A Family Bike Tour of The City Different
Santa Fe is a special place, that’s no mystery. Old buildings snuggled by mountains and desert, good food, art and culture. Most people know this much, so shelter, food, and clothing aren’t cheap, but admission is free. And the perfect way to experience the best of the City Different is by taking a bike tour on vintage bikes! If you’re on a tour bus or trolley, you’ll never see the shady lanes, alleyways, and footpaths that were originally designed for mule carts and lead away from the must-see hotspots. These special places can only be accessed by bicycle or foot.
So whether you’re here for a quick visit, new to town, or perhaps wanting to see Santa Fe through new eyes, take a family bike tour or ride along in a pedi-cab. Come with me (and some of my favorite people) to our favorite places in the City Different. I’m going to take you on the quiet back streets you won’t find online. And joining us today, saddled on the rack of the 60’s Heavy Duti Craigslist Schwinn Classic Cruiser, is our 7-year-old daughter, Junior Design Assistant, and pop culture critic.
Santa Fe by Bike: Railyard Arts District
Our design studio-showroom-office is in what some are calling the Railyard Arts District. The RAD is home to some of the best and brightest people, and places to find design deals and dreams. It’s also a great place to ride a bike. It’s the end of the line for the Rail Runner, but the start of an adventure in any direction.
For starters, you can cruise around the pedestrian zone for craft beer, grab outdoor gear, check out art galleries, or watch a movie with food and drink. If you make it early on Saturday, there’s a farmers market. Here, you can be on your bike quick instead of parallel parking on one of those mule cart paths!
Santa Fe by Bike: The East Side
Once you have explored the Railyard, let’s head to the East Side. Leaving the Railyard, cross Guadalupe on Manhattan Ave at the light. Heading down Manhattan you will pass Kowboyz on your left. Do you need any vintage western wear? Next, also on your left, is French and French Interiors, fun and fresh… To the left, on the next street over You will find Reside Home, a must see/shop, and Santa Fe Spirits.
Shortly, you will cross Cerrillos, stay on Manhattan, tricky, remember, mulecarts…We will go straight from here, but down Sandoval to the left is the Design Center, and to the right is the Luna Center. In the design center, you will find Array, the skateboard shop Initiate, Lighten Up lamp store, and a great food court. In the Luna center, check out Ohori’s coffee, Talin Chinese Market, and New Mexico Hard Ciders Taproom. You can also find Bang Bite food truck.
Santa Fe by Bike: The Historic District
OK! Let’s go, continue down Manhattan to Galisteo, take a left, then in about 150 yards turn right into a parking lot, go to the back, and take a left on Don Gaspar. This is a short dead end one-way street going the other way so cross over to the sidewalk. This area is home to old State buildings. Once you are on the sidewalk peek through to the grass and gardens to the right. This is one of my favorite hidden spots- the backyard of the State Capital. I wonder if they would remove us if we tried to have a picnic there?
Ride along the shady sidewalk to Devargas St and take a right. Follow Devargas. Take your time traveling back in time… architecturally speaking. The next quarter mile is older than the French Quarter. You will pass Inn of the Five Graces. Stop and look around. You can practically feel the ghosts from years past still lingering. Continue to Old Santa Fe Trail. Fifty feet up on the right is the Pink Adobe. Take your time here. You might start to notice that you are somewhere special. Cross the road- on your left is Upper Crust Pizza and the “oldest” house in America. Go in and check it out! To your right is San Miguel Mission. Thought to be built in 1610, it’s the oldest church in the US. Take it in!
While visiting historical sites, I am often thankful to live in modern times. In the Developed World, even the poorest of us live with more advantages than the aristocracy of old. It’s tempting to romanticize the past, but many of these old churches were built by enslaved Natives. And to be a commoner was to be the subject of harsh servitude and living conditions. Brutal, yeah, but let’s not unpack that all now. I’ve brought you to this stunning structure not to mention unpleasantries, but to lead us to a place of possibilities. I don’t want to bring you down, but rather stoke you for what’s happening now! I won’t trouble you with much heavy history. For now let’s consider humanity and hope.
Santa Fe by Bike: Highlighting Family Style Adventures
Next time, let’s search for the bests with special guests. I have a line up of iconoclastic characters from diverse disciplines who will join us for a quick back road trip to an event or landmark, of which Santa Fe has no shortage. Our guests have much to share. They range from creators, rebels and administrators, to hobos and bohos at rodeos. (That’s Ro-Day-Oh!) And on that note, I’ll try to dial back the Phyllis Diller.
All right! You’re at the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Devargas facing back to the Rail Yard (.5 mi). You could go downhill to the Plaza(.25 mi), or up to Museum Hill(1.25 mi), maybe further on Devargas over to Canyon Rd (.25mi)…What’s next?
Nothing to it, but to do it,
We highlight family style adventures, but if you came from our homepage, you’ll be happy to know Arts and Design will be around every time.
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