The Sunday Bike Ride: Norbertine

When riding a bicycle on ABQ’s on Coors Blvd., even on a sleepy Sunday morning, ones thoughts inevitably turn to the spiritual. “What happens when we die?” must certainly be one of the most prominent questions flitting through any cyclist’s mind on this road.

Down here in the South Valley, the Feds just gave Bernalillo County $6 million to make at least one stretch of Coors (roughly Blake to Gun Club) safer. I think one of the SMART Goal” (trademark) outcomes delineated in that grant application must have been “One year after project completion, cyclists anywhere near this stretch of Coors will think of death at least 30% less than prior to project, as determined through survey data and scientific analysis of sweat levels and sweat chemical composition in attire of cyclists post-rides through this stretch.”

Very fortunately, riding Coors is somewhat less death-defying on a Sunday morning, and it was last Sunday morning when riding buddy John and I took in a bit of the Coors sights, sounds, smells, and sweat levels/composition between ~Pajarito Rd. and Raymac SW. A great many Burquenos have zero idea of where these roads are, so let’s put up a map.

If you read or even barely glanced at my last post, you’re correct in thinking the map above is derived in an app called Wandrer. The line segments in red are our route and the little blue over red segments are roads/ditches I’d not ridden before. You’ll note part of our ride was down Isleta Drain which is gonna make a fabulous paved multi-use path sometimes in the next few decades, but is right now a great to fairly nice stretch of unpaved ditchrider’s road all the way from “town” as we South Valley folks call it to I-25, as it curves west for a bit, and beyond.

These Sunday rides wander in the seemingly (and often actually) chaotic manner depicted above in an attempt to get more little blue over red line segments. There’s mostly red w/o blue on the map above, as I already “have” most of the roads/ditches down here because I live down here. Riding buddy John doesn’t, so we were tacking onto his already impressive total of BernCo roads taken.

An important tool in getting to new roads is this internet-capable tablet mounted on my handlebars. More about this setup and the other app shown here, Squadrats, in future post(s). For now, I’ll just say the biggest reason for the tablet is that I’m too blind to read a map on a phone.

You’ll also notice on the route map in red and blue-on-red above that much of my blue-on-red last Sunday came from crossing Coors west and heading up the mesa to what is depicted as a lake but is not really a lake. This new stretch of road, for me, was to and through the Norbertine Abbey (technicaly, The Norbertine Spirituality Center at Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey), a delightful set of buildings sitting bucolicly far enough away from Coors Blvd. that one’s thoughts turn to the good parts of spiritualism and away from the getting killed on Coors part.

Two other good things about the short trip up the mesa to the Abbey was that fine, smooth tarmac of road seen here and the chance to discover this:

That’s the thing about these Sunday rides and wandering rather aimlessly by bicycle in general, you’re gonna ride by at least one place, person, structure, etc. that you had no idea existed and adds to your understanding and enjoyment of the area. In this case, knowing that some folks had wit and gumption enough to name a small set of solar panels after somebody and put up a very official, interstate highway-like sign to commemorate that naming is beautiful. My knowledge of Catholicism is zilch (stories of Incan conquest aside) but I wonder if Pope Francis came out to the SW Mesa to personally bless the solar panels. Because that would be cool.

Fortified by the Abbey visit, riding buddy John and I went back to Coors and were blessed enough by the visit (or other factors) to make it alive to Raymac Rd. and more red line segments with some blue-on-red line segments. Another quality Sunday of cycling proving, once again as always, that there are no bad bike rides.

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