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Paul and I decided to hit the Elena Gallegos mountain bike trail in Albuquerque since it came highly recommended from my buddy Mark Kittelson. After calling 5 or 6 bike shops in town, I found the one place that rented bikes: Northeast Cyclery. In fact, only one location of Northeast Cyclery rented bikes for $25 a day so we drove to the store around noon. Paul talked Chris into letting him ride Chris’s diamondback so I was the only one who needed to rent a bike. Twenty-five bucks seemed a bit steep but it was the only choice plus it was less than I remember paying in Marin to ride China Camp. I was hoping I could try out a sweet full suspension rig since I’m considering buying one this summer but I ended up with a piece of crap, heavy as lead Raleigh hard tail. Seriously this bike was one step above a $100 Wal-mart bike but I was determined to ride by this point.

The trails at Elena Gallegos are great and well worth the $1 per car entry fee ($2 per car on weekends). We headed out on FS Trail 365 and made a loop around the park using various numbered trails. At one point we came to an interesting rock pile obstacle and I demonstrated the correct line on the Raleigh. Paul followed, rode the pile perfectly, then endoed on the flat sand beyond the rock pile. Determined to land the obstacle cleanly, Paul decided (against my advice) to try again. This time the endo occurred on top of the rock pile and according to Paul was more painful than the first.

The weather was cool and windy and there was a fair amount of snow on the trails in the shady spots. I was very uncomfortable on the Raliegh for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the lack of clipless pedals (I asked the shop if they had any, they said no.) Next time I rent a bike I’ll have to remember to bring my own pedals (in addition to my helmet, shoes, gloves, etc.). Needless to say I was not impressed with Northeast Cyclery and would not recommend them to other mountain bikers. Elena Gallegos, on the other hand, gets two thumbs up.

Paul at Elena Gallegos
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