SANTA FE – A legislator from Las Cruces has some unusual travel plans for getting to the Roundhouse for the coming 60-day legislative session.
State Rep. Angelica Rubio said she plans to embark on a weeklong bike trip to Santa Fe – a 285-mile ride – in an attempt to break down political barriers and raise awareness of issues facing rural and southern New Mexico.
Just call it bicycle diplomacy.
She said in a recent interview that she started bicycling regularly with a local group about a year ago and decided to do the cross-state ride after spending countless hours driving to and from legislative interim committees.
According to the itinerary she has posted online, Rubio, a Democrat, has planned meet-and-greet events with other legislators along her route, including Republican Reps. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences, Kelly Fajardo of Belen and Gail Armstrong of Magdalena, and Democratic Rep. Andrés Romero of Albuquerque. Some fellow lawmakers may even bike with her for part of her route, Rubio said.
“Sometimes the politics gets so polarizing we can’t even have conversations with each other,” she said.
Rubio, who was just elected to her second term in the state House, said she also plans to use her ride to raise awareness about a proposal to create a new state office of outdoor recreation, an idea that’s supported by Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham.
She said she will introduce legislation on the topic during the session that, along with creating the new office, would earmark some funding for outdoor activity programs that offer programs for disadvantaged and minority children.
As for her planned route, Rubio said she primarily intends to bike along gravel roads – near but not directly on Interstate 25 – and will wear an action camera to broadcast video of her ride. A website she has created is rubiosride.com.
She also said that to lighten her load, she probably will take clothing and other items needed for the session to Santa Fe in advance of her ride.
“It’s really ambitious,” Rubio acknowledged. “I’m just going to be riding with the clothes on my back.”