  Check out the links to those stories below.  KRQE has some excellent video.  I am looking forward to the next phases of this multi year project, including seeing how the modeling and assessment tools develop, and then are deployed to create the next generation of trail building.  See you out on the trails, Albuquerque.

D.C. group chooses ABQ for trail monitoring project on KRQE News
This story includes video of people using the trail past our survey site at Erna Ferguson Library on the Paseo del Nordeste Trail.  ‘The data collection will give us a better understanding of how important our trail system is for commuting, errands, quality of life and exercise.’
http://krqe.com/2014/06/02/d-c-group-chooses-abq-for-trail-monitoring-project/

Albuquerque’s urban trail use captures national focus from Albuquerque Business First
More coverage of the T-MAP survey putting us in the national spotlight for cutting edge research fueling trail and active transportation network research and development.
http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2014/05/30/albuquerque-s-urban-trail-use-captures-national.html

Here’s the link to the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy’s T-MAP project.
http://www.railstotrails.org/our-work/research-and-information/trail-modeling-and-assessment-platform/

It has been quite a week for me with changing weather and lots of work

It has been quite a week in Albuquerque with changing weather. Takes time to adjust to the chill!

the funky weather did have some nice side effects. This was actually a double rainbow

the funky weather did have some nice side effects. This was actually a double rainbow

My evening ride up La Luz gave me a peak at the snow adorning the Sandia Crest

My evening ride up La Luz gave me a peak at the snow adorning the Sandia Crest

Telling It Like It Is

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

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:  http://usmes.org/

1

2

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

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

The Mystery of Albuquerque’s Development

“Nobody would teach me anything!”
–Edward Van Halen on the impetus for developing his original guitar playing style

I saw some press in the Daily Lobo and ABQ Journal on the rapid transit project this morning.  This discussion is a leap for Albuquerque.  Though we can cite other city’s projects, we truly are learning how to do great transit in Albuquerque as we go along.  The Daily Lobo article shared this photo (below) of a rendering of a transit station.  And mentioned that the Federal funds would provide 80% of the project costs.  ABQ’s investment of 20 million could return about 2-3 billion in private investment along the Central Ave. corridor.  Private investors come to where the public sector is building a strong foundation for long term community improvement.

ABQ Rapit Transit station rendering 2015.9.18

It looks like a comfortable and relaxing streetscape.  I’ve heard different arguments based on fears about the shift in modes this change offers.  Because transit, walking and biking are many times more efficient than private motor coaches, the overall capacity for helping people enjoy Central Avenue will be enhanced with improved rapid transit service.  That’s why all world class cities have invested in superb transit.  A transportation CEO would see this is as easy executive decision to make.  It’s more efficient, safer and creates better options for everyone.  Rapid transit service spans the economic continuum and includes people that can’t afford spending $10,000/year on auto travel, or who want to invest their funds in education, family travel, or other enterprises.  It helps people save money, improves the environment, and it may come in handy for all of us to let a professional do the driving from time to time.

Competitive transit creates paradigm shifts in the transportation system.  With quicker, more user friendly and reliable transit service, it becomes possible for residents off of Coors on the West Mesa, and Tramway on the East, to ride bikes, walk, or take transit to the express line and commute in to their jobs, school, or for cultural activities throughout central Albuquerque using multi mode travel.   Since this type of project planning is new to Albuquerque I think it is natural there is a learning curve, and it is a process and investment to build up the public trust.  The framework should continually be refined and strengthened by public and private partnerships working together.  The re-creation of the heart of Albuquerque is an ongoing development.  Transportation is a powerful tool to align and structure cities and attract people.

This transit is a good opportunity for spreading the goodness of Nob Hill’s stimulating and vibrant action with new iterations driven by the local themes in diverse neighborhoods.  Same great service throughout the corridor, with variations in flavor and style.  This is the core ingredient for urban vitality.  Albuquerque has it.  If anything the new rapid transit proposal is not ambitious enough, but extending service or doing light rail is considerably more expensive.  And the transit authority is already talking about the next steps in expanding service and connectivity in the system along the airport hub and Paseo del Norte corridor, which is good.

Albuquerque Rapid Tranist represents a renewal of our whole city.  A big part of our identity and how we see things stems from how we move.  Being able to sit back and relax, talk to neighbors, and make travel time productive time whether for work, reading, or resting makes a huge difference in our capacity to enjoy the amenities living in this great city offers.  We don’t have to worry about being able to enjoy our driving.  We’ll always be able to do that.  Expanding mobility freedoms and welcoming diversity in America has been key to our success.  I would dare to say that leading edge transit is an integral aspect of the new American dream.

Resources:

Vancouver’s Greenest City Plan is forward thinking, inclusive and smart.  We still have more sun.  And we have genuine, great, diverse people who deserve improvements.
http://vancouver.ca/green-vancouver/greenest-city-action-plan.aspx

The Daily Lobo’s article Central Rapid Transit Improves Commuter Flow
http://www.dailylobo.com/article/2015/09/plans-for-new-rapid-transit-system

The Albuquerque Journal also had an article this morning that searches for a cohesive narrative on modern transit and how it supports economic and social mobility, and makes our transportation system more robust, flexible and accessible.

Blue Horizons with SLO Initiatives

The photo below is Albuquerque’s main street circa 1960 from this article.  The article is a tough read (I don’t necessarily recommend it), but the picture shows where we are coming from.  This is the legacy we inherited and are redesigning to an environment that invites mobility freedom.

ERNST-HAAS-Alberquerque-2716744-1024x641

The San Luis Obispo Air Pollution Control District — slocleanair.org — is doing some really cool things.  They have this character named Eco Man who draws attention to positive behaviors.  Getting to work and conducting business in an efficient way is good and natural.  Eco Man helps trigger those thought processes and points out the exceptional power in human decision making.  Eco Man is really corny.  I like him.  I could see him working at Esperanza in ABQ.

Another dimension of creating change is putting clues and signals in the landscape, such as  infrastructure for walking and biking, that make for attractive places.  One of the changes in infrastructure we are seeing pop up around Albuquerque is the sharrow.  It is cheap and basically gets more sustainability value out of the existing infrastructure by inviting people to bicycle where they are already should be bicycling.  It is a little “yes we can”.  Yes we can bicycle and walk more beginning today Albuquerque and the American Southwest.   The sharrow and things like “share the road” signs and bike lanes help activate the sustainable transportation potential.  Keep looking for ways to use the natural and built environment in healthy ways.

piñon road

natural probike/walk attributes are abundant.  Tijeras Canyon takes you to a plethora of country roads available to pedal and Tijeras Canyon itself is a wonderful cycle route, part of Adventure Cycling’s Route 66 cross country sojourn

Bear Canyon Arroyo I-25 Bridge

The bear canyon arroyo bridge over I-25 is a delight to ride especially around dawn and dusk

2015.8.27 sunset from Bosque Trail

The Bosque Trail along the Rio Grande green belt through the middle of Albuquerque is always perfect

2015.8.27 sunset from Diversion Trail

The high desert is so very pretty at night. Albuquerque is known for lovely sunsets, beautiful skies, visual splendor

The places to ride here are amazing.  SLO has a few programs we could adopt for Albuquerque that would help incentive change here too.  I’m pulling these from their newsletter May 2015:
1) Wood burning device changout program.  They’ll give you $1,000 or $2,000 dollars to change over to a clean burning heating system.
2) Rideshare rewards.  They’ll pay you to choose an option other than driving your car solo to work or school.  It can be the bus, the bicycle, skateboard (kids are smart), telecommute, etc.
They also have a clean school bus program .  They are changing out older dirty diesel engines or adding particulate filters to make them cleaner.  This is critical since young people’s lungs are more vulnerable when developing, and also helps buoy mental attitudes when we see greener buses and heavy machinery operating with care.  I think we’ve got what it takes in Albuquerque and all we have to do is get behind initiatives that help us all and take a course of action to be a part of the positive change.  This is something that would be good to rush after.

Transformation

curves

crow flies

Las Campanas Classic 2015 Photos

Sansai Studios has the New Mexico Road Race State Championship photos available:

Sansai Studios

Thank you to everyone who made this race possible.  The winding, scenic course was challenging and beautiful, and the host community was kind and welcoming.  The RA Racing Apparel / Trek team are elevating the level of bicycle racing in New Mexico.   They donate proceeds from the race to the Las Campanas Community Fund/Santa Fe Community Foundation, which raises money to support local non-profits serving the Santa Fe Community.   May the tradition of bicycling in New Mexico keep flourishing.  Good effort everyone.  I’ll be posting a race report here in the coming days.

Big Thanks to our Fathers

Big Thanks to our Fathers

Dad recommends Bach and it may go nicely with the Sansai Studio photos.

Bike In Coffee: ABQ Bike + Business Friendly

“Bicycle destinations make multi-use trails more useful.  We see Albuquerque as the place where bike friendly and business friendly come together.”  –Lanny & Linda, Old Town Farm

Pedalers welcome.  Come to Albuquerque’s integrated zoning ordinance development meetings next June 23 & 24 and learn more about helping Albuquerque get moving in healthy directions!

Learn more about how “accidental entrepreneurs” can turn ideas into reality:
Innovate ABQ is encouraging the creation of small businesses in Albuquerque.