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National Bike Month

May, in Santa Fe, brings clear blue skies and moderate temperatures. This is the time of year when the Inn removes the dried winter flowers from our flower boxes and plants this summer’s new batches of vibrant color. It is also the time of year when we take down Del Charro’s outdoor patio coverings, opening it to the subtle breezes of late spring.

This is when my focus struggles - the Mountain Bikers Siren Song drifts down from Sangre de Cristos in a fever pitch for those who have not already donned their bicycle gear, helmet, and broken out their trusty stead (aka Mountain Bike). The river trail and side streets join the chorus; teasing all other forms of bicyclists from their office chairs to the winding, open roads.

May is also the month when Santa Fe hosts the Santa Fe Century the weekend of May 16-May 18. Click here to learn all about this fabulous event. To celebrate this longstanding Santa Fe tradition, Outside magazine is helping sponsor the Bike & Brew festival at the Railyard. What a great way to cap off a long ride then to relax with a beer and take in the sites and sounds of the Railyard District. For more information, visit their Facebook page or follow on Twitter.

How appropriate it is that in 1956 the League of American Bicyclists (sounds like a superhero association to me!) originated the Bike to Work day, which through the years evolved into National Bike Month. Their site is a great resource for the event.

Santa Fe’s Bike to Work Week is May 12-May 16. Commuters are encouraged to ride their bikes as a way to demonstrate the healthy, environmental, and the smile factor of riding a bike to work. Additionally, anyone riding the bus with their bicycle in tow is allowed to ride for free. There are multiple group rides, presentations, music, and giveaways throughout the week, culminating with the Friday, May 16 event from 4pm-6pm where, amongst other things, there is a chance to win a Cinelli “Rat” Bike.

A word to safety (because smiles are much broader when we’re safe!): Commuting to work is a different concept altogether from Mountain Biking. Mountain Biking has the advantage that you are the only object moving, and the rocks, trees, and arroyos don’t talk on cell phones why hurtling themselves alongside you at 35+ miles per hour. Because of this, commuting absolutely necessitates some article of bright clothing, a well fitted helmet that miraculous doesn’t muss your hair, a night light for the commute home, and the ever so valuable Velcro strap to hold your pant leg away from the chain. Riding itself demands the consummate defensive driving skills. Blinkers often tell the truth, but sometimes a distracted parent may have forgotten to turn it off, or the harried business person has forgotten to turn it on before they turn in front of you. All of these are natural and daily events in the car world, but for those of you riding a bike to work, they can make the difference between that nostalgic youthful moment of feeling the air on your faces, smelling the blooming flowers, seeing every detail of the world around you while your endorphins give you a pleasant, and legal lift before facing the days responsibilities, or a stressful, adrenaline pumping survival ride.

It’s also a good time to take your bike in for a spring tune up and, as always, I will unabashedly recommend Mellow Velo for your repair needs. Located downtown and full of friendly, helpful bike enthusiasts, they will get you back on your smooth running bi-pedal beauty in no time. They also rent bicycles for all kinds of riding during your visit and can recommend great routes.

Happy May and Safe Riding, Sam Gerberding

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