Suburban Assault

My Code For Riding – Part 3 – Where I Ride

with 20 comments

I live in the ‘burbs

I’m a firm believer that your environment plays a big roll in how you ride. I like to imagine living in a transportation utopia, where drivers, cyclists and pedestrians coexist in harmony and the wind is always at your back. The truth is most of the cities in north Texas have been built around the car. Yes, we have the weekend warriors that do the group road bike rides around town, but general, day-to-day cycling is pretty scarce. Because of this, bicycling has become less prevalent in my town, which contributes to the problem of limited bicycle rider awareness with most Texas drivers.

Although Richardson has some quiet neighborhood streets and the start of a nice little network of trails and bike lanes, there are routes that intersect with US 75, a major freeway that cuts right through the middle. In order to get from one side to the next, a cyclist must interact with several major roadways to cross it.

I like to think of myself as somewhat experienced at riding, but the thought of sharing some of these busy roads with speeding cars terrifies me. Until a solution is made, I’ll opt for the route that I am comfortable with (although some would consider not the safest) – even if that means taking the sidewalk. I can see a collective of vehicular cyclists cringing right now, but I won’t get too deep into this topic until Part 4.

I love riding around Richardson and I love the fact that they are making efforts to making the city more bike friendly. I just hope people start riding more, drivers become more aware and Richardson becomes that bicycle utopia.

Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – About Me
Part 3 – Where I Ride
Part 4 –  What Kind Of Rider Am I
Part 5 – Bicycle Advocacy
Part 6 – Conclusion

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Written by dickdavid

October 20, 2009 at 6:00 am

Posted in General Cycling

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20 Responses

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  1. […] My Code For Riding – Part 3 – Where I Ride « Suburban Assault Click here to cancel reply. […]

  2. […] 1 – Introduction Part 2 – About Me Part 3 – Where I Ride Part 4 –  What Kind Of Rider Am I – Coming Part 5 – Bicycle Advocacy – […]

  3. Yes, I am cringing! But I will keep my peace for now.

    I do have one question though, are the right lanes of those major streets narrow or wide? (I would consider a lane as being wide if two automobiles could travel side-by-side within the lane.)

    This is a good series, and us “experienced” cyclists ought to pay close attention. The way we felt when we first began is getting clouded in the mists of time.

    ChipSeal

    October 20, 2009 at 9:57 am

    • I hear you. Hopefully, folks will see the point I’m going to make with this series. I’m not going to preach the right or wrong way to ride, but rather share the perspective of a new-to-commuting cyclist and discuss the evolution from a driver’s perspective. Maybe there’s something in this discussion that will help bridge the gap between those experienced and those who are hesitant to share the road.

      The lanes I am referring to are Beltline, Arapaho, Campbell and Renner – all major throughways for cross-town traffic. Most with 40 mph speed limits, which means car traffic is traveling up to 50+ mph. All are 3 wide lanes each way.

      dickdavid

      October 20, 2009 at 10:14 am

      • I am meaning no dis-respect, Richard, but the lanes on all those roads are narrow, at least around hwy 75. It looks to me like the right lane on Beltline is even less than 10 feet wide, very narrow indeed!

        I think of roads like that as ones having a ten foot wide un-marked bike lane that is available for automobiles to use when a cyclist is not present.

        What’s not to love about an extra wide bike lane?

        ChipSeal

        October 22, 2009 at 11:09 am

        • @ ChipSeal.

          None taken. Those lanes (Arapaho, Beltline, etc.) looked wide, but I don’t have much of a reference point.

          dickdavid

          October 22, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    • Speak for yourself, ChipSeal. I still vividly remember going over the handlebars on my JC Higgins bike in Ravenna Park in Seattle when I was 10 and my front wheel caught on a stick. My first bike path accident…

      Steve A

      October 20, 2009 at 10:20 pm

  4. Vehicular cyclists are like Yeti. Clearly you need to read my blog regarding such things. Seriously, this series is starting to get interesting. It has inspired me already. Stay safe!
    😉

    Steve A

    October 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    • I’ve discovered some great new blogs (including yours) in the past few weeks. Now it’s time to play catch up.

      Trust me, my next post will not fuel a debate about the better way to cycle. It will be more about perspective and the steps I’m taking to become a better commuter.

      dickdavid

      October 20, 2009 at 8:35 pm

  5. See the link. I’m not cringing, but I AM considering the problem. The roads you cite are similar to FM1709, and it’s the prototype for the FIRST circumstance. Sometimes I hold my breath before I make my right turn off that street, but I get better each time I ride that SOB. It is not something for someone just starting to get used to street riding.

    Steve A

    October 20, 2009 at 8:38 pm

  6. I did not expect that these posts were intended to fuel such debates. That’s part of what makes them so intriguing. Becoming better riders is what we ALL ought to aspire to. That means many different things…

    Steve A

    October 20, 2009 at 9:39 pm

  7. Man, the thought of crossing under 75 terrifies me too. I grew up in Richardson and only after I went to college and returned for visits did I see even a bicyclist on the road. And they were all road bikers, all gussied up in their jerseys and gear. Good to know that there are more urban riders now!

    Fern

    October 21, 2009 at 11:47 am

  8. […] 1 – Introduction Part 2 – About Me Part 3 – Where I Ride Part 4 –  What Kind Of Rider Am I Part 5 – Bicycle Advocacy – Coming Part 6 […]

  9. […] 1 – Introduction Part 2 – About Me Part 3 – Where I Ride Part 4 –  What Kind Of Rider Am I Part 5 – Bicycle Advocacy Part 6 – Conclusion […]

  10. Richard, though I have been busy with other stuff (as you know), I have been reading this series of articles. You are doing a great job. I appreciate the thoughtful and respectful comments from everyone.

    While it may no be used that often, I would point out also that Spring Valley and Collins are also ways across 75. I don’t really recomment Spring Valley, but in the evenings I have used Collins. Very little traffic on it after the rush hour. I typically use Belt Line to cross under Central, and I must admit that I usually simply use the south-side crosswalk, ride over the raised section under the freeway, and into the parking lot on the other side. From there I have easy access to Polk street, which is usually pretty chill.

    bibliosk8

    November 12, 2009 at 8:29 am

    • Like you, I use Collins quite often-especially since it runs through my hood.

      dickdavid

      November 12, 2009 at 8:50 am

  11. Richard, I’m curious about this, and since I don’t have kids I really have no idea.

    I grew up right across Arapaho from where you live. When I was growing up, the kids and teens in that area rode bikes EVERYWHERE. We rode them to school up at Berkner High School, Apollo Jr. High, and the various elementary schools. To our friends houses.

    Do kids still do that?

    Granted, there aren’t really any good destinations anymore. For example, kids from all over used to ride over to Richardson Square Mall, or just across Plano Rd. to the old Twin Rivers miniature golf/batting cages/video game place. Huffines Park and the Rec Center.

    It seems like, now that I think about it, there are aren’t any gathering places for kids and teens over there anymore, except the new Rec Center.

    What is your take on this?

    bibliosk8

    November 12, 2009 at 9:50 am

    • They were different times back then. I remember the days of just leaving and the morning and not coming home until we were hungry or it got dark.

      I have to say that we’re over-protective parents. In spite of my kid’s request to go off on their own, we haven’t allowed it. I’d love for them to have the free range that we had when we were kids, but with all the information about bad people in the world, it’s just so hard to let go. It’s sad that we have to think that way.

      dickdavid

      November 12, 2009 at 10:34 am

  12. Y’all have that nice bike path over there now, connecting your neighborhood with my old one, and going way up north. Really cool.

    If we could just build a 60-foot King Kong wall to keep Garland out, things would be pretty nice.

    bibliosk8

    November 12, 2009 at 10:58 am

  13. […] 1 – Introduction Part 2 – About Me Part 3 – Where I Ride Part 4 –  What Kind Of Rider Am I Part 5 – Bicycle Advocacy Part 6 – […]


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