It never fails. My out-of-town friends and family always liken Santa Fe’s vibe to that of wonderful European cities—winding boulevards lined with local shops; outdoor adventures galore under breezy mountain skies; plazas and patios and parks, oh my! Well, what’s not immediately apparent to visitors (but is to any Santa Fean) is the smartest way to experience all Santa Fe has to offer: Our old European friend, the bicycle. Exploring Santa Fe on two wheels helps you make the most of your Santa Fe getaway, and blend in with the ranks of us locals. So hop on and follow me. Santa Fe’s a great ride.
Santa Fe’s Many Bike Rental Shops Will Keep You Tall in the Saddle
Like countless folks who get their first glimpse of Santa Fe, you’ll probably take one look around the landscape and get the itch to ride a bike—even if you haven’t ridden in years. Fortunately, there are abundant rental shops around town for those in need of a quick cycling fix. These are my go-to’s:
New Mexico Bike N Sport
The guys at New Mexico Bike N Sport will hook you up with a top-notch bike for the mountain trail, roadway, or anything in between. We’re talking full-suspension mountain bikes, carbon road bikes, comfy cruisers…the works.
Mello Velo Bicycles
Located smack dab in historic downtown, Mellow Velo Bicycles offers a number of premium and economy rentals, along with expert route advice and maps for on- and off-road adventures. They’ll personally guide you toward their favorite biking spots.
The Broken Spoke
Don’t let the name fool you: There are NO bikes with broken spokes at The Broken Spoke Bicycle Shop. Nothing but great bikes, great people, and great value here. Want a simple commuter bike? The lightest, fastest racing bike on the market? These guys have you covered.
Nothing beats traveling by rail…on a bike.
Okay, I freely admit that I won’t be cycling across Canada any time soon. But I do fancy myself a more-than-capable rider with insider Santa Fe biking info. Here’s the scoop: One of my favorite places to ride is also the most accessible for travelers. I’m talking about the Santa Fe Rail Trail. For its entire length, this trail is accompanied by a functioning railroad line. And you can expect an amazing diversity of rides to choo choo choose from. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
You’ll enjoy asphalt trails along the first 3.5 miles of railroad track aside the Rail Runner line that stretches southward to Belen, south of Albuquerque. The next 11.5 miles are a different story. From here on, you’re riding winding, unpaved trail, that’s sure to kickstart your Santa Fe adrenaline. In all, the Santa Fe Rail Trail offers something for thrill seekers and chill seekers alike.
Enjoy patio dining a la bicycle.
Hey, we’ve all been there in Santa Fe. “Ya know, a top-shelf margarita sure would hit the spot. Some apps with green chiles slathered on top would heighten the experience. And oh yeah, I don’t wanna go anywhere too far to walk or too close to drive.” Well, you’re in luck. Just grab a bike and grab a bite at places like these:
Anasazi Restaurant and Bar
I can tell you, nothing beats riding over to The Anasazi and enjoying their fabulous brunch on the patio while people watching near the Plaza. The epitome of Santa Fe’s one-of-a-kind cuisine, the Anasazi will push your culinary horizons with Duck Enchiladas Mole, Diver Scallops and Kurobuta Pork Belly, Grilled Elk Tenderloin, and other mind-blowing dishes.
Second Street Brewery
Despite the name, Second Street Brewery is second to none. Pedal up to either of two very cool locations—the actual brewery on Second Street, near the Rail Trail, or the Taproom at the Railyard. Described as one of the most varied lineups of any brewery in New Mexico, Second Street offers the foods to match, and live music to boot.
The Shed is a Santa Fe landmark that’s always hopping. With its stunning patio in the heart of downtown, you can pedal over, enjoy an authentic New Mexican lunch, and then explore all the sights and shops of downtown. Courtyard seating’s in high demand, so hop on your bike and come early.
If funky is more your taste, The Cowgirl more than has you covered. With toe-tapping live music and a very eclectic menu that ranges from BBQ to Tex-Mex, The Cowgirl’s two patio-dining areas are the social hub of the Railyard District. There’s even a fun space for the kiddos to play, so make a family bike ride part of your itinerary.
WHAT you ride doesn’t matter. HOW you ride does.
We Santa Feans are totally into cycling, in all its forms. But don’t hop on your bike expecting some no-holds-barred free-for-all. Folks here have very well defined expectations for biking behavior—on city streets, trails, and public spaces. Luckily for you, we’ve developed a handy guide to all the riding tips and resources you’ll need for cycling in and around Santa Fe. Including the proper color of handlebar streamers for riding in The Plaza! (I jest.)
Can’t-Miss Events for Can’t-Quit Cyclists.
You can hop on two wheels darn near any day of the year in Santa Fe, but if you’re really bike-centric, these upcoming events are sure to get your heart racing.
Bike & Brew Fest
For anyone into the pursuit of hop-iness via two wheels, Santa Fe’s Bike & Brew Festival might just be your destiny. Packed with group rides, bike-along brewery tours, craft beer tastings, and loads of live music this off-road celebration will definitely make pallets and pedals come alive.
Santa Fe Century
Another excursion that’ll seriously get your spokes spinning is the Santa Fe Century ride. This Santa Fe tradition is one of our most cherished claims to fame in the cycling community. Skill level is no obstacle. You’ll get your pick of a 20-mile out-and-back ride, a 50-mile (Half-Century) ride or the full-on Century: 103 miles down the ancient Turquoise Trail. Really, what could be better than biking alongside unmatched scenery with centuries of history under your wheels?
Bike to Work Week
In Santa Fe, a good bike ride even makes your day job exhilarating. Santa Fe’s annual Bike to Work Week provides a great way to shift gears at work, and helps promote healthy, economical and environmentally friendly habits. The week =is packed with fun (and educational) activities like cycling clinics, mechanical tutorials and a community cruise. And it all culminates with a major bash at the Railyard, with can’t-miss music, food, and demos from Santa Fe’s foremost bike buffs.
Ride Through Santa Fe On a Bicycle Built for WooHoo!
I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something about riding a bike that takes any activity up a notch. From sipping a margarita on a restaurant patio, to meandering through art galleries, or just lazing on the grass and soaking up some sunlight, when you add a bicycle to the mix, you heighten the joie de vivre factor. So on your next visit to The City Different, join me and my friends as we pedal along the trails, paths and streets of Santa Fe. Your spirits will be riding high.