By Fred Kamp
The Albuquerque Tour Geezers have returned from the September 21-27 adventure. No injuries, but innumerable flats. After several cancellations by other prospective tourers, those participating were:
- Gary and Suzanne Cannon
- Fred and Bonnie Kamp
- Dwayne and Jerri Lee
- Steve and Cynthia Wade
This is not an in-depth study of bicycling in Albuquerque; just a narration of the part that the authors experienced. Albuquerque has a large network of trails, lanes, and marked shared roads. Albuquerque is bisected between north and south by I-40 which runs east-west, and bisected between east and west by I-25 which runs north-south. It is contained between the Sandia Mountains on the east and the Rio Grand River, with bluffs on its west side. The terrain east of I-25 slopes up towards the Sandia Mountains, about 6 miles away, at an incline that is about like the hill out of the park on the Donut Ride. The north-south slope is a gentle decline to the south which is the direction that the river flows.
I had done an enormous amount of planning to produce ride maps and Q sheets for 4 or 5 rides. This included side jaunts to many of the 20 or so bike shops. However I should have made an advance planning trip since there were factors involved which were not apparent from the excellent bike route map that is published. For one, I picked a motel that had good connectivity to the east, but not to the west. (Who’s to know?) We didn’t see much fauna running loose, but we became experienced with that part of the flora that produces pointy seeds that cause flats. I stopped counting after the group score passed 7. I was the only one that didn’t have a flat; mainly because we had a group tire grooming session after each ride. (I was also the only one not on a recumbent, but I try to be tolerant.) We soon learned that the shiny material in the bike lanes was not uncut diamonds, but actually pieces of glass. This seems to be the case with bike lanes everywhere. We did encounter excellent side walks which we used when we thought no one was looking. (Heck, we didn’t care if they were looking.)
The first day, Monday, involved a trip to the Tram location at the highest point and in the northeast part of Albuquerque, right at the base of the Sandia Mountains. This permitted a coast down back to the motel. Gary, Dwayne, and Steve started the climb from the motel. Suzanne, Cynthia and I had Bonnie and Jerri ferry us to the Tram road. We started our coast, feeling our route, as details not on the map emerged. Suzanne coasted flat out while Cynthia and I controlled our speed (mine more than hers.) Suzanne purposely did this so that only she got to press the pedestrian light buttons at intersections so equipped. We interrupted our coast to visit a bike shop a little off the route. Shortly, we were joined by Bonnie and Jerri who were on a tube buying mission for Steve who was experiencing the first of many of our flats. The proprietor found only one tube that would fit Steve’s bike (a recumbent). It was an expensive pre-slimed tube that the guy said that most everybody used. This turned out to be a veiled warning. We eventually coasted back to the motel, using side walks in many places, particularly near the motel, where we ran out of shared use road. That afternoon we drove to a nearby enclave of bike shops that we had originally planned to ride to before we became knowledgeable of road conditions west of the motel. This included a large Performance Bike store and a REI store.
Tuesday, we ferried to an excellent trail on the river and rode to Old Town. We had lunch, shopped, watched some Chickasaws from Oklahoma dance, and rode back to the trail head, and ferried back to the motel.
Wednesday, Gary, Dwayne, and Steve decided to ride the Turquoise Trail highway to Santa Fe. This starts at Cedar Crest, a little east of Albuquerque, off of I-40, and in the Sandia Mountains. This is about a 50 mile trip and one hilly son of a gun. The rest of us drove the route and shopped at small towns along the way. We met the riders for lunch in Madrid. More shopping occurred while they forged ahead towards Santa Fe. We picked them up on the outskirts of Santa Fe. After a hectic drive around the square in Santa Fe, during the rush hour, we returned to the Albuquerque motel.
Thursday, Gary went off on a ride of his own to the Tram road. Dwayne, Steve, and I decided to ride down the river trail again and meet Bonnie, Jerri, Suzanne, and Cynthia at the Botanical Gardens. So the gals ferried us to the trail head and struck out towards the Gardens. We met them there, toured the Gardens and the adjacent aquarium, and had lunch. The Gardens and the Aquarium are excellent, in the must see category. The restaurant was in the aquarium and the walls were vast fish tanks with zillions of kinds of fish.
Friday, Bonnie and I started home. That day, as reported by Suzanne, Jerri, Cynthia, and Suzanne went to a plant nursery and back to Madrid. Gary, Dwayne, and Steve rode and visited bike shops. They all went on a ride on the tram that night and ended with a trip to Trader Joe’s for groceries and take out sandwiches, eaten back at the hotel. These were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone since they were all tired of eating out.
Saturday morning, just as they were leaving, they saw several hot air balloons. More and more kept appearing as they drove south on I-25 towards I-40. A beautiful sight!