Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Cycling in the Burque

The reason I was in Albuquerque Sunday is because of the great cycling paths there.

The theory Husband has postulated is that both cities hired someone who understands cycling, but Albuquerqe hired someone who likes cyclists, and Rio Rancho hired someone that hates them.

Albuquerquer's bike paths are dedicated paths that cross the city in a efficient manner that affords very little contact with cars. They run along diversion channels and rivers, crossing over and under roads as the channels do. They are the reason that Albuqueque is one of the tope 10 cities in the US for cyclists who commute. Their "Greater Albuquerque Bicycling Advisory Committee (GABAC)" works with city leaders. Their paths are well-connected, fully signed, well-maintained, and drivers are generally courteous.

However, I don't live in 'Burque. I live in Rio Rancho, the suburbs, amongst very large people who drive very large SUV's. (there are more Hummers here than I've seen anywhere) It's kinda like living in Hank Hill's world. They barely notice my Civic, much less a cyclist, on their way to the Megalomart, and they view cycling in a recreational sense, rather than a vehicular sense.

Bike paths that exist aren't connected and not appropriate for commuting. They're basically sidewalks, meaning that cars will block them while waiting to turn. Your course is likely to end abruptly and without warning, in a large patch of soft sand, pile of trash, thistles, the side of a car, a wall or fence.

So you're better off using the street. However, most streets do not have a bike lane. When they do, people routinely veer into them, use them for turn lanes, or park in them. 40th Street, on which resides the city's 2nd largest school, doesn't have a sidewalk, much less a bike path, and children commuting walk and ride their bikes on the 30" shoulder, hoping that people talking on the cell phones don't accidentally veer in their direction.

Drivers are generally hostile, despite New Mexico laws that require that they share the road.

The easiest way to get to Albuquerque from Rio Rancho is through Corrales, but the main roads going down do not have bike paths and have blind curves. Once in Corales, you have to share bike paths with equestrians, who for some reason are not required to clean up after their horses. Corrales is proud of their "village" way of life, which apparently includes large piles of horse manure.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Misty- Your "bike friendly community" and paths sound like ours! Must be something with living out West!
    I KNOW the lightning thing COULD happen.. (from a scientific point of view)...and I could also get struck while sitting in the bathtub or doing dishes! But I just wondered if anyone had ever really heard of this happening!??

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  2. You should submit this to "myth busters" to see if they'll investigate it!

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