Posts Tagged ‘Texas’
I’m sharing this content from the BFR blog.
Last weekend, the City of Richardson held their annual Trash Bash event, recruiting volunteers and organizations, from all over the city, to help pick up trash and get the city clean. Motivated by the success of our own trail cleanup day, my local advocacy group, Bike Friendly Richardson, stepped up to participate.
We took on the Spring Creak Nature Preserve area, a popular public park located on the southeast side of Renner Road and Central Expressway. The Preserve, with it’s scenic trails, is frequently visited area by cyclists – which made it the obvious location to focus our efforts.
Overall, we had 11 adults and 4 kids show up to help, and we filled about 8-10 bags. It was nice to give back to the city and care for the amenities that make this community so great.
Here are some pics of our volunteers:
Last week, BikeTexas hosted their Cyclists In Suits – Bicycle Lobby Day event at the Texas State Capital in Austin, Texas. This happens every other year, for more years than some of us have been advocates. I think we heard somebody mention that they were on their 9th or 10th visit to the capital.
Each time, cyclists from all over Texas, strip the lycra, wool and skinny jeans, to put on their best dress clothes. Business attire was key to being taken seriously as we represented the cycling community to the Texas State Legislature.
The bills we’re took to legislators were (links will take you to the text of the bills):
The Iris Stagner Safe Passing Act, HB 2459 & SB 1416
Ban on Texting while Driving, HB 80
Safety Light at Night, HB 471
Transportation Safety Advisory Committee, HB 1136
Safe Neighborhood Streets, SB 1717
We also let legislators know that we oppose HB 383, which would require bicycles to be equipped with a mirror as part of a safe passing law.
The group coming from Dallas was a bit smaller this year. Some folks drove down, while others shared a van hosted by BikeDFW.
This year’s event was organized a lot better than previous years. Although it was a shaky start, with a little bit of confusion in the crowd, the lobby teams were better organized so that each person got to visit the office of their own Senator and Representative, as well as the legislative offices near by. This allowed us to optimize our time by not having to run all over the capital building. Most of us were finished by lunch.
After lunch, we headed over to the Senate to hear a special resolution for people who ride bikes – read by bike friendly Senator, Rodney Ellis. From there, we headed over to the front of the Capital building for our group picture.
Once our lobbying was finished, the group headed over to the BikeTexas headquarters for a small wind-down event. It was nice to regroup, visit and talk about the days events and share cycling stories about our hometowns.
If you enjoy cycling and want to make it safer and more acceptable in Texas, this is definitely an event that you should be a part of. I look forward to seeing you there in 2017. Here are a few pics from the event:
I shared this on Facebook, but wanted to record it here for future reference as well as for those who are not friends with me on my social network.
Let me set the stage first. Today was a rare snow day in north Texas, but I usually try to get out and get a little bit of exercise before going to work – no matter what the conditions are. It was still dark and the sidewalk was covered in snow, ice and sleet.
I was walking out of my neighborhood to do my morning loop around it’s perimeter. Because it was dark and cold, I was sporting my reflective vest and full head coverage (now that I think of it, I can see how the head covering might have looked suspicious). As I was walking I crossed paths with some guy. Folks usually ignore each other this early in the morning, but this guy begged me for my help. He had a bike, so – at first – I thought he might have had a flat or some other mechanical issue. Instead, he said he needed help rolling both of his bikes to the next corner. He then pointed to his other bike a few feet over. The snow was so thick, that he was having trouble rolling both bikes.
The absolute first thing I asked was, “why do you have two bikes?” Without missing a beat, his immediate response was that it belonged to his old roommate and that it was left for him. At this point, I’m still suspicious, but I also started reasoning in my head. If he were a bike thief, he picked a hell of a time to steal bikes. He didn’t seem nervous, so perhaps, I should take him at face value.
My other reluctance to help was that I was heading the other way and I was on a time limit. However, I didn’t want him to just get away, so I tried to test/bluff him. I said I would help him roll is bikes a few feet, but only if he let me take a picture of him and his bikes. Without hesitation, he said yes.
He called my bluff.
I took the pics and he actually posed for his. He even offered me a few bucks to buy my breakfast, for helping. I declined. Keeping my word, I helped this stranger roll one of his bikes a few feet. Before we got too far, I sensed that he was having second thoughts. He immediately, turned and said that he could get it from there. Worried that he might try to grab my camera, I agreed, handed him the second bike and then walked the other direction. My goal share the pics online once I finished my walk. I thought about calling 911, but figured it was horrible out and emergency services are probably busy, dealing with actual emergencies.
As I was continuing my walk, a man in a truck pulled over (down the street where I had come out of my neighborhood). He got out and started following me. He was in plain clothes, but he flashed me his badge, stating that he was a police officer.
He saw me with one of the bikes, so he immediately started questioning me about the other guy, the bikes, who I was, where I lived, why I was out there, etc. We walked back to his truck as I explained the situation. I also tried to explain who I was, my involvement with the local bike community, and how I had taken pics of the guy and his bikes. Still suspicious of me, he asked if he could take a pic of my drivers license (not being in his squad car, he had no way to run my ID). Not having anything to hide, I agreed. He then stated that he would ‘destroy’ the photo, once they were done.
During this time, another police officer, in a Richardson Police Department squad SUV, pulled the guy with the bikes over. He radioed over to the officer with me, to inquire about me. My officer replied with, “he’s just a concerned citizen.” I took a sigh of relief, since I feared that I could be considered an accomplice. This was something I didn’t think about, when I agreed to interact with this guy.
After that, I continued on my walk, where I was able to reflect on a few things. First, in a situation like this, even though I was suspicious and took precautions, it’s hard to judge a person’s true intentions. Because of my lack of better judgement, I actually assisted this guy for a few feet. Next, I am grateful that we have such a great system of police, who actually catch people in the act. Finally, all being said, I still cannot say with certainty, that this guy was actually stealing bikes. I’m am not a police officer, prosecutor or judge, and I do not have any proof that this person is an actual bike thief. All I have is speculation.
My wife says that I’m too trusting with people. Perhaps, in this situation, she is right.
I’m curious as to how other people would have reacted in this situation. What would you have done?
Update: Because I can’t say for certain if this guy was actually stealing bikes, I decided it was only fair to distort his face in the image.
Richardson continues to impress me with their network of great bike and pedestrian access routes throughout the city. As part of that, we have some really nice multi-purpose trails. However, over time and through excessive usage, they have’ve gotten covered in litter, animal waste and broken glass. Instead of complaining about the mess, my local bike advocacy group, Bike Friendly Richardson, decided to take the maintenance and care of our trail network into our own hands.
We scheduled our first, hopefully of many, Trail Clean Up Days. Given such short notice, and everybody’s busy schedules, our first turnout wasn’t that great. We did get a few volunteers from all around the city, as well as somebody from our neighboring city, Plano. The plan was to try and fill as many trash bags (provided by the city) as possible in two hours.
Overall, we were pretty successful in filling 8-10 bags—not bad for a small group of people. Think about what we could have accomplished with more volunteers. There was still a lot more trash on the trail that we couldn’t get to. Perhaps we’ll get it all the next time.
Our goal is to do this more often than not—hopefully in other parts of the city as well. My only hope is that we’ve inspired other people to get out there and care for the public areas near them. This is our city, and we need to take responsibility for it.
This past weekend, I rode with my local bike advocacy group, Bike Friendly Richardson, in the City of Richardson’s 42nd Annual Christmas Parade. Of all the rides I do, this is one of my favorites. It’s not because of the great speeds or distance, but rather the opposite. Since this is a parade, the route is extremely short and equally as slow, which opens it up for people I don’t normally get to ride with, families.
Many folks decorated their bikes and brought candy to hand out to spectators. My neighbor, Howard, even brought his goat on a trailer, pulled by a tandem. My friend, Jenny, brought her young baby for his first parade. Both the goat and the baby were big hits with the crowd.
Riding with families in a parade accomplishes many goals – two of which are important to me. First, it allows families with kids (and goats) to be part of the bike culture, which hopefully builds a stronger bike community. Also, it allows the other folks, who weren’t riding, to see that cycling is something that’s fun and can be shared by all.
Participating in the parade definitely requires a lot of patience. Since you have to get there early, there is a more waiting than there is riding. I suggest that if you want to be part of a Christmas parade, folks with families, should try to arrive a bit later or have ways to entertain the kids until the start. Also, bring plenty of candy to hand out. I always seem to run out in the first 200 feet.
Here are a few pics from the parade. Click here to see the full set.
For the 6th year, bike riders from all over the north Dallas area gathered for Bike Friendly Richardson‘s annual Black Friday Ride. Each year, to celebrate the anniversary of our bike group, we launch the holiday season with what matters the most: having a nice, casual ride around town. No pressure. No shopping malls. No discount stores. No long lines. No angry people. Just a bunch of folks, enjoying the fresh air and a beautiful day.
Today, over 20 people gathered in front of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Richardson. We took a slow, mostly flat, ride around some of the more scenic roads and trails of Richardson. Here, we enjoyed some of the colorful fall foliage that doesn’t last very long in north Texas. Overall, the short route of about 12 miles gave us the perfect amount of riding – especially after a day of heavy feasting.
Each year, I am thankful to do this ride with so many great cycling friends.
Here are a few pics. Click here to see the full set.
As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite class to teach is helping adults learn to ride. It is by far the most rewarding for me.
One thing that I’ve learned, teaching this class, is that people are different, so some pick it up faster than others. There are times when students need to return for another class to continue their training. This weekend’s class, however, did really well and all were riding to some degree. All were able to leave the class knowing enough of the fundamental skills, so that they can continue their training at home.
I also discovered that switching up coaches during the class, allows the students to get a fresh perspective on their progress.
My hope is that, the more I teach this class, the more I will be able to anticipate and address each student’s individual needs.