Two Cycling Southwest Passages: Foothill SW & La Vega SW

The semi-official Better Burque Sunday Bike Ride (BBSBR) this morning focused on two streets we BBSBRs have recently discovered down in my “neck of the woods” in the South Valley. Yesterday, Saturday, while pretending to ride to the “Tiny Houses” public meeting at 82nd and Central (I didn’t quite make it), I came across a road for the first time that I’d heard about and always wondered “Why the Hell would they name a street in the South Valley ‘Foothill’. Foothill to what?”

Now I know why, and I also know why you absolutely must ride this road on your bicycle even before your earliest convenience.

Foothill S.W. follows the Arenal Main Canal from Blake S.W. to, after a curlycue or two, Atrisco just south of Central Avenue. It looks like this on a map (blue, “first” choice):

foothill blake to atrisco

More importantly, much of Foothill has JUST been re-paved (there’s not even striping yet) and the road surface on these portions looks like this:

foothill 2

Yes, that’s the Arenal Main Canal to the right in the photo above. Check out that pavement, cyclists! Also note the cliff off to the right of the Main Canal. You see, they tell me that height, up there, used to be the level of the Valley/River, but the Valley Floor has lowered over the geologic years, or at least months.

So. Foothill. Ahh…I get it.

Foothill Rd. follows, at times better than others, this prehistoric cliff that also serves (miles north) to give us those fabulous views at Pat Hurley Park north of Central, near the mouth/siphon of the Arenal Main Canal. Today’s ride also took us by Pat Hurley, but the fire haze was so bad this morning we didn’t take any photos. So here’s another photo of that b-u-t-t-e-r road surface on Foothill:

foothill 1
The cliff views while you effortlessly spin on this brand-new pavement are interesting in a very Albuquerque/South Valley way.

Having enjoyed my ride on Foothill so much yesterday, the BBSBRs went right back there today, ending south at Blake SW. From there, we visited another great north/south residential street in the South Valley: La Vega SW.

la vega blake to bridge

La Vega SW is basically a rolling South Valley history lesson, replete with the very old, very funky, and very unintentionally funny. To wit:

mixed messages
Keep Looking. Just a bit more. Got it?

Both La Vega and Foothill serve several very important functions crucial to happy bicycle riding:

  1. They are safe: very few cars, low speed limit, speed bumps in places.
  2. They are filled with interesting views.
  3. The pavement isn’t too bad on either, especially, now, sections of Foothill SW.
  4. AND…on these streets you can actually cover pretty serious north/south ground in the South Valley without having to ride on Isleta Boulevard or Coors Boulevard! In this way, Foothill and La Vega serve as extremely important “southwest passages” of safety for riders ages 8-80 between the Rio Grande River and the hell that is Coors.

And here’s the “funny” thing about Foothill and La Vega. Neither one of these streets is designated as a “bike facility,” i.e., bike route/lane/path/cycle track/multi-use path/you name it.

Nothing. At least not yet.

not bike routes
The brown line next to La Vega SW isn’t for the street, but for the dirt Atrisco Drain path on the Bosque. Foothill SW, as you can see, hasn’t a bike facility anywhere near it. 

Do the BBSBRs and yourself a favor and ride Foothill and La Vega, particularly if you haven’t previously. If you don’t come away from the experience thinking “this has gotta be a bike route,” your humble blogposter will eat his bike glove. More importantly, if you DO come away from this thinking they should be bike routes, let BB know and we’ll make sure your input in included when we bother those who must be bothered about such things. Or just skip the BB middleperson and bother them yourself.

By the way, the County Commissioner down here in the SV is Steven Michael Quezada. He’s the one who just voted against use of “Democracy Dollars,” and is hence already due for some bothering. Adding the need for bike route designation for these two exciting cycling Southwest Passages would make an excellent “and another thing” counterpoint to any input you might have on public financing of political campaigns.

Happy riding!








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