For some who haven't visited Albuquerque, New Mexico, images of dry, flat barren desert may come to mind. But there’s a reason Bicycling Magazine ranked the Duke City 20th of its "American’s Top 50 Bike Friendly Cities" in 2012. Whether you’re a fat-tire fanatic, a roadie or just someone who enjoys peddling through beautiful scenery in beautiful weather, New Mexico is the place to clip in and ride on. Mountain biking the Volcano Mountain Bike Trails. — Photo courtesy of Kat Larese
Fat Tire Fun
Albuquerque is surrounded with mountain biking trail systems. To the city's east, singletrack winds through 2,650 acres of foothills at the base of the Sandia Mountain. One popular trailhead begins at the base of the Sandia Tram and travels for 17 miles south throughout an extensive singletrack system in the Sandia Foothills. Downhill thrillers can drive to the Sandia Ski Area and bomb downhill, using ski lifts to get back to the top.
Mountain biking at the top of the Sandia Mountains. — Photo courtesy of Steve Larese
Other access points to the Sandia foothills are located at the end of Spain, Candelaria, Copper and Montgomery streets. Elena Gallegos Picnic Area is another popular starting place, or destination, for mountain bikers.
On the city's west side, the Volcano Mountain Bike Trails within Petroglyph National Monument offer challenging terrain mixed with sweeping views and fascinating geology.
Albuquerque has more than 400 miles of biking trails, most of which are paved for road bike use. One of the most popular trails is the Paseo del Bosque Trail, a 16-mile paved divided bike lane that follows the cottonwood-lined Rio Grande. Sunset Magazine considers this path one of the Top 20 in the West. Another popular road ride is the paved Tramway Boulevard path that travels along the base of the Sandia Mountains. Dedicated bike paths crisscross the city for commuters; the city of Albuquerque's website offers a complete map. These bike paths are perfect for casual riders and families as well. For serious roadies, riding the shoulder along N.M. 313 from Bernalillo to Algodones is popular, as is the Turquoise Trail from Tijeras (just east of Albuquerque) to Santa Fe along N.M. 14. As always when sharing the road with motorists, be attentive, wear bright colors and watch out for road debris. Always make sure you have plenty of water.
Albuquerque celebrates bicycling throughout the year, including October's Day of the Tread, a fun take on the Day of the Dead that benefits the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation and Casa Esperanza. Log on to the New Mexico Touring Society and the City of Albuquerque's Bike Page for information of upcoming events, maps and more Albuquerque bicycling info. Local Albuquerque bike shops are a great place to learn about trails and events as well.