Photo courtesy of City of Albuquerque
Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez checks out a prototype Q-bike like one of hundreds that are scheduled to grace the Duke City’s transportation corridor next spring.
Duke City Bike Fleet will Add Mobility ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—If all goes according to plan, bike use in Albuquerque should begin to bloom this spring like the native yucca flowers. City officials are preparing to ink a deal with Clear Channel Outdoor for a fleet of 420 to 600 smartbikes—or Q-bikes as they’ll be known in Albuquerque—available in 25 kiosks throughout the city’s public transportation corridor starting in spring 2009. Cyclists will pay a nominal fee to borrow a bike from a kiosk. Clear Channel intends to fund the service by selling advertising on the kiosks and bikes. Commuters who ride the bus or use New Mexico’s Roadrunner commuter rail service will be able to hop on a Q-bike and connect to a different mode of mass transportation or mosey into work or shopping using Albuquerque’s ever-growing network of bike trails. Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez said the Q-bike program is a natural addition for the city, which has outfitted its buses with bike racks, installed more than 300 bike lockers throughout the city with 50 more being added each year and begun an education initiative designed to promote greater harmony between cyclists and motorists. These efforts, combined with an enthusiasm by citizens for fitness and riding bikes, has helped earn the Duke City a reputation as one of the top bike-friendly cities in America. “Last year, Men’s Fitness magazine rated Albuquerque the fittest city in America,” said Chavez, who sets an example for residents by exercising up to five times a week, often riding his bicycle on the city’s picturesque Paseo del Bosque Trail. “We rank in the top 10 among bikeable trail communities in the nation. We set aside one percent of our road monies for bicycle trails.” Chavez said the Q-bike program is expected to be the largest of its kind in the country. In addition to promoting general health and wellbeing among residents, reducing wear and tear on city streets and minimizing the city’s carbon footprint, Mayor Chavez said he’s pleased to help promote cycling because it’s just plain fun. “There are just a whole lot of folks who are bicycle commuters in Albuquerque,” Chavez said. “I think we’re going to take to this Q-bike program very, very quickly.” –J. Rickman 17