Category Archives: Everyday Rides

Magic magic magic, or, ode to cycling

You mean I’m the one who has to change?  –Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

Cycling at Great Sand Dunes last September

Cycling at Great Sand Dunes last September

When times are tough I have to admit that it is not all bad.  This song makes me think of that.  How can life be so tough when I have the freedom and opportunity to ride my bicycle?


Cycling has such great rewards.  Every ride is a sensual experience of the land community.  Ride by ride the landscape enlivens us.  Every effort gives us strength and knowledge.

The Wedding Rocks in Japan

The Wedding Rocks in Japan

This month marks the 20th year since I started cycling daily.  I moved to Reno, Nevada in 1997 and fell in love with cycling, the Great Basin desert, the Sierra Nevada mountains, with learning, and my wife Mai.  That was sweeping change in my life, all because I dove in.  Cycling calls on us to dig deeper, awakening something inside.   It puts us in touch and builds our capacity for empathy and wonder.  Cycling shifts our perspective from detached to engaged, from separated to in touch, especially with the world around us, recognizing we are all made from the same fabric.  Cycling shows us we are all one.  Cycling emancipates us.


in Bernalillo on the road

Everyone I talk to who cycles has something to share about how cycling provides structure to their lives.  When integrated into routine, cycling is a way of living.  A commute can help blow off steam and refresh the day.  A Saturday morning ride can be a social occasion with friends, with family.  Ride by ride you build your life like a stonemason laying the foundation of your home.



Cycling is making the day your own.  Propel yourself joyfully into nature’s order.  The heart that beats to the cycling rhythm is timed to kindness.  Our minds are illuminated by making our way in the world with the simple proposition of a bike ride.  And road cycling is a virtual Leave No Trace activity.  It is way to put sweat equity back into our communities.  To be a good example for our kids.  To be a kid again.  It is amazing how a simple act fills us with such joy.


Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.  — H.G. Wells

The Nature of Change

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.  –Martin Luther King Jr.

What does it look like to treat others in a way that contributes to their health and well-being?…It looks like honoring their dignity.  –Donna Hicks, “Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict”


On Saturday I was at home working from my computer.  I was taking a day off the bike.  After all is was forecast to rain and snow.  But I felt restless midmorning, and the sun was shining.  Then I realized there was a mobile food market  happening downtown that I wanted to check out.  The perfect confluence of reasons converged on my morning plans.  I had a desire, I had a reason, and sunshine.  I was out the door at 11am pedaling down Zuni toward downtown.



On Zuni Road a dark grey cloud produced a fabulous hail storm.  White pellets ricocheted off my face and bounced like ping pong balls on the ground.  I covered my red skin and pedaled on!  Downtown I came across the Women’s March.  Civic Plaza was full of citizens rallying, people speaking what they believed.  Peace, loving earth, science & reason, ending every form of discrimination and bias, equality all around.  Government for and by We The People.  It didn’t feel like a protest.  It was a broad coalition of emerging leaders walking forward.


The atmosphere generated by the buzz of the crowd and inspiring talks from leaders on stage was electric.  One of the key elements that makes this kind of inclusion possible is the strange paradox of human life.  We have dual properties acting simultaneously.  Diversity is part of the richness of the human tapestry and we rightly celebrate it.  And at the same time we are able to relate to each other because on the inside, there is a common bond.  We are all the same.


E pluribus Unum–out of many, one–is the motto of the U.S.A.   I believe it is characteristic of leadership to treat others well and live universal values–peace, inclusion, understanding, responsibility, empathy.  To stop bullying, we cannot be bullies ourselves.
“The last refuge of intolerance is not tolerating the intolerant.” –George Eliot




We’ve always known by intuition and feeling that treating others well is the most satisfying action we can make.  And now we have science–biology and psychology–informing us that our actions count.  “The research tells us, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the way we treat one another matters” (Hicks p. 125 in Dignity).  As Abraham Lincoln said, “We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies.  Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.”  Pay it forward.  Everyone, not only U.S. Citizens, are worthy of the dream.


The Many Faces of Cycling, Most Beautiful Ones

I came home from a Saturday morning ride with friends, ate lunch, started reading and came across this.  An article called Pimp My Bike: Detroit’s Custom Cycles in Pictures in The Guardian.  Here are a few pictures from the article.  Photos are credited to Nick Van Mead, from the article.




Ashia, waving in the photo above, is quoted in the article saying she feels safer with groups, “It’s positive — and God Knows in Detroit, we need positive things like this.”

This blog is usually original posts, but obviously the Slow Roll movement in Detroit merits our attention.  They are innovating and reaching out to expand the conversation about our public roads, our cities and neighborhoods, economic renewal, social wellness, all propelled by bicycling.  This movement is bigger than any one group, in fact, it’s a global movement.

“It makes the city far more human…they have conversations, make eye contact…the people are friendlier” than they were before all these rides started, says Todd Scott of the Detroit Greenways Coalition (quoted from the article).  And my goodness, don’t we all need friends.

Go read the article on The Guardian, it conveys the beautiful essence–
Photo Credits to Nick Van Mead
I’ve blogged about Slow Roll before.  Let’s be cities of friendly bicyclists.
Check out my post Green Infused Classic Cars for another innovator, a very famous one.
And more landmark journalism by Nick Van Mead and The Guardian–
America’s Road Trip: Will the US Ever Kick the Car Habit

Pedalling Circles Changes the World

Albuquerque celebrates Bike to Work Day on May 20.  Every day can be bike to work day.  But it takes only one day to get the habit rolling.  If you keep up the practice of biking to school or work, you can change your life.  Daily bicycling creates a more vital life.  A vital person energizes those around them.  By changing yourself you influence the world.   Make a bold decision.  Leave a legacy.  Ride your bike, or walk, to school and work today.  You can win a prize.   

ABQ BTWD Poster2016

Details on the Greater Albuquerque Bike to Work Day event are here–

The Bicycling Movement

“As more people join in it’s less risky.” –Derek Sivers, How to Start a Movement on TED

This TED talk reminds me of what it takes to get safer streets for walking and bicycling.  It takes a few forward thinking people to recognize that active transportation makes a lot of sense and when we join in and invite our friends we make beautiful dance steps in our streets.  Next time you see someone walking and bicycling, have the courage to follow and become a leader.  Here are pictures from the bicycling life around Albuquerque, early March 2016.

Bosque family cycling

Impact and coffee



blossoms up

Resources: Check out SINC’s facebook page  (Social Impact through Nonprofit Community) for the Impact and Coffee events on Tuesday mornings.

Seize the Day


I’m pretty sure the slower I ride, the more time I have to absorb what I see.  Plus I have time to chat with people.  This is such an exciting time of year to Spring forward making life anew.  Change happens one conversation and one bike ride at a time.  Carpe diem, walk bike talk.

Trail Miles

Elena Gallegos glow

Seize the day

La Luz in the fold

The confinements of the road are also the conditions of its freedom.  –Kenneth Burke, 1966

Experience the World by Bicycle

La Luz layers

looking at the Sandia Mountains from the La Luz Trail Road, Forest Road 333, Albuquerque, NM

Bicycling empowers us to use our bodies in the environment to serve our well being and meet practical needs.  Through bicycling we learn about the interdependence of social and natural systems, and we create virtuous cycles between people and nature within those integrated systems.  We do this by seeing biodiversity–the variety of life surrounding us–in greater detail and by developing appreciation for cultural ecosystem services, which are “non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences” (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment).

We produce material benefits when we bicycle such as carbon reduction and maintaining the integrity of landscapes (by practicing quiet, clean, low impact transport) but we also build value with the kind of conversation we are making with the places we ride in.   We receive inspiration, make social relations (bike culture), we experience beauty up close, enhance our sense of place, and build knowledge.  We overlay the physical place with cognition and imagination, which helps us be creative and feel more at home.   There are a broader range of reasons to bicycle than we have been promoting.  The satisfaction bicycling delivers can be translated in economic success, since tourism is the world’s biggest business.  By setting up our infrastructure and culture for bicycling, we get everything we want, everything we need.

Think ahead.  Collaborate.  Mobilize the change you want to see in the world.  Enjoy the ride.

References:  The ideas of cultural ecosystem services (CES) are explored in the journal Ecological Complexity in an article called Cultural ecosystem services in the context of offshore wind farming:  A case study from the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein by Kira Gee, Benjamin Burkhard
published online 24 March 2010

ABQ purple door explore

Delicious Piñon Day

Saturday’s ride turned out to be an absolute gem.  I started out late and missed the group ride, but that turned out to work in my favor.  I took it slow and instead of feeling rushed I was enjoying being in the flow.  I was in a timefree zone all day.  Coming down Tramway I saw this balloon land.  And then on 313 north to Bernalillo I passed about 35-40 riders, a meet up group called the “cycling peeps.”  Mai discovered them online the other day.  They are an all women group with about 300 members.  No website, no complicated clubs, just an online meet up network dedicated to connecting for a common interest, bicycling beautiful New Mexico.

early morning shadow

E Mtn Sign

ABQ peeps

The day was glorious.  High sixties, light breezes, and a crystalline sky.  The warming air coupled with moist soil draws out the fragrances of the biosphere.  Normally a day this warm would be alarming for the evaporation rate but the USDA says the snowpack is above normal.   Just a good day to relax and enjoy.  I decided to take the long route to San Felipe, then east.

crazy road

Cliff hugger

La Madera long view

Days like this epitomize why I love cycling in the Southwest.  I saw a youth soccer game on a field in San Felipe.  I looked for the herd of wild horses on the Hagan road but they must have been higher in the mountains today.  And after doing the nice loop around the Sandia mountains I climbed the Crest highway a little.  I went to mile nine.  When I turned around I could see clear to the snow covered mountains that rise above the sagebrush plains of Taos.  Great day.

dip in the road

William's road


Here’s the map from Strava:

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


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

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