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My two wheels get ticketed

Today across the country, cities celebrate national Dump the Pump Day by encouraging public transportation. By cutting back to one car, a two-person household can save more than $10.000 a year according to the American Public Transportation Association.

Teams from ABQ RIDE and the Rail Runner are doing their part by handing out goodies on various bus lines and Rail Runner trains throughout the day to promote a car-free lifestyle.

Me, I got a different kind of goodie.

As a bicycle commuter I wear a helmet and look both ways. But, I admit, I occasionally stretch traffic laws.

On June 16 at 9:43 a.m., a motorcycle cop flagged me down. He called me out on a violation of failing to obey the traffic control device at the corner of Silver and Cornell.

As surreal as it was to be standing on the sidewalk with my bike while an officer ran my driver's license through the system, it was even weirder to read the resulting warning notice.

License plate number—BICYCLE

Vehicle year—1900 (actually, 1988, but whatever)

Color—BLU (I'd call it gray and teal with yellow brake cables and red handle bars)

Under the line for make and model there is no mention of my aluminum frame Raleigh Technium other than BK. I think that stands for "bike."

Bicyclists are quick to defend our harmless commuting lawlessness. The truth is if we want to officers on our side, we need to follow the rules or pay the price just like everyone else on the road.

But is it wrong if I'm hoping my next violation is a speeding ticket?

V.19 No.34 | 8/26/2010

Hail, Velocipede!

Trail-a-Week: Kirtland

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.

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V.19 No.33 | 8/19/2010
Betty Sprocket

Hail, Velocipede!

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.

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V.19 No.32 | 8/12/2010

Hail, Velocipede!

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."

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V.19 No.31 | 8/5/2010
The autoless portion of the Tramway trail near Candelaria
Betty Sprocket

Hail, Velocipede!

Trail-a-Week: Tramway

"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."

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V.19 No.30 | 7/29/2010
Betty Sprocket

Hail, Velocipede!

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.

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V.19 No.29 | 7/22/2010
Betty Sprocket

Hail, Velocipede!

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.

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V.19 No.28 | 7/15/2010

Hail, Velocipede!

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."

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V.19 No.27 | 7/8/2010

Hail, Velocipede!

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.

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V.19 No.25 | 6/24/2010

Hail, Velocipede!

Trail-a-Week: Double Eagle

Now here's a random one for you. Surf over to 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.

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The Bike Section

This week, the Alibi’s news was themed.

First, a look at the struggle to keep ghost bike memorials standing in the state.

Next, a bike trail review by Betty Sprocket. Hail!

And finally, naked riders plan to ride nakedly through Santa Fe’s streets on Saturday to protest our dependence on oil. Actually, the riders will only be naked within the limits of the law.

For you, our unmotorized two-wheeled comrades.

V.19 No.24 | 6/17/2010
Betty Sprocket

Hail, Velocipede!

Trail-a-Week: Paseo del Norte

The Paseo del Norte trail has an awkward dead-end terminus just east of the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute on Coors. If you have to haul your bike out to the trail with your car, this would be a convenient place to park. If you'll be arriving on two wheels, join the Paseo del Norte trail at its intersection with the Paseo del Bosque trail.

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V.19 No.23 | 6/10/2010
Betty Sprocket

Hail, Velocipede!

Trail-a-Week: South Diversion Channel

Don't forget your water bottles, you guys. It's getting hot out there. Betty Sprocket has been sweating so profusely she feels like she was baked in a salt crust after getting home from a ride. Today we're riding the South Diversion Channel trail in a big loop that circumscribes some South Valley neighborhoods and industrial yards, a short portion of Rio Bravo, and the dry, open throat of the South Diversion Channel itself. Get on at the southernmost tip of the Paseo del Bosque trail (near Rio Bravo and the river) and keep going south. Paseo del Bosque becomes the South Diversion Channel. I guess you could ride east on Rio Bravo and do the loop clockwise, but it's better to start out going south. The views are typical South Valley tableaux: junkyards, panels of endearingly bad graffiti, those dirt-bike-trail-covered hills rising up in the east. O, the many faces of Albuquerque. I love them all so much! Finish your ride coasting downhill on Rio Bravo, being sure to check out all the sweet South Valley rims you'll see rollin' by. Does anyone know where to get chrome dubs specially made for the velocipede? I'm ... asking for a friend.

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V.19 No.22 | 6/3/2010
Betty Sprocket

Hail, Velocipede!

Trail-a-Week: Paseo del Nordeste

So you stuck your bike on the Rapid Ride* and went up to the Northeast Heights to visit Grandma? The utilitarian Paseo del Nordeste will get you back home. The trail begins at Pennsylvania, where your enjoyment of the wide, well-marked bike lane will undoubtedly be mitigated by at least one jerkface parking a car on it. Cars! Fuck ’em! Heading west means heading downhill. Since you won't be occupied with pedaling, amuse yourself by admiring the Hahn arroyo on the north side of the trail or peering into the backyards that line the south side. (Confidential to homeowners whose properties abut the trail: Could you guys do more nude sunbathing, please? Betty Sprocket craves trailside titillation.) Be smart and slow way down at the low-visibility road crossings, and you'll have a quick and easy ride to the junction of the North Diversion Channel trail.

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