Burque Mega-Brewpub Bike Crawl II: A Tale of Two Goatheads

I’ve had a full 24 hours now to salve my emotional wounds, seal some 26-inch tubes and look back on my failed attempt to conquer all 26 or so Burque brewpubs in a single day of bike riding yesterday. It was such an epic journey that it requires multiple posts, or at least my sore calves me so. I’ll recap a detail or two here, before writing up a little something for Duke City Fix in the morning.

Most germane to the idea of “Better Burque” is that my trip yesterday was fabulous. Even the failure part. Yes, there was hardship. Yes there was wayfinding, re-wayfinding and riding on sidewalks when the wayfinding proved cumbersome to the point of impossible.  And yes, there were goatheads.  In particular, there were two goatheads.

Oh, there were far more than two goatheads in all the sidewalk-free dirt traversed when the wayfinding left even concrete unavailable. Far more. But two goatheads, and the gambling they induced, that played key roles in yesterday’s fabulous, yet aborted, assault.

But first I want to talk about lusciously creeping economic development at the edges of downtown and Barelas. I made it to 16 Burque brewpubs yesterday, scattered all the way from within easy sight of Rio Rancho to the corner of Eubank and Montgomery deep in the Northeast Heights.  I rode 50.07 miles according to my Protege 9.0 bike computer, the only electronics I employed until I borrowed a cell phone to call my wife. And I want to talk about the brewpub from which I called my wife on that borrowed cell phone: Sidetrack Brewing.

I saw plenty of places yesterday, including old friends like La Cumbre and places I’ll probably never go to again, simply because they are roughly a jumbo jet plane ride away from my South Valley domicile, like Sandia Chile Grille at Wyoming and Paseo del Norte. But it is Sidetrack, in between Lead and Coal on 2nd Street that sticks most in my mind, and not just because of goatheads or that it was my last place visited.

Which gets me back, finally, to creeping economic development. For Sidetrack is the first brewpub to cross south of the very clear but unofficial line that is Coal Boulevard. While brewpubs have exploded all over town, or over much of town as I’ll get into more later, none have dared, for years, to cross the Bridge of Zoning Death that is Barelas and the South Valley when it comes to brewpubs/bars.

Sidetrack is still in the process of answering “me these questions three” when it comes to Barelas, for the place cannot serve growlers until it convinces Barelas to give a go ahead. It strikes me now that I have no idea what entity in Barelas has control over such issues (maybe it’s the Historic Development District?) but I have excuses in that I: A. Didn’t have a reporter’s notebook when talking to the unbelievably nice and helpful owner/bartender who told me this; B. I had just ridden 50.07 miles after having not done long rides all Winter; C. I was drinking a rather tasty IPA, after having triumphantly ridden down Lead to conquer my last ten, easily reached, brewpubs around downtown.

Still, that Sidetrack is open south of Coal is a strikingly important thing. That it is also tied to a coffee shop/arthouse next door and has a lovely shared courtyard out back with said shop is wonderful. I didn’t take photos inside documenting Sidetrack’s insightful use of actual railway track as ceiling beams and bar patron footrests (see A, B and especially C above for why), nor did I take shots of the Gothically fascinating and alternatively horrific view of the Gertrude Zachary mansion directly across the street.

Yeah, I saw all these fascinations, but only took one photo, the same bike/brewpub shot I decided upon to “verify” my having “conquered” yet another of the 26, or so. Here you go:




Oh, I did take one more shot outside Sidetrack, but it’s a much sadder shot…


Yeah, that’s a $70 (for one tire!) Schwalbe “Extreme” with a flat there. You can just make out the front of the adjacent coffee shop at this sturdy, old school bike rack. The one with a locked bike featuring a $70 flat tire. In Schwalbe’s defense, I have at least 8.000 miles on this tire, but it’s not the mileage. It’s the goatheads. Not even German technology is as good as that offered by nature and goatheads.

So why is this a story of two goatheads? Well, I probably ran over a thousand goatheads in yesterday’s ride, almost all of them located in our less bike friendly northwestern sections of town. And yes I am talking about Coors and Alameda. And Coors. And Alameda (the irritatingly un-bike laned area between Balloon Fiesta Park and the Interstate). And so it was that I discovered a goathead outside my most far-away brewpub, Lizard Tail Brewing at the aforementioned corner of Eubank and Montgomery.

Being a gambling man, I take a good look at goatheads in my tires. If they look too deep, but the tire is still inflated, I pass and hope, for that is all I have. If they don’t look too deep, I play with them a bit, decide if they are, in fact, not too deep, and pull them out. Then I wait and listen.

It was at the corner of Eubank and Montgomery, approximately three time zones away from my house, that I first waited and listened yesterday. Nothing.

I rode downhill to the North Diversion Channel and environs brewpubs, bagged them, then mowed down Bosque, B2B and Kelly’s. Still no loss of air. I rode down Lead to Sidetrack, triumphantly, as I earlier gloated.

The photo above shows the result of Goathead Gamble #2. It didn’t look too deep. And the tire cost $70 (for one!). I gambled all-in, and lost.

But all was/is not lost. For one, I was able to sit and enjoy Sidetrack Brewing for quite a while, something I’d not done all day at any of the other 15 brewpubs I visited. I stared at the actual rail track, borrowed a cell phone to call my wife, and stared at the horrors of the Gertrude Zachary mansion. I also had a very interesting cask conditioned pale ale.

Things could be worse. In addition, I still have nine or ten more downtown brewpubs unbagged. Hence I must, simply must, make another assault on the brewpubs of Burque. To quote Housman again, “if we can, we must.” And, having 24 hours to salve wounds and patch a tire, we certainly can now.

Anybody wanna join me?


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