There are two good ways to end a bike trip: run out of land, and ride back to your front door. I’ve run out of land in Key West and Baja, and I’ve started and left from my front door, but now there’s no place to call home. I’m flying to Alaska, in the winter, and buying a snow bike. At least it’s not without some fanfare, that this chapter fades.
The Great Divide has been my dirt highway all summer. Rather than checking places off a to-do list, I have grown the list several times. Need to return to: Montana, Crested Butte, Durango, Moab and Utah, Flagstaff and Arizona, Chama and New Mexico. And Pie Town. Such is the nature, and the value, of travelling slowly. The Gila is near the top of that list, for it’s hot springs and canyons, madly undulating topography, and forests of pinon and juniper. People used to live in cliffs here, as well.
As goes the Divide route, travelling south, the Gila is the last forested, mountainous riding. I descended out of the pines and into Silver City for a few days of rest and rummaging about town, but opted not to follow the route to the border, much of which is on paved roads. Instead, I spent time at the phenomenally funded and organized Bikeworks, the community bike workshop; and at the Bike House, the unofficial headquarters of Silver City bike activity and activism. The Bike House’s patriarch, Jamie, thinks that bikes are the solution, and represents his neighbors as city councilman. As a result, this town is in good hands; they’re moving forward on a pump track in the parking lot of the school. Jamie says that it will allow kids to develop their bike handling skills, which are important when they are subjected to the demands of real world riding; it will help with the goathead problem, and it “kills a parking lot”. That’s Newspeak for, if you don’t build it they won’t come (similarly, erase it and erase the incentive to drive and park).