I went into yesterday’s ride of the “50-Mile Activity Loop” with what proved to be more than one misconception. The biggest two were:
- It would be warmer than 19 degrees with about a 5-10 degree wind chill when we started at 8:30, and would warm to anything close to the 53 degrees forecasted.
- My innate cynicism about the Loop’s signage would be wrong, and the route would be signed far better than my skeptical mind could accept or imagine.
Wrong on both counts.
I could write on and on about these and other misconceptions in a review that would take longer to read than the six hours it took us to finish the 50 miles yesterday, but this is the Internet, so I’ll whittle that down to a few bullets and photos.
First, here’s what good to great about the “50-Mile Activity Loop”:
- The idea of crafting a multi-use loop all the way around Albuquerque
Okay, that takes care of the “good to great” section of the review. In saying that, however, we really do need to consider just how wonderful the idea is. Imagine you live in some place like Omaha, Memphis, or Wheeling, West Virginia. You really like long-distance cycling, and have exhausted all the rides in and around your home town.
You find out that Albuquerque, a place you’d always had on your “list” of future vacation spots, has put together an encompassing ride that circles the city, offering the chance to fully experience a city so very different in terms of climate, terrain, and such, while also getting in a terrific, and deliberately safe, bike ride.
What a tremendous idea! As someone who fits the characterization above, I most certainly look to see what the cycling options are in any prospective vacation spot. For instance, I spent Thanksgiving weekend in Carbondale, Colorado pretty much solely because of the 40+ mile Rio Grande Trail along the Roaring Fork River to Aspen. I know I’m a weird person, but there’s gotta be at least quite a few others with the same mentality in a country/world of several billion people. It’s just math and probability.
Hence, as eco/exercise tourism, the “50-Mile Activity Loop” is a really great idea. It’s also a good idea for locals who want a challenge, even on days when it’s 19 degrees with a 5-10 degree wind chill, not to mention those who see a Loop sign and think “hey, me and the kids could go out and ride a mile or two of this new Loop.”
Now on to what’s currently wrong with the Loop.
As previously mentioned, my innate cynicism, combined with the experience of having ridden plenty of bicycle routes in other places, had me thinking signage would be the Loop Achilles’ Heel. Well, that and the thought of including roads like Unser Boulevard on the route.
In fact, not trusting my cynicism, I’d come around to the belief that the signage could not possibly be as bad as what my evil mind had imagined, and that I would be oh-so-pleasantly surprised by how good the signage would be.
I should have stuck with my cynicism.
Photos below from Better Burque Official Staff Photographer John Fleck point out only a few of the signage problems that currently exist. We would have taken more photos, but six hours in the cold seemed enough.
This is probably the most “famous” signage problem at present, as it’s on the most popular ride in town, the Bosque Trail. We’re just north of Bridge Blvd., and the sign is telling us to go straight here, when we actually should take the little spur to the left to get to westbound Bridge. Of course this is a loop, so the eastbound signage from Bridge is probably a factor in how screwed up this sign is, but it’s still screwed up. This is exacerbated by the fact there’s no sign whatsoever on the south side of Bridge.
The lack of signage is the biggest problem with the Loop at present, something often hard to capture in a photo, but let’s try…
Here’s Paseo at Bosque Trail looking south. You’re supposed to go south, and then U-turn onto the Bosque Trail going north. Unfortunately, there’s no sign to indicate that. None. Zero.
And here’s my favorite:
This is some undefined place in the northwest part of town, as, to be honest, the entire northwest part of Albuquerque is pretty much “undefined” in my mind. See the arrow indicating that one should go straight? Also notice there’s no sign to indicate where Loop riders should go?
I took the “arrow” here thinking someone with chalk had performed a civic duty and obviated the need for a sign via this chalk mark. I was wrong.
______________ Abrupt Ending Alert _______________________
We’re out of bloggin’ time this morning to go into any deep reflection on the Loop signage issue, and will therefore make that pondering, and suggestions for improvement, in a subsequent post.
Meanwhile, back to work, everybody!