Real Transport

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I live on a farm.  This 12-acre urban plot is just south of I-40, north of old Route 66, and east of the Rio Grande River.  We are not the first people to live and work this land; in modern times, it is some of the oldest inhabited land in the state.  The floodplain provides nutrients for growth, and the shady cottonwoods offer respite from the sun.  On Sundays, only people on foot and bicycle may visit the farm to enjoy the setting and to purchase produce.  Discovery is inevitable at all ages.  Young boys find a grasshopper– they are a mere “three and a half quarters” years of age.  Adults learn how to harvest their own food.

Even with several children in tow and a pair of unruly three-foot gagutza squash, bikes are the way to go.  Bikes serve real transportation.  In a week, or in a month, what kind of cool things do you transport on your bike?  What are the most interesting places you visit in town?

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For more fresh images, check out Lael’s post “Salad. Salud.” on her blog, Lael’s Globe of Adventure.  Over the winter, you are bound to see more of our lives on the farm.  Last winter, Lael and I slid our mitts into pogies while riding fatbikes around Anchorage, Alaska.  This winter, we look forward to a full week of 65 degree days through Thanksgiving in Albuquerque, NM.  In addition to assisting with farm operation, we will also be helping to develop a new zoning designation for bike-in commercial enterprise.  Bike paths go places, which is good, but what if they allowed us direct access to the things that we need?  “Bike-in commercial” zoning could assist the growing culture of bicycles as transport, and could bring more value to properties along popular cycling routes.  The world of urban zoning seems like a complex patchwork, but we’ve got a fixed-gear Surly Cross-Check riding friend in the zoning office to help us navigate the maze.

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15 thoughts on “Real Transport

  1. Cool. I’ve been by your place…I’ve literally driven every square inch of I40 from NC to CA thousands of times,LOL,small world,eh? (yes,I used to drive long haul trucks ;) )

    The DC

      • Cool! Shame I “retired”* 4 years ago,or next trip I’d grab some air horn and wave as I drove by,LOL! :P

        (*12-08 is when I became “legally disabled” after having worked after breaking my neck in 2 spots in 3-01,I call it “retired” :P )

  2. It is good to have a place to rest. Will there be an evening fire? The warm glow of the computer screen is enticing indeed, but raw flame is more communal and certainly more in tune with your ancient surroundings.

    I hope in the course of your bike-in work the word Intermodal comes up. Or Transmodal…when I started thinking about the fastest (and funnest!) way to Get Out There the Voice said “Intermodal” and so that is the word I used. Public transportation augmented by bicycle should be a standard utility. Our local buses are a hard way to get someplace until you add a bicycle. I just posted a post about it and plan to delve deeper. I’m thinking Greyhound Buses with cargo holds that accomodate touring bicycles, assembled and ready. City buses that are fully entwined with a bike share program using purpose built bicycles with racks at bus stops.

    I’m thinking one more cup of coffee before work starts.

    tj

    • It is only when I am reeling from overcaffeination that I can work.

      I have a lot of respect for inter-trans-multi-modal transport. In the past year I have taken the Railrunner commuter train from SF-ABQ; ridden to and from airports; hitched rides in rural areas with my bike; ridden great distances over a variety of surfaces; flown from NM to Seattle to AK; and taken the buses and ferries between Tacoma and Seattle. However, almost all of my in-town transport is exclusively by bike. I make decisions about how my trips are planned to make most efficient use of my time. I also make choices not to travel to outlying stores, as they are a great distance away and often are not the kind of places that I am excited to spend my money anyway. Bicycle patterns make one more aware of local businesses, both out of necessity and an inevitable familiarity with EverythingAroundYou. Albuquerque has a unique problem of an extensive network of great bicycle routes in a great climate with mild elevation gain; but it’s huge, and I often ride 20-30 miles in a day just to “run some errands” (yes, on a Pugsley, aka the Goathead Magnet). I will count on all of you (here) to tell me when my ideas are too hopeful to be real, because I think that bikes are the solution to almost everything.

      Regional transport shuttles and trains between cities and towns are great. CIty buses are great to serve those without cars and those with the inability to walk and ride, but what if the average bus rider won the lottery? Would they continue to ride the bus? or would they buy a car? This is where I see the bus as a partial solution. Biking and walking are lifetime solutions to multiple problems, not only the immediate need to get somewhere.

      Agreed, city buses are almost useless to me without a bike. Bike shares and mini-velos might be the missing link for effective urban transport. Btw, the Hooligan is coming back soon.

      • Hi, I live in Albuquerque (Los Ranchos) also. I grew up and have ridden all around the North Valley and South Valley on the extensive series of ditches and the Rio Grande Bosque. I have mapped out and ride a 50 mile bike route from Los Ranchos down to Rio Bravo, all on dirt. We call it the Tour de Ditch. If you guys are interested in riding all or some of it some weekend, email me a line.

      • Daniel, That sounds like a great ride. We rode through ABQ last year about this time and ran into a guy named Joel who invited us on a similar ride along the ditches. Even with Schwalbe Marathon/Plus tires, we were eventually foiled by goatheads. We are better prepared for it this year. Let’s meet for a ride sometime.

        Keep in touch. Email works well: nicholas.carman@gmail.com

  3. Nice. In a oddly similar vein, I am looking into doing some farming in rural southern Virginia. Before I completely commit to the idea and start it up, I am trying to figure out all of the places that I will need to visit and the things that I need to transport. My hope is to just keep living with only a bike (although I might need to get a two wheeled trailer or a Big Dummy).

    Or is this entirely unrealistic? Vegetable oil pickup-truck conversion? I dunno.

    Kudos to you, sir.

    • Oh, it’s definitely realistic. Classically, the “way” closely follows the willingness. I would love the challenge of hauling chicken feed or building supplies by bike. If you aren’t paying for a truck, you will have more time available to haul supplies from town, and you will never accumulate junk that you don’t need. Hauling goods and produce to market will be similarly challenging, but how exciting that the farm can be run operate entirely on solar energy! The Amish have been doing it for years; no reason some intrepid cyclists can’t make it.

      I vote for a large homemade flatbed bike trailer. Get a big reflective triangle and take the lane. What kind of operation do you have planned?

  4. Sounds like a very cool and worthwhile endeavor, I have traveled to ABQ and the surrounding area twice and love the vibe of the SW. I wonder if they will let you take your bikes up in the gondola that goes up the Sandias? That would make a long downhill run or a much shorter run to Sante Fe/Taos (as I recall). Best of luck and good weather to you and Lael this winter.

  5. I wondered what you two would be doing this winter. AND love that first photo, with the child’s face peeking out toward the monkey in front.

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