Alibi V.19 No.33 • Aug 19-25, 2010 

Hail, Velocipede!

Trail-a-Week: Paseo de las Montañas

Betty Sprocket

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.

When I turned around to glare disdainfully at the dewy tufts of feathergrass that'd just gotten my socks all wet, I realized that Paseo de las Montañas actually does intersect Tramway: The start of the trail isn't a stretch of asphalt, it's a wooden pedestrian overpass bridge. You can easily access the bridge from the bike trail on the east side of Tramway, but if you're on the west, just go on through the feathergrass.

Wet socks notwithstanding, Paseo de las Montañas provided me with a chilled-out downhill coast alongside the Piedra Lisa arroyo, with some interesting backyard gawkage. Somebody’s got a whole homestead set up around a backyard tent, and some lucky little ankle-biter has two tree houses. The continuity of the trail isn’t perfect: Be sure not to veer off onto residential streets or it’ll be hard to find the path again.

When you reach Pennsylvania, your instinct will tell you to turn south, but you must resist it lest you get sucked into the heavily trafficked, lightly bike-laned environs of the Fairgrounds. Instead, dogleg north, then west into the Winrock wasteland. Skirt the parking lot and take the bridge over I-40. The trail ends at Constitution, an excellent corridor to destinations east or west.

As I was doing this ride early one morning, I realized pedaling seemed suspiciously laborious and noticed that one of my brake shoes was dragging on my front rim. It didn’t take five minutes of standing next to the trail in a posture of distress before somebody slowed down to ask if I needed help, hopped off his bike and produced an Allen wrench to loosen my brake. Thank you, blue T-shirt guy. To pay forward your Good Samaritanship, I will make a karmic contribution of my own: In the spirit of fostering a friendly community for all cyclists, I will hereby cease and desist making fun of nerdy recumbents, even though it brings me so much malicious pleasure. Here, guys, you can have your milk money back.

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.