Balloon Fiesta bike valet offers way to beat traffic

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Every year, traffic always gets backed up during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

At least for people on four wheels.

“It’s super safe and super easy. Get the blood going super early in the morning,” bicyclist Peter Jandula-Hudson said.

For 11 years now, Balloon Fiesta officials have offered bike valet as an option for those who rather pedal to the park than drive.

“When you come here, we will give you a claim check. We’ll tape the other part to your bike, park your bike on the racks here and keep an eye on them while you have fun,” said Frank Bouchier, a bike valet at Balloon Fiesta Park.

The bike valet is free and volunteers from local bike clubs staff it.

Over the years, they’ve seen it grow.

“We started with 12 the first year and we had over a thousand this last Saturday. People are smiling when they get here, instead of frowning because they are not dealing with traffic,” Bouchier said.

Fiestagoers Paulina and Patrick Steele were among those smiling faces.

“You have to wake up at 3 a.m. and sit through the traffic and crowds. That kinda detoured us a little bit, so this [bike valet] was a great option,” Paulina Steele said.

“Just the ability to see Albuquerque from the bike and get to beat the crowds and beat the traffic. It was very picturesque and I’d like to go back,” Patrick Steele said.

The bike trail is south of Alameda and east of Edith, which is where you will find the bike valet. You can drop off your bike starting at 5 a.m. on Fiesta mornings.

To learn more about the valet and see our guide to the 2023 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, click here.