John Fleck’s 2019 Albuquerque bike rides

With a couple of days left in 2019 I’m at 4,303 miles bicycled for the year, so I made a map. My claimed mileage is almost certainly not accurate to that fourth significant digit, but since I GPS all my rides it’s probably close. There are a few hotel fitness center miles in there, and a few rides when I took my bicycle with me when I traveled (to Colorado, Arizona, and California). But the vast majority of the miles were ridden on the roads of my home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

lunch at El Mezquite

My friend Maria Lane (an actual geographer!) dubbed this #geographybybike, a sort of aimless wandering around looking at all the things. A lot of aimless wandering around. A version of the map sans arty black background would show Albuquerque’s river corridor, tracing the trails on either bank. Add a time element and you’d see more and more rides on the valley floor riding ditch banks. A Sunday-specific geography would chronicle a growing relationship with cheap tacos.

I’ve lived in Albuquerque nearly 30 years, and been riding my bike here for 20. I used to be all zoomy and fitnessy, but as I approach senescence I’ve increasingly been about looking around.

It’s given me a fresh sense of my city. There are no bad days on a bike.



  1. Michael –

    I use several different gizmos – Wahoo Elemnt (cq) Bolt until recently, Garmin Edge 530 currently, or a Garmin watch. They all feed my ride data to various places, most importantly Strava. The Strava smartphone app will do the trick by itself, and there are other phone apps that work as well. There’s a crazy wonderful web site by this guy – http://www.jonathanokeeffe.com/strava/map.php – that I then use to make maps.

  2. Albuquerque is a very good bike town.

    When I went to college there, living at home in the NE Heights, I took the bus to UNM for one semester and couldn’t stand it. So I bought a really nice Bianchi for $400 ($1250 today) at a shop down on Central Ave near UNM, and Albuquerque had just put in a bike path from about Sandia High School to UNM, along the arroyos. I could beat the bus there. There were sometimes very windy days, that made it difficult, or, when the wind was in the right direction, that pushed me along like I was a sail. I rode year round, 9 miles each direction, bundling up in the winter when it was 20 F at 7 am to get to an 8 am class. I had a key to the UNM physics dept and labs, so I kept my bike in there. One semester I had a 7-9 pm anthropology class, so rather than ride home I slept on a lab bench in one of the physics dept laboratory rooms and no one ever caught on.

    Early in my 2nd year of graduate school I broke my tailbone playing squash, and even though I later had my coccyx removed I still have a lot of pain down there, and I’ve never been able to ride the same again. I can for a day or so, but the next day my butt is sore in all kinds of ways. I really miss it.

  3. Back in the day I biked from London to Ireland to Scotland, thence Norway, Sweden, Denmark, West Germany, Berlin, the Netherlands, Belgium, then down the Rhine Valley to Switzerland, then over the Austrian Alps ultimately ending up in Greece….we turned around and came back through Italy and France, then back to Londre…it wasn’t fun all the time, but it sure was an adventure! Tried to upload a picture of me with a huge beard overlooking the Rhine, but it was WordPress unfriendly….lol

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