Trail-a-Week: Paseo del Norte
By Betty Sprocket
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.
Head east alongside Paseo del Norte. This route could almost be considered verdant when compared with the searing concrete hardpan of the para-arroyo trails. Most of the views on this trail are pleasantly pastoral. If it is your wont to pretend like you’re not in the middle of a city when you ride, just fire up your aural blinders and ignore the traffic roaring past you on the left. When you ride through the whimsically shaped Hobbit hole underpass near Fourth Street, you’re practically in the Shire.
The spell will be broken if you glance down at the trail and get an eyeful of the sad, sagging strips of plastic that the city stuck into the sandy foundations of Paseo for erosion control. Great job, Albuquerque! Really cool erosion control! Hey, now that we know about those nifty plastic strips, let's landscape the whole city with deteriorating heaps of dirt topped off with a few half-assed handfuls of gravel.
Oh, Betty, bite your tongue and just finish your ride. The PdN trail dead-ends into the North Diversion Channel trail, a most convenient jump-off for points south.
PSDo you guys know what GIS is? Anyone? No? It stands for Geographic Information Systems, and it's like cyber cartography. The City of Albuquerque has a world-class repository of free, downloadable GIS data on its website. You can view the files and manipulate the data with a free piece of software called Quantum GIS. You can even make your own maps, adding as much detail as you like. Even with very limited experience, I was able to produce a totally bitchin' map of the Paseo del Norte bike trail. Check it out.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Betty Sprocket, professor emeritus of the Skinny Tires Department of the University of New Bikexico, is here to lecture you about Albuquerque's many magnificent bike trails. You'll learn about a new one each week, so please take notes and do remember to do your homework: Get out there and ride.
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