This week, the news section talked about ghost bikes, memorials constructed around the state to mark the spot where a cyclist was killed by a vehicle. One went up in Laguna for the young activist who was riding across the country to raise money for breast cancer research.
The all-white bikes first began appearing in St. Louis, according to this site, but they've been installed across the country. They're reminders to drivers that we need to be aware and considerate of cyclists.
But many municipalities remove the ghost bikes. New Mexico's seen it happen. That bike in Laguna was removed by the state's Transportation Department. It was later re-erected after one activist found her way through some red tape. New York City is considering a adding a rule to the books on the "removal of derelict bicycles."
The problem, some say, is that the bikes are not treated as descansos, or traditional roadside memorials. Alibi.com ran a special websclusive article by Patrick Lohmann this week about the fight to keep ghost bikes in New Mexico.
The Ghost Bike in Laguna
John Anczarski, 19, was cycling across the country with three friends to raise money for breast cancer research. The University of Colorado student began his trip in Pennsylvania and was heading for San Diego. He was 10 days from his destination on June 21 when an SUV in Laguna, N.M., ran him off the road. He suffered head trauma and died the next day at UNM Hospital.
A Question of Descansos
The city and state have gone back and forth on whether they will allow ghost bikes to stand. Jennifer Buntz, president of the Duke City Wheelmen Foundation, champions the memorials for cyclists killed by motorists around the state.
Mission not accomplished
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.
Trail-a-Week: Paseo de las Montañas
Jeez, you guys, I’m runnin’ out of trails. For this, my penultimate week on the bike path beat, I had to search the map and my soul to find one I haven’t already written about. I couldn't remember ever having been on Paseo de las Montañas, and I couldn't exactly figure out why. The map showed it intersecting Tramway just south of Candelaria, a stretch of road I've traversed too many times to count. How could it be that I'd repeatedly ridden past an inviting bike-only turnoff without ever even noticing it? The answer is that there is no inviting bike-only turnoff. I made a couple of increasingly bewildered circuits on Tramway's western shoulder before giving up and hauling my bike through the grass until I found the trail.
Trail-a-Week: Paseo del Volcan
"Dammit, Sprocket," panted my buddy Drew as I mushed him down Rio Bravo like a sled dog. "Why do I always get more than I bargained for when I hang out with you?" Our leisurely Saturday ride on the Paseo del Bosque turned into a militaristic crusade after a conversation with another cyclist at a rest stop about our mutual loathing for backtracking. "If you don't want to turn around here," he advised us, "go down Rio Bravo. You can get all the way out to Paseo del Volcan. It's great out there."
"Gross," quoth my boyfriend when I told him I'd be riding and writing on Tramway Boulevard this week. "That road is home to the most aggro asshole cyclists in the whole city. I'll never understand why they insist on riding on the shoulder when a dedicated bike path is just 50 feet away."
Trail-a-Week: Paseo del Bosque (North Half)
Mmm, how about those gravid gray rain clouds lately? August, our wettest month, is nigh. When that musty creosote tang is in the air, a low sun shining under the numinous pillar of a classic anvil-shaped thunderhead, I always feel inspired to buy a blank canvas and demonstrate my searing love for the desert monsoon season by painting an extremely trite watercolor landscape. Alas, nothing that springs from the brush of Sprocket will ever be worthy of even the shittiest Old Town gallery, so I choose to express myself through the medium of bike rides.
Trail-a-Week: Foothills Open Space
Dudes, I'm serious when I say "skinny tires." The velocipede between my legs is a single-speed street bike, so when someone suggested I get off the asphalt, I was like, ew. But then I was all, hmm. I've never been mountain biking ever. Why? It’s scary. I'm not x-treem enough. I could fall into a cholla or succumb to derailleur angst. And dirt and granite just tend to clash with my cute spandex threads.
Lance Armstrong Will Not Win the Tour de France
At this point, that's old news. Everyone who follows cycling (and pretty much everyone who doesn't, as well) has long since come to terms with the fact that the once-unbeatable Armstrong is, at this point, old. In his own words, he's “just not fast enough.” He has acknowledged that, “ Lance Armstrong is over in about four days,” joining the rest of the world in celebrating and mourning his last race.
So why does this matter? Cycling always was and always will be bigger than just one man, right? The Tour de France this year is coming down to the wire, with a mere 8 seconds separating the current leader, Alberto Contador, from the second-place rider, Andy Schleck. The next stage, taking place in the Pyrenees on Thursday, promises to be drama-filled.
Still, at least here in America, there's Armstrong. He of the superhero name. He of the gravity-defying odds. He of the Livestrong organization. Armstrong captivates our collective imagination because of his story, because of his proto-American attitude and, perhaps, most of all, because of the way he refused to quit.
There are more than a few people the world over who do not believe that Armstrong accomplished what he did by legal or fair means. The constant hunt for him in the French press has gotten plenty of attention in the past, and just this month Andrew Corsello wrote a damning piece for GQ (which doesn't appear to be online in any version other than PDF for the iPad) where he claimed that Armstrong has lied so vehemently and for so long, he has no choice but to continue the lie.
So why does it matter that Armstrong will not win the Tour de France? It matters precisely for the aforementioned responses: People the world over, not just in America, react viscerally to Armstrong as a person and as a symbol. His story sparks people's hopes and dreams and the accusations against him spark our fears and nightmares. Beyond the overt symbolism, though, he matters as a person, too: He is a seven-time winner of the Tour de France, a feat unmatched in history. He grabbed all of his victories in that race on successive trips. And he did all of this after being diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer. When he arrives on the Champs-Élysées, it will not be as a champion, almost against our expectations. And that's worth watching.
Trail-a-Week: Bear Canyon Arroyo
"May 7, 1990. Dear diary, today we (me Dad Li'l Bro) went on a huge huge bike ride 14 miles it was so so fun. We went on one of those bridges across the highway. When we were done we went to this place called ‘20 Carrots’ and got a milkshake! PS All the waitresses wear earrings in their nose. Hoop and diamond."
Trail-a-Week: Paseo del Bosque (South Half)
Ah, Grandaddy Paseo del Bosque, that 16-mile behemoth that stretches all the way from Alameda in the north to Rio Bravo in the south. The best, most perfectly car-free artery in the entire city. The trail so epic that we're only going to talk about half of it this week.
The Daily Word 06.24.10: Downtown fire; mice infestation; Al Gore;
Three businesses affected by the fire last night at Broadway and Mountain.
A cyclist pedaling across the U.S. to fight cancer was hit by a car and killed in New Mexico.
Mice infestation closes Smith's at Coors and Central.
After a cockfighting raid, 70 confiscated roosters were killed.
More risky drilling by BP.
Five Americans convicted of terrorism by a Pakistani court.
Australia appoints its first female prime minister.
American Apparel on the brink.
Masseuse accuses Al Gore of sexual assault.
Use your welfare card in California casinos.
Tour de Body
Naked cyclists test the limits of the state’s indecent exposure law
When protest organizer Droston walked up to the police car to explain Santa Fe's nudity ordinance, he wore only a thong, shoes and sunglasses.
Trail-a-Week: Double Eagle
Now here's a random one for you. Surf over to easytomiss.org/trail_map and find the Double Eagle Trail. It’s that isolated green stretch on the northwest edge of the map. This trail is hard to find and not conveniently linked to any major bike thoroughfares. But, if you're packing a reasonably sized set of huevos and a soupçon of wherewithal, there's a great ride to be ridden out there. You can approach the trail on westbound Montaño or via my preferred route, northbound Unser. The Unser trail gets pretty awkward near the end, merging with the asphalt of the autobahn and narrowing perilously just as it launches into a punishing uphill slope. You can handle it. Huevos.