Reportage

Taking the $5 Blue Bus Shuttle in Santa Fe

Shuttle runs. It’s part of the larger conversation about cycling as a recreational sport and as a medium of fitness. Honestly, it’s one reason why I’m in support of e-bikes. The way I look at it, 5 riders on e-bikes usually mean one or two fewer trucks speeding on the fire road going up… and down! The discussion of lithium batteries is another quagmire, but what exactly are riders to do when there aren’t options out there? Climb up a rode for 12 miles on a full suspension bike? Those bikes are designed to go downhill, down to the single, or sometimes complete lack of water bottle mounts. Of course, you can do these climbs but the reality is, people will always opt for a free, or cheap ride.

What about cities that embrace cycling? That look at this particular form of recreation as a resource? Well, they’re onto something.

Santa Fe is a sleepy little town of 80,000 people and yet, it really impressed me with the cycling scene there. From bikepacking trips to MTB group rides, and hot damn, there’s a Blue Bus that will take you and your bike – along with your friends – alllllll the way to the top of the mountains just east of town.

The coolest thing about this is last year, there were but two bike racks on the bus but this year, the buses installed bike racks inside the bus, so now up to 15 or so cyclists can use the bus!

One morning while Cari and I were visiting Santa Fe, a small group of us took the shuttle up to the top of the Winsor Trail and rode singletrack back down to town. I didn’t have a MTB with me, so I rented a Santa Cruz from Mellow Velo, bought a water bottle, and put on my gear. David, the owner of Mellow Velo, scooped up breakfast burritos, and we waited for everyone to roll in.

It was a short drive to the trailhead of the Winsor trail, with lots of trekking pole hikers and elderly people walking the trail. In this instance, it’d be a good idea to ride with an awareness bell since Santa Fe has a strong retirement community and you wouldn’t want to give someone a heart attack ripping around a corner. Be nice, say hi and observe the right of way on the trail.

Our ride started around 10,200′ and descended back down to about 7,000′. The cool thing about the Blue Bus is it’ll take you all over the Santa Fe area. You could use it to begin a bigger loop, or an overnighter, or even a multi-day tour. Head over here to check out all the Blue Bus, aka the RTD bus routes.