10 March 2008

must be an Alleycat!

Thanks to the time change and my sleeping past the beginning of Sunday's planned mountain bike ride, I decided to check out one of Albuquerque's increasingly frequent Alley Cat events. For those who aren't familiar with the idea, alley cats are essentially bike messenger races. Rather than a closed course and set route, riders are required to find and visit any number of sites within a city and prove that they've been there. Route finding is often as important as outright speed (if not more so). It's all about how you connect the dots.

Albuquerque doesn't actually have any messengers as such, but (as elsewhere) messenger culture (fixed gear bikes, messenger bikes, tight jeans) is certainly on the rise here in the Duke City. While there are a fair few yahoos out there, it's neat to see riding considered 'cool' by the college set (full disclosure: I was a messenger during graduate school and just after and was not considered cool). Crank 2, held yesterday, saw 58 riders out, competing for messenger bags, gift certificates and even a complete donated bike (all finishers were entered in the raffle for that one).

Despite some frenzied starting sprints, folks rode generally respectfully. Riders were required to find raised plastic labels in six of Albuquerque's small parks and take crayon rubbings of each. Route choices were widely varied and I was fortunate enough to hop on with the Dans, who know the city much better than I do (never having lived or really ridden downtown). It was a frenzied hour or so worth of riding, and Dan L took the win for a nice Chrome backpack.

All in all, it was a good time. Even the kids and families at the parks were getting into it. Save a broken fork, there was no real carnage and everyone seemed to be in good spirits afterwards, enjoying their beer and pizza on what turned out to be a beautiful spring Sunday. It's cool that bikes are cool.

marc

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a bike messenger company in Burque its called burque saints courrier co.