Posts Tagged ‘Texas’
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.
My local bike advocacy group, BikeDFW, was asked to share a tent at the Big D Bicycle Village, which was part of the Untapped Festival in Dallas. Although it wasn’t a bicycle event, it would be attended by plenty of like-minded, bike friendly people. We thought it would be a great opportunity to get some good exposure outside of our normal circle of influence. Plus, they let us host the table for free – which allows us to better optimize our resources.
The event was extremely successful with a great crowd of beer and music enthusiasts. Although we didn’t grow our membership, we did a great job of increasing our awareness.
Dallas needs to have more events like this.
Here are some pics from the event. Click here to see the set.
Here BikeDFW board member, Alan tests out a Buffalo Bike.
Last weekend, BikeDFW was asked to help out a local Boy Scout troop earn their merit badge in cycling, so we held a Bicycling Skills 123 clinic in Allen, Texas. Not only did we have the opportunity to teach some great kids, but also their parents. We wanted to leave this group with some good bicycle knowledge, so that the whole family can work together to ride safely. I feel that if the parents are safe riders, the kids will pick that up from them.
It was great to see the progress these kids have made, especially since many of them couldn’t even ride a few weeks ago. They were part of our successful learn to ride program.
It was also great to have three new League Cycling Instructors to help teach the class. Two of them came from Fort Worth, which is quite a distance from Allen.
Here are a few pics from the class.