The bicycle might well be the most perfect invention of all time. Quicker than walking, healthier and better for the environment than driving a car, more versatile than riding a train or bus, bicycling is an ideal mode of transportation. Best of all, riding a bike is fun. It gives your body a workout when you're heading uphill. Even better, it gives your mind a cheap thrill when you're rolling down.
The response usually goes something like this: “Wait. How did you not learn how to ride a bike until now?” At which point I realize it’s not all that easy to explain.
Maybe it's creativity. Maybe it's being cheap. Maybe it's insanity. Whatever the reason, as soon as I saw the old Schwinn hidden among the tattered sofas at Goodwill I knew it was destined to be my new ride. For 25 bucks, it was atop my bike rack—complete with imperfections, disintegrating tires and a flaking paint job. The Schwinn wasn't in such terrible shape. It had wheels, pedals, brakes, gears, a seat, all the basic components one needs for a working, usable bike—except that it wasn't. My mission: to get it out on the asphalt again, back to its natural habitat of road and wind.
According to Albuquerque municipal bike laws, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists on the road. They have the right to take up a lane of traffic as well as the responsibility to obey streetlights and stop signs. Sometimes the safest way to ride is by taking up the entire right-most lane, says Julie Luna, former president of BikeABQ, a local nonprofit bicycling advocacy group. This is especially true, she says, when the lane is small enough that a cyclist's presence forces autos to change lanes to pass.
What amazes me the most about these restrictions is that they show how badass cyclists can be. The fact that our city had to make regulations about some of these biking activities draws a picture for me of a speeding circus bear holding packages in each hand, breaking the sound barrier and barreling down the walkways on a unicycle. Here are five of the most interesting Albuquerque bike laws.
Among lovers of the great outdoors, New Mexico is renowned for its rugged and breathtaking terrain. This reputation is mainly due to the fact that the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains cuts through much of the state, creating an ideal environment for outdoor activities—mountain biking being one of the most popular.
Michael Chavez just began work as an account executive at the Alibi last week. He's probably the most hardcore cyclist we've ever had at the company.
BikeABQ Bike Swap—Get rid of that old junker and find a new ride at the BikeABQ Bike Swap at Sport Systems (1605 Juan Tabo NE) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. Make sure to get there early, since over 50 percent of the gear sold in the first three hours last year. Call 224-3454 for more information.
Albuquerque Veloport: www.veloport.org