A local electric biking company is providing a new way to get to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta without dealing with the dreaded parking lot lines.
Albuquerque-based Free-to-Roam eBiking is planning to offer guided tours to and from the Balloon Fiesta Park for the mass ascension morning events as well as for the evening glow events.
Participants will ride along Albuquerque’s North Diversion Channel bike trail to avoid cars. Company founder Susan Gautsch said the bikes will be lit with fluorescent lights to ensure safety during early-morning or late-night rides.
“The Balloon Fiesta is the greatest event in the state, and we are excited to offer a new and safe way to get to and from the park,” Gautsch said in a prepared statement.
The Balloon Fiesta is planning to offer park-and-ride services as usual this year. However, the number of spaces available for park and ride services is expected to be limited this year due to COVID-19 safety protocols, as well as a shortage of buses and riders, according to the event’s website.
E-bikes – bicycles offering an electric motor to assist with pedaling – have gained popularity in recent years. A 2020 report from Forbes notes that 3.7 million e-bikes were sold in 2019, and the industry’s current growth trajectory would lead to more than 10 million e-bikes sold per year by 2024.
The guided e-bike tours will begin at Canteen Brewhouse’s open lot in Comanche Business Park east of I-25. After a short orientation, guides will lead the group on a 6 mile, 30-minute ride along the paved North Diversion Trail straight into Balloon Fiesta Park. The event will offer a bike valet service for Free-to-Roam customers and other cyclists, according to Visit Albuquerque’s website.
After the mass ascension event in the morning, participants can ride back together for a breakfast burrito and beer at Canteen, or ride back on their own and return the bike by noon, according to the company. The evening riders will meet at Canteen Brewhouse at 5 p.m. and ride back after the last fireworks.
Free-to-Roam’s Balloon Fiesta package is available for $125. Customers who purchase tickets before Sept. 29 can save 50% with the promo code Groupies2Fiesta, according to a press release from the company. Riders must be at least 16 years old and wear closed-toe shoes to participate.