There's a U.S. Air Force Base in the middle of Seoul, South Korea. If the myths of the American expatriate community are to be believed, they've got a Taco Bell in there. After three or four months of nothing but gim, bap and gimbap, I’ve witnessed otherwise-reasonable American civilians so thirsty for Fire Sauce they start to plan insurrections and armed raids. While I was in Seoul, my craving for Enchiritos never reached such a fever pitch, but I finally understood that urge to overthrow the government this morning when I went to ride my bike out by Kirtland Air Force Base.
I have zero experience with the military and utterly failed to grasp the significance of my chosen trail being located on base. I mean, look at the map: bit.ly/aYBRcJ. Doesn't the green line in the middle look just like the green line that usually denotes a public bike path? Was it so unreasonable to expect to exercise my Constitutional right to ride? I rolled right through the base gate on Wyoming and blithely declared to the armed guard, "I'm just headed for that bike trail in there." Um, no. The guard stopped traffic, took my ID, and didn’t hand it back until I made a tight U-turn around his little shack and aimed my bike at the exit gate.
Sheepish but unfazed, I nipped down to San Mateo and spent a frustrating half hour failing to penetrate the base by way of the VA hospital. The closest I was able to get to that forbidden trail was USS Bullhead Park, where I stopped to salute the Department of Defense. If it can thwart a super-spy like Sprocket, our national security must be pretty damn secure indeed. So, civilians, until I decide to enlist, I guess I won’t be riding the Kirtland bike trail. But just like Fourthmeal in Korea, I don’t really need it. There’s plenty of other stuff on the menu.
Ugh, what a pathetic non-ride for the subject of my final column. That's right, folks, August is ending, and Trail-a-Week is ending with it. It's been such a pleasure to write for the Alibi all summer. As Betty Sprocket, I've rolled down obscure bike trails I never would've found on my own, been hipped to public transit pro tips (UNM and CNM students, take your ID to Student Services for a free bus pass!), and found an ideal public forum in which to dis Rio Rancho.
As for you, gentle reader, please don't despair when I'm gone. I know it will be hard to cram your feet into your toe clips without my weekly penny-farthing panegyrics to inspire you, but you must nut up and ride on. Autumn is a primo cycling season, and you won't want to miss a minute of the glorious blue sky and golden leaves and zephyrs heaving with hot-air balloons and shit. We are so lucky to have this lovely city to pedal around in, my fellow biciclistas, and I wish you happy trails all year long. Viva Burque. ¡Viva velocipede!