My initial impressions of Santa Fe’s transportation infrastructure was from the seat of a 24 foot long moving truck. My focus for maneuvering this hulking beast through the smaller neighborhood we’ve moved into didn’t leave me much time to consider how friendly the roads were for bicycles. Now free of the moving truck and fairly settled into our new home I’ve had a chance make a determination about how bike friendly this city is. the verdict…it’s pretty bike friendly.
We live a block away from one of the main bike paths through the city. This path networks with other bike paths in the city but it also the main drag for folks looking to make a beeline downtown, which is what we are usually doing. The path follows the rail system through Santa Fe(which was built to move people from Santa Fe to Albuquerque and will allow you to carry a bike on board) and is more of a direct route than taking a car to travel in a north/south direction. There are a number of signs along the path to help you get where you are going. Some of them are painted on the path at road intersections and look like this.
Others look like this.
There are also a number of bike lanes on most major streets and secondary streets. They are wide and clean and pass alongside forward moving traffic at intersections (along the left side of right turning lanes) which eliminates some of the issue of cyclist getting hit as folks behind or beside them make a right turn. The city has also released a free, comprehensive map of bike paths and bike friendly streets. Each street is color coded on the map to let cyclist know what type of traffic to expect on each road. Busy or relaxed, fast or slow, etc.
While I really like the current set up here I’m sure there are ways they can be improved upon it. While looking around online for more info on Santa Fe’s bike friendly culture I discovered a “Master Plan” that won’t be completed until the year 2020 or so, but it appears to be quite an undertaking. The plan will “serve to coordinate investments in trails and roads, establish common guidelines for design, construction and maintenance, and develop shared strategies on education, enforcement and encouragement of bicycling as a transportation choice in the Santa Fe area.” If you’d like to read it for yourself you can find the document here.
So far, one of our favorite ways to spend a Tuesday or Saturday morning is to ride our bikes to the Railyard, which hosts a large and lively farmers market (complete with live music, food and drink, fresh everything and plenty of parked bicycles for us to ogle. There is also a nice selection of cafes, local shops and one of the larger outdoor stores in the area.
We’re also in the process of working out the best carrying bags/baskets for around town ventures. I’ve bestowed my Detours Toto panniers upon Hannah since they do not fit on my Surly Nice Racks (The diameter of the Surly racks is a bit too thick to fit the Toto’s with the pannier clip shims and too small to use them without the shims. I truly love these bags and their versatility and will be looking for something similar that fits my new rack set up. Any suggestions from folks who’ve already solved this issue would be appreciated. Of course my Ortliebs fit but they are a bit overkill for a trip to the grocery store and I’ve like to have quicker access to the items in the bags. I’m currently using just one of them.
Lastly, I’d just like to add that no matter where you ride a bike around here you always have the Sangre De Cristo Mountains or the Sandia Peak Mountains in the background. Not a thing I dislike about that!