At least that is the opinion of Peter Rice, a public relations professional and cycling enthusiast who decided to raise the visibility of some of New Mexico’s more popular bicycle touring routes by self-publishing three regional guides.
“I took a cue from Adventure Cycling,” Rice says. The Adventure Cycling Association is a Missoula, Mont., based nonprofit whose mission is to inspire and empower people to travel by bicycle. The association earlier this year published route guides and maps of historic Route 66. Rice’s guides are sold at local bike shops and online at amazon.com.
Rice’s guides, which include Taos/Las Vegas, Turquoise Trail/Manzanos and Valles Caldera/Jemez, not only include basic maps, cue sheets and ride profiles but other information that comes in handy. Like places to eat.
“I set out to write the kind of book that I would like to have in an area I was not familiar with,” Rice says.
Having a guide with you on a long ride is not only reassuring that you aren’t really in the middle of nowhere, Rice says, it allows you to relax and enjoy the scenery. Like nearly 500 miles of it between the three guides.
“That’s the best part of touring in New Mexico,” he says. “The scenery is amazing and the weather is nearly perfect much of the time.”
While the guides are written as loop tours, there is no reason not to use them for shorter rides or day trips, he says.
In the introduction for the Valles Caldera/Jemez book, Rice writes: “Peel a layer off any major tourist destination and you’ll usually get a new but totally delightful angle on the place … This route is that special place, especially if you prefer your outdoorsy adventures served with a side of history.”
In the “City Guides” section of each book, Rice provides lists of bike shops, grocery stores and where to stay along with getting around on public transportation.
Many New Mexico backroads seem isolated but, as Rice points out, there are not very many sections of road that are more than 40 miles between places with services.
And, the rural nature of the state lends a feeling of adventure as well.
Of the Turquoise Trail/Manzano route, Rice writes: “It’s rural and scenic, so you really get that adventurous feeling that comes with being out in the middle of nowhere… (it’s) not so desolate that you can’t find a place to stay or some decent food to eat.”
While the books give most cycling tourists plenty to go on, Rice has set up a consulting business on the website biketournewmexico.com, where he offers several options for consultations with him.
Rice says he set out to make the books everything a cycling tourist needs for a great ride. “Far from civilization, but not too far. You provide the bike and the muscle, and this guide will take care of the adventure.”