Posts Tagged ‘Dallas’
Organizing a National Bike To Work Day, Bike Commuter Energizer Station is quite a challenge. Organizing 5 of them is nearly impossible without the right partners and volunteers. This being the second year, we’re still trying to figure everything out – but we’re getting better.
Let’s Start With Last Year:
Bike Friendly Richardson member Jenny Rilling, and myself decided that we needed to set up a rest stop for bike commuters in our town of Richardson. Because Jenny was a BikeDFW board member, we were able to partner with them, who in turn, connected us with a few sponsors, including Richardson Bike Mart the Dallas Area Rapid Transit folks. Richardson Bike Mart provided us a bike mechanic to help out with bicycle safety checks and DART gave us a place to set up at one of their local train stations. We managed to pull in a few other sponsors and had great success providing breakfast, beverages and swag for bike commuters coming through Richardson.
With such great success with last year’s Richardson stop, BikeDFW (of which I am now a board member) wanted to set up multiple stations this year. Coincidentally, DART was also wanting to set up multiple Bike Commuter Energizer Station. I got an email from Dan Dickerson with DART asking if we were interested in partnering with them. Obviously, we did. Dan, using his connections, contacted several local cities in the Dallas area. Of that list, Plano, Garland, Dallas and Bike Friendly Richardson (representing Richardson) wanted to participate. BikeDFW was also working with Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, who also wanted to set up a Bike Commuter Energizer Station.
Dividing Up The Tasks And Organizing:
Because I was the initial contact for DART, I became the liaison between DART and BikeDFW, and most of the organizing for this event was done via email. This being only the second event like this in our area, and the fact that I am organizationally-challenged, there were many challenges. Fortunately, Dan was very organized and I had a team of great support with BikeDFW. My friend Eliot, with Cycling Savvy DFW, even suggested that I set up a Google Doc spread sheet and share it with the team, which was a lifesaver.
The Art of Finding Sponsors:
Finding sponsors is one challenge. Asking them to give stuff to our event is another. My hat is off to people who need to do this on a regular basis. The lesson that I learned is that you have to get an early start. Plus, you need to communicate by phone or face-to-face. When asking by email, you’re most likely going to get overlooked.
Fortunately, we were able to manage getting local bike shop sponsors, including Plano Cycling and Fitness, Richardson Bike Mart (Richardson), Richardson Bike Mart (White Rock), Don Johle’s Bike World and Oak Cliff Bicycle Company to do the bicycle safety checks at each station.
This was yet another challenge. Although DART and the local cities were bringing out volunteers for each station, it was quite difficult to pull in BikeDFW volunteers. This was mostly because of scheduling issues (getting folks to take time off on a work day) or bicyclists wanting to actually ride to work on Bike To Work Day. Fortunately, some great folks stepped up to help run each station.
I plan on adding a complete list of volunteers and sponsors, as soon as I get all the information in. Until then, here are the ones at the top of my head:
Arthuro Garza (KIND), Clif Bars (Jeanine Romine), Kasey Smith (Neuro Energy Drinks), Rachel Spire (ReGeared), JimD (Generator Coffee House), Zang Triangle Apartments, Waco Moore and Eliot Landrum (Cycling Savvy DFW)
LOCAL BIKE SHOPS FOR SAFETY CHECKS:
Plano Cycling and Fitness (Plano), Richardson Bike Mart (Richardson), Don Johle’s Bike World (Garland), Richardson Bike Mart (Downtown Dallas), Oak Cliff Bike Company (Oak Cliff)
DART: EVENT CO-SPONSOR/ORGANIZER:
Dan Dickerson and his team of great volunteers from DART – Chris Walters, Steve Biba, Shaun Tooley, Jennifer Jones, Charylene Crayton, Jennifer Hall (and more).
Ann McGinnes and her team (City of Garland), Renee Jordan (City of Plano), Max Kalhammer, Kevin Lefebvre, Kimberly Mackey (City of Dallas)
Jonathan Braddick, and his team (names to come) (Oak Cliff), Michael McNair (Garland), Jared Cook (Garland), Robert Cherry (Garland), Joshua McNeely (Richardson)
BIKEDFW: EVENT CO-SPONSOR/ORGANIZER:
Marc Mumby (Akard), Jenny Rilling (Richardson), Anita Mills (Oak Cliff), Michael Freiberger (Plano), Warren Casteel (Multi-Location Support)
Pics Of The Event (Richardson and Garland) See full set here:
Mark your calendars! Friday, May 17, 2013 is National Bike To Work Day. IF there is ever a day to ride to work, make it this day. Think about the positive statement we’ll be making as cyclists, safely using an alternate form of transportation throughout the DFW Metroplex.
GARLAND - Downtown Garland Station (Partnered with The City of Garland)
DALLAS - Akard Station (Partnered with the City of Dallas)
OAK CLIFF - Jefferson St. Viaduct (Partnered with Bike Friendly Oak Cliff)
RICHARDSON - Arapaho Station (Partnered with Bike Friendly Richardson)
PLANO - Intersection of Bluebonnet & Chisholm Trail (Partnered with The City of Plano)
DATE: Friday, May 17, 2013
TIME: 6:30-9:00 am
If you are in the area, please stop by. Also, let them know on Facebook.
MORE DETAILS TO COME.
KIND Healthy Snacks - on Facebook (All Stops)
Clif Bars - on Facebook (All Stops)
Neuro Energy Drinks (Akard Stop)
Re-Geared - on Facebook (Akard Stop)
Generator Coffee House - on Facebook (Garland Stop)
Zang Triangle Apartments - on Facebook (Oak Cliff Stop)
Plano Cycling and Fitness - on Facebook (Plano Stop)
Richardson Bike Mart - on Facebook (Richardson and Akard Stops)
Don Johle’s Bike World - on Facebook (Garland Stop)
Oak Cliff Bicycle Company - on Facebook (Oak Cliff Stop)
ALSO: There will be other stations available:
Dallas Bike Works will have coffee and doughnuts and free minor repairs from 7:30 – 9:30am at White Rock Creek Trail where it passes under NW Highway (opposite the shop on Lawther). Facebook Event here.
The City of Fort Worth will have food and beverages and a bike share station set up at the Inter-modal Transit Center from 7:30 – 9am. There will be group rides to the Fort Worth event starting from various locations (map).
Ever since Dallas was listed as one of the country’s worst cities for cycling by Bicycle Magazine (twice), folks have been trying to change that. The new Dallas Bike Plan was a huge step forward, but the momentum has slipped a bit. Politics and the lack of money are part of the problem.
I am keeping an eye out for any bicycle updates around town, and I’m seeing some street markings and signage pop up in random locations. Dallas has also just passed a safe passing ordinance. Some say all this is nice, while others are saying it’s not enough.
I say, every little bit helps. Let’s keep the momentum going until Dallas can change that status.
I like living in north Texas. Sure, it’s hot as hell during the summer and full of endless suburban sprawl with mega-highways to connect it all. But, the people are friendly, the schools are great, and it’s inexpensive to live here.
For me, the only real problem with living in the Dallas area is the lack of visual identity and cultural destinations. What we don’t have is enough signature landmarks or cool places to draw in visitors. When was the last time you heard somebody say their next family vacation will be Dallas, Texas?
San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and Alcatraz Island; Chicago has the Sears Tower, Millennium Park and Wrigley Field; and New York City has the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. Yes, Dallas has legendary sports teams, a TV show named after it and even an infamous presidential assassination. But, what about landmarks and destinations? Let’s see, we have Reunion Tower – which is pretty distinctive and cool – but, until recently, not much else to our skyline.
Dallas is improving.
This year more updates have come to Dallas. We’ve gotten 3 new and really distinctive changes that are worth mentioning.
The first, most obvious, is the newest edition to our skyline – The Margaret Hunt Hill suspension bridge. Sure, it’s no Golden Gate, but it’s ours and it’s adding to our city’s visual identity.
Then next is the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science which is located in the trendy Victory Park area. It’s an odd, new building that might be trying too hard to be unique, but I’m starting to like it. My only regret is that the museum is moved from it’s old location in Fair Park - which we seem to be abandoning. Fair Park should be embraced and revitalized.
The last and most exciting change is Klyde Warren Park. What I find amazing about this park is that the city built it above a highway. They’ve taken some space that was only available to speeding cars and turned it into amazing green space that is sure to be a great destination.
Last weekend was the Texas Custom Bicycle Show, held at Club Dada in Deep Ellum. We stopped by for a quick look, but ended up staying a bit longer. After seeing so many beautiful bikes and meeting the really nice community of local builders, I couldn’t help but leave the show wishing I had the means to have one built for myself. Some day.
There are two problems for me if I could ever afford one: Which builder would I uses (they were all so amazing) and what color would I have it painted?
Here are some pics from the show. Click here to see the rest.
Yesterday, my local cycling group, Bike Friendly Richardson, was invited to have a table at the Cyclesomatic Bike Fair - hosted by Bike Friendly Oak Cliff. It started off a bit chilly, but it ended up being a great day.
Along with many booths and a huge crowd, there was a cyclocross race. I’d never seen one in person, so it was pretty exciting to watch.
There was also a bike powered smoothie station hosted by BikeDFW as well as representatives from Metroplex BMX, Pedal Power, Bicycles, Inc and ReGeared. Good Karma Kitchen was there with some tasty food and the youngsters in the crowd were entertained by a bounce house and fantastic face painting. If that wasn’t enough, there was a BMX Stunt show.
Here are some pics of the event. Click here to see the entire set.
I’ve been riding my bicycle quite a bit for the past few years – mostly for fun, but sometimes to get places. Last year I decided to try commuting to work. I gave myself a goal of replacing the distance equivalent to what I would drive with 1 tank of gasoline. That’s approximately 360 miles.
Well, after easily reaching that goal, I decided to double it for this year. Starting in late April, my new goal was to replace the distance of 2 tanks of gasoline (720 miles) with bicycling. Breaking it down, this required me to ride my 13.5 mile (each way) commute to work, once or twice a week – pretty manageable. I also decided to include any other bicycle trips that I would normally have driven – not recreational rides.
This distance goal was reached by the end of July, but then I started to question some of those extra trips. How many of my weekend rides were made longer, simply because it was more fun on a bike? Were they a true apples to apples replacement for driving? I decided to alter my goal at that point, where I would just track the miles that I used to get to and from work.
I was at a good pace to reach that new goal until things got a bit busy. I was having to keep longer hours at the office, school was ramping back up for the kids and I had a few, further away, appointments throughout the week that required using the car. Eventually, that all tapered off and I was able to reach my new distance goal this week.
Overall, since April, I’ve replaced 1,082 miles of car trips with my bike (3 tanks of gas). Of those trips, 730 miles were commutes to and from work (2 tanks). And, I’m not finished yet. Even with the days getting shorter, I feel that I have a few more commutes left.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned this year while commuting (I’ll add more, later, as I remember them):
• Headwinds suck
• Set realistic goals – As much fun as riding is, this always helps with motivation.
• Education is fundamental for a confident ride – I can’t tell you how much TS101 and Cycling Savvy have reduced my stress level and increased my ride enjoyment.
• Headwinds suck
• Lighten your load – when I first started commuting, I tried to carry everything from spare clothes to my laptop, on my back. It felt like I was carrying another person. Now, I keep spare clothes at the office and I try to reduce my homework on days that I commute.
• Hydrate, a bunch – I’ve learned that I can’t neglect my body when it comes to the Texas heat.
• Look behind you – The best thing about a mirror is how it reduces my stress, not by letting me know when cars are behind me, but how few.
• Headwinds suck
• It’s not a race – It used to bother me when folks speed past me on the road. Now I just stick to my pace and enjoy the ride. Please, just announce your passing.
• Don’t fear the dark – One of my worries was the limited amount of daylight, because I was concerned about riding in the dark. I’ve since discovered that I like night riding (especially early in the morning), because there are fewer cars and it’s quite peaceful. Having a good set of lights is key.
• It really is uphill and against the wind both ways – You never really notice when you are riding on subtle downhills, but the subtle uphills are a nice reminder. Also, is it me or does the wind shift directions in the afternoon?
• Enjoy the ride – as soon as commuting becomes a chore, it’s no longer fun. Every once in a while, slow down, look around and say hello to people.
• Hand signals work – Sure, you might feel a bit nerdy using them. However, you’d be surprised at how many people you really communicate with.
• Headwinds suck
This popped up on the BFR Facebook page, so we thought we should share:
SPOKES for FOLKS CHRISTMAS PUSH THIS SUNDAY–Please come if you can
We have a lot to do—
• We are still trying to fill a 50 bike request for the four locations of Family Gateway
• Just received a new request for 36 bikes from the Heart of Africa associated with Lover’s Lane United Methodist Church.
• 30 – 50 families are coming from Jubilee Center to work and earn bikes for their kids—we need mechanics to help them learn!
Come rebuild bikes for several really good causes!
Sunday from 10 AM until about 2 PM
Everyone is welcome and needed, experienced or not. Bring tools if you have them.
8901 Chancellor Row at Hans Johnsen Company - south of 183 of Regal Row just past Superior Foods
It will be our last chance to rebuild bikes to give to others for the holidays.
Come for the camaraderie, come for the fun, come to learn more about repairing your own bikes.
PLUS—Dea Henson, expert massage therapist, is donating her time and skill—if you’re sore from riding, come build a bike and get a free massage!
Spokes for Folks is a non-profit organization – based in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas – that refurbishes donated bicycles that are then given to children of families that could not otherwise afford to buy them.
As I’ve become more confident on my bike, I decided to ride it more to work this summer. Starting the season with Bike To Work Week in May, I decided to ride the equivalent in miles of, at least, one full tank of gas. I drive an older MINI Cooper, which usually gets about 360 (city) miles on my normal commute. My only rule was the ride had to replace a typical trip that I would have normally taken in my car. This meant that some of my fun Suburban Assaults on the weekend, could not be counted.
This last commute on Friday brought me over the 360 mile mark.
Although my accomplishment this season is nothing compared to what some of the seasoned bike commuters are doing, I am pretty proud of myself for sticking with it during one of the hottest summers in north Texas. Getting close to a record streak, we’ve had over 35, consecutive 100+ degree days – so most of my commuting was done in unbearable heat.
I’m not finished. I’ll probably keep doing the bike commutes to work until I run out of daylight. As autumn rolls in, the sun will rise later and set earlier. Given the odd hours and long days that I work, this would push my commute into the dark hours. That is yet, another hurdle to get over.