SANTA FE CYCLING GUIDE

Gearing Up
to Ride

Woman riding a fat tire bicycle in the snow, Santa Fe

Preparing for the Weather

Santa Fe weather can change in an instant. In the spring, a warm sunny day can switch to snowfall within minutes. Summertime bluebird days can turn into torrential downpours. Our falls are pleasant, but always run the risk of snowfall and our winters are cold and snow packed. Be sure to check the weather before you head out and carry extra layers when possible. We suggest regularly carrying a small, packable rainshell even when there’s no rain or snow in the forecast.

Rain clouds forming during sunset, Santa Fe
Expansive areas to mountain bike
Santa Fe has a huge variety of terrain, therefore it is not uncommon for the local riders to have a “quiver” of bikes. With that said, choosing the right bike and equipment here should not be that difficult.

Our recommended bike is a classic “trail bike” between 120mm and 150mm of front suspension travel and if you’re wanting full suspension, similar numbers out back. You can enjoy the fast cross-country singletrack at La Tierra and Galisteo on a fun trail bike as well as push your technical skills on the mountain or at Glorieta Camps.

Tire choice is critical, on the other hand. Given our cacti friends and pointy rocks, your run-of-the-mill XC tires won’t cut it here. Rather, we recommend something a little burlier offering some level of sidewall protection such as EXO casing for Maxxis tires. Likewise, aim for knobbier treads that offer better traction as our trails dry out quickly and cna become rather slippy.

Tips on Choosing a Bike

What to Bring

If you’re riding in Galisteo Basin, La Tierra, or Dale Ball Trails, you’re less likely to find yourself stranded in the woods. But nevertheless, it’s always good to bring some New Mexico-recommended items:

  • plug-kit and sealant for tire punctures (our rocks are sharp, our plants are sharper)
  • extra water as our elevation and desert weather dries you out quick
  • eye and skin protection from the harsh UV rays
Mountain biking water bottle, Santa Fe
Mountain bikers enjoy trail riding
Is it desert or mountains or wooded or sparse? Yes. It’s not uncommon to traverse from true desert conditions to alpine in a single ride here. Here are some tips for making sure you’re properly dressed for occasion:

  • Helmet. We recommend helmets that provide good ventilation and a visor to help keep out the sun. Our big climbs will leave you sweating and wanting to cool down, so a well-ventilated helmet goes a long way.
  • Gloves. Similarly, wear protective gloves in case you crash. The rough, rocky soil and unfriendly plantlife require respect.
  • Sunglasses. With over 320+ days of sunshine each year, we highly recommend protecting your eyes from both trail debris, dust, and branches, but of course from the strong UV rays we get here at elevation.
  • Sweat-wicking fabric. In winter and spring, wool is king providing warmth and breathability, even when wet. During the spring and summer, we recommend lighter clothing that helps wick away moisture and keeps you cool. Brighter and lighter is the rule–even on a 70-degree day, that relentless sunshine can make a black shirt feel like the middle of the Sonoran desert.

Tips on What to Wear

Resources for Bike Shops

The Broken Spoke
This full-service shop stocks a wide range of new and used bikes and everyone on staff is an experienced bike mechanic. Their testimonials speak to their mission of “putting people on bikes of any kind” and offering top-gear service, repairs, and accessories. Located at 1426 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM.

Mellow Velo
In business since 2005, this dealer prides itself on its service department, premium bike rentals, new bike selection (including handmade Italian frames and American frames from historic frame manufacturers). Located at 132 East Marcy Street, Santa Fe, NM.

New Mexico Bike N Sport
Founded in 1995, this full-serice shop is a 10-minute drive from the Plaza and focuses on bike service and repair, bike fitting, and a wide selection of new bikes. Located at 504 West Cordova, Santa Fe, NM.

Rob and Charlie’s
This Santa Fe institution supports the local bike community with a full selection of bike types and brands and a service menu that runs from minor tune-ups to complete overhauls. Located at 1632 St. Michael’s Drive, Santa Fe, NM.

Sincere Cycles
Small shop on Water Street focusing on bikepacking, touring, and mountain biking. The owner, Bailey Newbrey, holds the fastest known time on the Tour Divide Race for Singlespeed. Located at 411 West Water Sreet Unit B, Santa Fe, NM.
Bicycle repair keeps one on the road