“What happens if we turn here?”

Alley, Albuquerque’s Old Town

I turned down this alley in Albuquerque’s Old Town on a bike ride this morning, amazed that I’d never noticed it before.

I spend a lot of time on the bike. I’m long past my youthful zoomy lifestyle, but in my slow and plodding way I have come to deeply value my time wandering Albuquerque. My friend Maria Lane (an actual professor of geography) calls it “geography by bike”. It’s based on a “what happens if we turn left here” approach to my city, and this year I logged 4,400 miles of it, nearly all here in Albuquerque. After a few years of working too hard and riding too little, it’s rejuvenated my view of my city. And me. Remember that feeling of freedom when you were a kid and grabbed a sack lunch and rode off to wherever?

And yes, I know the number of miles. Yes, I am a geek. Yes, I GPS every ride.

John’s geeky 2018 Albuquerque bike ride map

And I try to hit all the alleys.


  1. Holy Cow John,

    That’s over half the miles I would ride when I gave my life to the sport of bicycle racing. And I wasn’t doing any literary research like you – just giving the racing community something to do with themselves.

    Ride on!


  2. Jim –

    I have a Wahoo GPS unit, which feeds its data to Strava. It mounts on the bike and serves as a speedometer/odometer/everythingometer. But being a geek and amused by the data, I often have other measurement devices as well (I have a couple of watches with GPS in them, one from Polar and one from Garmin).

    Strava also works straight from any IOS/Android phone.

  3. John,

    Thanks so much for the quick reply. As many do on this day, I’m trying to get my butt back in gear. And since the Doc said that I have a knee of a man 15 years older than I am, I’m looking to the bike. And also being a data nerd, I appreciate your approach. Do you also capture heart rate with the Polar? I’ve become a heart rate trainer on the treadmill.

  4. Jim – Re knee, me too! One of mine is slowly falling apart, and for me the bike is a great way to take care of it.

    My Polar watch (Vantage M) captures heart rate on the wrist. It’s a good all-in-one solution, except that you can’t easily see it while you’re riding, especially in bundle-up cold. For the Wahoo, I use a chest strap, which feeds heart rate to the Wahoo, which I can see while I’m riding.

    The bike is the only way I could do this, because it’s kid play.

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