Posts Tagged ‘Garland’
Believe me, I am completely grateful when anybody puts up racks for bike parking in front of their business. I appreciate it even more when it’s a major chain that happens to be a gasoline station – primarily catering to car drivers.
However, I think that the people who installed these racks must not ride bikes with handlebars. Sure, with some careful contorting of your bike, these are somewhat functional. I just feel that pulling them away from the wall, even just a few more inches, would have made much more sense.
It’s a start. I guess I shouldn’t complain. Right?
I first heard about the Lee F. Jackson, Spring Creek Forest Preserve Trail on Facebook. It’s a small recreational trail, located on the northwest side of Garland, between N. Garland Avenue and Holford Road. Click here to see it on a map.
Like a lot of trails in north Dallas, it’s nice and scenic, but doesn’t go anywhere. Looking at the area map, it looks like there is the potential for the preserve to connect many Richardson and Garland neighborhoods to some major retail areas in Garland – including Firewheel Town Center. For now, it just starts at a parking lot on Holford Road and ends mid-block at N. Garland Avenue.
Even getting to it by bike is slightly difficult. Holford is a narrow two lane road with no shoulder, and isn’t very bike friendly. Fortunately, there isn’t much traffic on it.
Once you are on the trail, it’s a smooth, paved route that goes for a little more than a half mile. Part of it runs along Spring Creek, which has a nice view.
The route is a lot more relaxed than the stretch of Arapaho, between Shiloh and N. Garland Road. If you are in the area, you should check it out. I’ll be keeping an eye on this area, in hopes that the trail will get extended to make it more accessible for commuting.
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).
Last Saturday was a pretty big day for me. I got to help teach a Traffic Skills 101 class for the first time. Co-instructing with me, was fellow League of American Bicyclists LCI graduate, Jenny. As recent graduates, we both have to co-instruct two classes before we can teach on our own. We were there to assist head instructor-extrodinare Mike and veteran instructor Brad, with 11 students in Garland.
As part of our instructor training, Jenny and I had to scope out locations for our parking lot drills, as well as map out the road course. We took a field trip to the area and decided that a local DART parking lot would work best for the parking lot drills. While out there, we decided to drive the road course that Jenny had plotted using Google maps – addressing any potential issues and altering the course as needed. We wanted to get a wide selection of roads to give us the opportunity to teach the students about a variety of road conditions. Also, since the road course was new to both of us, we returned to ride it the weekend before the class – just to make sure.
On the day of the class, Jenny and I carpooled. With bikes balanced on the bike rack, we rolled into the parking lot of local bike shop, Don Johle’s Bike World. My car was full of gear, forms, certificates and – most important – breakfast. The students were already gathering in front of the shop, ready to learn. So, after getting everybody introduced, registered, fed and ABC Quick Checked, we all rode to the DART parking lot to start the parking lot drills.
Parking Lot Drills:
Since Jenny and I were co-teaching our first class, Mike let us take the lead on giving instructions. Jenny and I tag-teamed this task, each helping the other fill in the gaps of information that the other might have missed. Once each drill was discussed and demonstrated, the group would split into two for practice runs. I worked with Mike and Jenny worked with Brad – who happened to be one of our TS101 instructors, when we took the class.
After lunch at Taco Cabana, it was time to do the road portion of the course. This can be taught a few different ways, as long as you are exposing your students to a variety of road conditions that they will encounter when they are riding on their own. We opted to ride as one group, while giving the students a few small exercises of riding solo. This gave them the opportunity to individually read, process and execute their routes using the information learned with the online course, as well as what we taught them with the parking lot drills.
When finished with the road course, the group returned to the bike shop, where the instructors were able to evaluate each student. Each scored very well and earned their Traffic Skills 101 Certificate.
Both Jenny and I appreciated the chance to co-instruct with great teachers, as well as this group of fantastic students. We couldn’t have ask for a better class to be our first. We hope that as we teach more of these classes, we get more refined and are better prepared to confidently teach on our own.
Yesterday, we drove out to Garland, Texas to check out the North Texas Vintage Bicycle Swap Meet – sponsored by Don Johle’s Bike World and Rat Rod Bikes. I love bike swap meets because they’re clearing houses for bike hoarders – my kind of people. Fortunately, my wife always comes along and brings me back to reality. Otherwise, we would have a garage full of bikes and no money to pay the mortgage.
Instead, I satisfy my vintage bike addiction with my hoards of photographs. Here are a few (click here to see the set).
We did discover a great new (to us) bike shop. While at the swap meet, we popped into Don Johle’s Bike World to check it out. It was a small, run-down, mom & pop type establishment with an odd mix of road bikes, BMX bikes, mountain bikes, and cruisers – as well as a few cool vintage restorations (mostly BMX). What won us over was the really friendly staff, who you could tell, really loves bikes.
Or maybe not.
Garland is a suburban city just northeast of Dallas and east of my town, Richardson. Being tucked away from most major highways, many of the newer corporations (and their wealth) that are settling in north Texas, seemed to stay away – bringing better economy to the rest of the metroplex. With the exception of the growth along the PGB Tollway and the Firewheel Town Center, Garland seemed to truly be a forgotten town in north Texas.
On my typical drives through Garland I’m always left wondering, what has happened to this town? What seemed like grand, old shopping centers are abandoned and left for dust. Empty lots are ignored and overgrown. Sidewalks and streets are cracked and sprinkled with debris and litter. Used car lots, fast food restaurants and thrift shops seem to outnumber grocery stores. Garland is old and showing it’s years – at least to those driving by.
I took a spin through the heart of the city this morning expecting nothing more than a few colorful and well textured photos. I figured that I would at least get a nice ride and satisfy any curiosity I might have for exploring my neighboring town.
My first impression of Garland is that the drivers are less than friendly to cyclists. You can tell this by the way they over-rev their engines as they pass you. Like most Texas drivers, I expect that they are just not used to seeing too many bicycle riders around town and don’t have the patience to go around them. I mostly stick with back streets, but since I’m not too familiar with those in Garland, I had to keep to the sidewalks of the main streets.
As I rode into town, my expectations were met as I came across several run-down businesses and shopping centers. The discoveries were sad but interesting which lead me explore more and drive myself towards downtown.
As I got closer to downtown Garland, I started to notice that the surrounding homes were getting nicer. Some of the older buildings and churches appeared to be better maintained and, in contrast to some of the previous shopping centers, occupied. This looked promising.
Unexpectedly, when I arrived to the downtown area, I discovered a nice little town center that seemed on the verge of being completely revitalized. Some of the older buildings have been restored, and there was the presence of some new urban-type development. Loft like apartments were springing up just south of the DART rail station which complimented the new Patty Granville Art Center very well.
I’ve seen this type of suburban-urban development in Plano, Addison and Richardson, but somehow, they didn’t seem as well executed as what I saw in Garland. I’m starting to see a really nice destination being developed here and I hope to see it thrive.
Garland has taken me by surprise. I would never have expected to see this small pocket of cool in an area with such unappreciated surroundings. To be honest, I was feeling a bit jealous. It just goes to show you that you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover. If you have a town like Garland in your neck of the woods, don’t just write it off. Take a chance and explore it on your bike. You never know what you might find.
At this point, my only true criticism is that it isn’t very bicycle safe. I hope bike friendly routes are in the plan for Garland.