Albuquerque has earned numerous rankings as a great city for cycling including "Third-best place to bike in the U.S." by Bicycling Magazine in 2006. Cyclists love the city for its extensive network of flat trails winding through the city, intense New Mexico mountain biking trails within minutes of downtown and road routes throughout the area. The Paseo del Bosque trail runs a 15-mile route through the center of the city, set in the bosque, or forested area along the Rio Grande. In 2008, Sunset magazine ranked the Paseo del Bosque trail No. 1 for Top City Bike Rides.
Find biking resources at Things To Do: Sports & Outdoors: Biking, Hiking & Outdoors
Albuquerque, New Mexico Mountain Biking
Mountain bikers love the rolling terrain of the Sandia Mountain foothills, which have plenty of single track for biking, trail running and hiking. Several trails challenge mountain bikers with steep inclines and unique high desert terrain, including large boulders and arroyos (dry washes). These trails are accessible via Elena Gallegos Open Space on the northeast edge of the city. The foothills also offer an all-terrain park located in the Embudo Canyon Open Space, east of Tramway Boulevard on Indian School Road. The park includes a progression of jumps with varying degrees of difficulty and a BMX-only line.
On the other side of town, Petroglyph National Monument on the city's west mesa offers a moderately difficult ride with great views of the city below. The unpaved route loops around the inactive volcanoes; it is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
During the summer months Sandia Peak Ski Area offers 30 miles of downhill mountain trails. Take your bike up a scenic ride on the chair lift and choose from every level of trail, novice to pro. Sandia Peak has rental bikes and equipment available on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day. For more information, visit Sandia Peak online at www.sandiapeak.com.
For details on trailheads, parking locations and other mountain biking information in and around Albuquerque, check with the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division: www.cabq.gov/openspace/BikePathsinOpenSpace.html.
Road Cycling in Albuquerque
Challenging elevation changes plus dramatic scenic vistas make New Mexico a haven for road cycling. Professional cycling teams (Navigators Insurance team, TEAm Lipton and Astana Cycling) have come to Albuquerque for altitude training, while local road cyclists take advantage of the city's network of bike lanes. Albuquerque cycling clubs make scheduled rides each week; for details, check out a local bike shop or visit the New Mexico Touring Society's website at www.nmts.org. The City of Albuquerque Bike Map, available for download at www.cabq.gov/bike, details bike-friendly routes and dedicated bike paths including the celebrated Bosque Trail.
Albuquerque is also home to the world's largest covered BMX racing track, and is open to the public. It is used for training and competition at the novice and professional levels.
Here are a few basic guidelines for cyclists visiting New Mexico:
- Cycling on highways in New Mexico is legal, but be cautious and always ride with traffic. Watch for debris on the shoulders and be prepared for road conditions to change. Many of the rural roadways are in great condition, but other older two-lane roads may have crumbling edges and very little shoulder.
- Be prepared for goatheads, extremely sharp stickers
- (seeds, actually) that are found everywhere in New Mexico: on the side of roads, city trails and mountain biking trails. These will puncture heavy duty tubes, even with tire liners, so the best precaution is to use self-sealing tubes filled with a product like Slime.
- Some rural areas may have very few convenience stores or facilities available so bring plenty of food and water with you.
- Cycling can be a year-round sport in the Albuquerque area. The average January temperature is 47 degrees Fahrenheit, which can feel quite pleasant under our direct sun. But drastic weather changes may occu
r throughout the day any time of year. During the summer months, start early in the morning for a cool, peaceful ride; the summer sun is hot and intense in the afternoons. Brief afternoon rains are common in late summer, so bring your rain gear. Springtime often brings afternoon winds, especially in Tijeras Canyon.
- Sunscreen is recommended for any ride because of the high elevation and intense sunshine. Also, be sure to bring more water than you think you will need.
For additional information on trails and open space in the Albuquerque area, see Things To Do: Sports & Outdoors: Bike, Hike & Outdoors.