Posts Tagged ‘Dallas’
We stopped by the Texas Custom Bicycle Show last weekend to check out all the local bike builders. The show included True Fabrication, Violet Crown, Phantasm, Southwest Frameworks, Gallus Cycles, Millennium (Massengill), DalTex, Gjertsen, Kirklee, Edoz, Clyde James Cycles and more. As usual, the bikes on display did not disappoint. I only wish we could have stayed longer to visit with more of the builders.
I even picked up a couple of cool t-shirts from the event. My only complaint of the event is purely selfish. I wish the venue was a little better lit with less clutter in the background – mostly so that I can get better pics of the beautiful bikes.
I took a ride with my buddy on Saturday and we tried a new route. On that new stretch, we ran across this strange looking object – a huge eye, just beyond a fence, looking straight at us. It was interesting how it was placed so randomly with the construction, and I’m sure there’s a story behind that.
I also took a ride on Sunday to get more pictures of local sculptures for a scavenger hunt I will be hosting in October. That morning, I ran across some interesting characters: a sleeping bum (odd in the ‘burbs), an opossum, and this little guy (see below). The Nine-banded Armadillo is the state mammal (small) of Texas, but you rarely see them alive and 3 dimensional (at least along the road). He looked like a giant pill bug with a head, a tail and furry legs.
A couple of new businesses have opened near me, and both have really cool rack systems for bike parking.
The first is Whole Foods in Addison. Although it’s bittersweet that they closed the store that was closer to me, their new store in Addison is pretty impressive. What makes it even more impressive is their cool bike racks that are in the shape of bicycles.
The next business is the new Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Richardson. Not only has this become one of the hottest destinations in town, it also has an amazing lineup of bike racks that are in the shape of film reels.
I’m glad that both of these businesses care enough about cyclists, and got really creative with their bike parking. This shows that there are some forward-thinking business owners that care about supporting alternate transportation, the local bike culture and a strong community.
I hope that bike parking, like this, continues to be an ongoing trend with new construction around town.
I’ve been spending most of my time riding for utility, with the purpose of commuting or to reaching a destination. As much fun as I have doing that, sometimes it’s just nice to just go for a fun ride – with no goals or destinations. I did that last weekend.
I took the DART train into Dallas and meet my friend Jason from the Wild Ride. He took me on one of his regular weekend routes, which was a nice loop from his house, into downtown Dallas, down the Santa Fe Trail, around White Rock Lake, and then back to his house. Overall, the route was just shy of 30 miles – but it didn’t feel like it.
It was nice to get out of my town and experience another city. Although I’ve ridden around Dallas before, it’s been a while, and not on this course. There are always some amazing things to discover when exploring a new and different route. I’ll try to keep changing it up every once in a while.
I’m a strong believer that if you build a good network of bike parking, more people will ride their bikes. Better destinations that accommodate cyclists and provide safe places to secure their bikes is a win for any community. What I often wonder is, what impression are people getting when they see empty racks? Do they think that the racks are a waste of money and use up ‘precious’ sidewalk and parking lot space?
Are they really working to get more cyclists out?
In contrast – at locations where there aren’t bike racks – I wonder what people think when they see bikes locked to things like fences, benches, street signs, gas meters or shopping cart returns? I find it quite frustrating to see this unbalance of empty bike racks in some areas, where in others, you see bikes locked to random things. The problem is, where do you put bike parking racks so that they actually get used?
My solution is, everywhere.
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.