This Saturday I made my first trek to the Balloon Fiesta by bicycle. From Fringecrest, it took 50 minutes to get there, 45 to come back and I've never enjoyed the event so much as I did this time. While others were cold and in long lines for coffee, I was warm, energized, and ready to enjoy. The coolest thing: Valet parking for bicycles. Just head up the North Diversion channel, turn right at the sign, and hand your bike over to the valet. No charge. No lines. No waiting. Simply awesome.

Some of my notes for the next time I do this:

If biking at 5AM, a walmart bicycle headlamp is not good enough. Get a high power light to see by. It took longer to get there because I had to go slow.

Check the bike map before heading out. I actually went all the way down to Yale/North Campus whereas it would have been much faster to head north on Washington to Cutler. Oops, 4 miles extra for me.

Go an hour later. Dawn Patrol just isn't that cool.

What are you pro-tips?

Views: 91

Comment by Masshole in Fringecrest on October 7, 2009 at 1:27pm
Yeah, ever since they completed that awesome new trail from Cutler, underneath Carlisle and along I-40 to meet up with the North Diversion Channel my (mostly theoretical) bicycle commute has gotten MUCH easier. Live and learn, my friend.

Kudos to you! How do you think my 5 year old will like it on the trail-a-bike? Nah, maybe next year....
Comment by cathyray on October 7, 2009 at 1:40pm
I have to admire the heck out of you. I could not ride a bike for 50 for anything & then have to get back home . . . amazing. I saw the bike valet & think it is a very cool idea. Glad to hear it works so well.
Comment by once banned twice shy on October 7, 2009 at 2:14pm
Congratulations, Brendan! I am glad people are using and enjoying this feature. This is really a great asset that the city added to the Balloon Fiesta experience.

Shout out to the volunteers from BikeABQ and New Mexico Touring Society for staffing the Valet service. I must admit I am not a morning person and therefore did not volunteer...

And Masshole, yeah, your five-year old might be less than impressed with the length of the ride at that hour of the morning. Or maybe at any hour.
Comment by Tricross on October 7, 2009 at 3:18pm
Thanks for the info. My wife and I are biking in this Saturday. We are both year round commuters, so we have the lights, gloves, warm clothes, snot rags...
Comment by Brendan on October 7, 2009 at 3:26pm
Hey folks, thanks for all the feedback! 50 minutes sounds like a long time to pedal, but since the terrain is almost exactly flat, it's really a breeze. This was not vigorous pedaling. This was barely-breaking-a-sweat-at-the-gym pedaling. You know, like when you're watching the TV instead of trying to get your pulse up.. The hardest part was the unnecessary trip through UNM back up silver.

After passing under Paseo I ended up passing a lot of families walking their way to the Fiesta- even a few kids in perambulators. You get an excellent view of the party from the bike path itself- no admission required.

I'm thinking about making another trek for one of the special shapes shows. I'll go an hour later and camcorder some of the ride if people are interested. Look for the guy with the gorilla pod on his head.
Comment by Flozilla on October 7, 2009 at 3:42pm
Heya - I think we are going to ride there tomorrow morning....maybe we could meet up?
Comment by Condor on October 7, 2009 at 4:58pm
Excellent! My wife and I, along with a brother and his wife coming down from Durango (with their nifty tandem) will be riding in on Friday a.m. This is such an excellent idea that we hope tons of riders take advantage of. No car hassles, shuttle bus snafus, etc.! Thanks for the tip about a strong headlamp, we'll use ours. But, we like the Dawn Patrol b/c we go to the pilots' briefing on the westside, which is a hoot. Dress warmly & in layers.
Ride on!
Comment by once banned twice shy on October 7, 2009 at 5:08pm
Megs: the valet service is indeed staffed by volunteers--from BikeABQ and NMTS. They are all cyclists, so they know more than anyone else how important your bicycle is to you.
Comment by ABQCityLife on October 7, 2009 at 8:07pm
Great post! We've wanted to try it out, but we live up Alameda. It would be a breeze getting there, but I'm too wimpy to pedal all the way back up Alameda to get home.
Comment by ziaMatt on October 7, 2009 at 10:17pm
Thank you Albuquerque.


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