Originally Posted by oilfreeandhappy
I spoke to my son this week, after his first full week at College of Santa Fe, and he said he hasn't even been on his bike yet. Since it's parked on a rack with no roof, I told him that he should purchase a cover for it.
He said that most of his needs are met on campus, and if not, he has been walking to nearby shopping areas.
After spending a couple days here in Santa Fe, I can see why he hasn't had to get on the bike yet. The city proper isn't more than 3-4 miles square, with shopping and restaurants running in clusters. I'm staying near the intersection of Old Pecos Trail and Old Santa Fe trail. Even if I didn't have a bike, downtown is definitely within walking distance (less than a mile).
That being said, I found Santa Fe to be extremely easy to bike around provided you carry around a real city map to complement the NMDOT bike map. Somebody on bikeforums stated that biking in cities that developed before cars got popular are easier to bike in: definitely the case here. In the downtown areas, traffic is never over 25 MPH, easy to keep up with. Outside of downtown, I had a great time getting around as long as I avoided the main thoroughfares (Cerrillos Rd, St Francis Dr). The downside is most side roads only go a few blocks, without a city map you don't know which road to take to get to your destination.
I biked quite a bit on the marked routes from NMDOT, saw two types of bike lanes and you can't tell which is which from looking at the map.
The first kind is a marked bike lane, proper width with bicycle stencils at regular intervals. I found these on St Michael's and Old Pecos Trail. They're pretty good, except that they stop COLD at the RTOL when approaching a traffic light. I found myself doing frequent shoulder checks at these intersections.
The second kind is a simple white line, giving you 10-12 inches of space on the right, with the standard "Share the Road" signs appearing every now and then. I found these on Agua Fria St and Old Santa Fe Trail. These are more problematic because they disappear at every intersection with a traffic light or stop sign. I always took the lane before getting to the intersection, made life a little more interesting than I usually like though. Also, any driveways composed of gravel/clay tend to spill out into the lane due to cars turning and accelerating out
One road I really liked was Galisteo, one-way running north into downtown. At some point before it actually reaches downtown, a different kind of bike stencil started in appearing *in the middle of the road*. I took this to mean that bikes get to take the whole lane, traffic calming via bike maybe? Anyways, its a slight downhill at that point so its a breeze keeping up with 25 MPH speed limits.
I think a mountain/cross bike would be a better choice than a road bike for this city. The pavement is pretty bad in some places, dirt and gravel roads appear out of nowhere at times, and I can see wanting to hop the occasional curb or dash down an alley when convenient.
Final comment, everyone here seems pretty nice! The Zozobra ceremony was last night and the festival runs through this weekend (Que Vivan Las Fiestas!). Even with the aggravation from extra tourist traffic nobody honked at me, nobody yelled to get on the sidewalk, only a couple cars buzzed close enough for me to notice and neither of those were close enough to be upsetting. As long as I was assertive in interacting with traffic, things were fine. Didn't see that many other bikers, one roadie and 3-4 commuters, and everyone I waved to waved back.