Archive for the ‘General Cycling’ Category
We’ve been doing the Black Friday Ride for 8 years. Each time we learn something new, to try and improve upon the previous years. This year, was one of the best group rides that we’ve done, so far. It was the perfect combination of great weather, great planning, great refreshments and—most of all—great riders.
This year’s route was planned by active BFR member Howard and his wife Rita. It was nice and flat, and stayed on the east side of Richardson. In past years, we tried to accommodate the group by splitting the ride onto both sides of town—crossing Central, a major interstate highway through town. We decided to avoid that and start alternating these rides, doing the east side this year and west side next. This kept the 8.5 mile loop safe and easy for all riders.
We also decided to start and end the ride at Yale Park, one of Richardson’s local public spaces. This allowed us to hang out and visit, brew some coffee and snack on some pizza. A nearby playground was great for the kids of all ages. The park allowed us to mingle without interrupting the traffic and crowds of a local business parking lot, our typical starting point.
The ride took us to fellow BFR member, Jenny’s house, where we enjoyed some nice shade, a warm fire pit and some great refreshments in her back yard. The 5 minute pit stop turned into a 20-30 minute social gathering. It was great to enjoy the company of my fellow riders.
There were a few other surprising highlights from the ride:
– We truly had one of the broadest age range of any group ride – all practicing great ride etiquette.
– Richardson drivers were super friendly, going out of their way to accommodate our larger, relatively not-so-fast, group. It was pleasant to wave a ‘thank you’ and get a genuine smile and wave back.
– Although some of the group fell behind, several folks stepped up to make sure we kept together – waiting at corners and hitting the ‘walk’ button at intersections.
THIS is the stuff that makes riding welcoming for all.
Here are some pics from the ride. Click here to see the whole set.
Well, it happened. I got to 50 years. Although I’m not one for big celebrations, I do recognize that it was a significant milestone. To help me recognize this, I decided to do a 50 mile ride.
My original plan was to take part in Pondero’s Eighth Annual Fall Finale Fifty-ish Mile Country Path Ramble. This would have happened, but my mother came to town to help celebrate my birthday. She doesn’t get up here as much and I’ve come to understand, through a coworker’s unexpected parental loss, I cannot to take these visits for granted.
The all-day Ramble was out.
I still wanted to recognize my milestone with a significant ride, so I decided to just do a quick ride on the same morning. Instead of an all-day tour, my ride took a few hours and I was finished by 10:30am. It wasn’t nearly as fun as the Ramble, but mission accomplished.
I ended up riding through 7 cities—Richardson, Plano, Frisco, Carrollton, Addison, Farmer’s Branch and Dallas—to accomplish my goal. It wasn’t a nice, open-country ride, but it had it’s own significance.
Perhaps, I will ride the Ramble next year.
As my 50th birthday approaches, I’ve been wanting to do some sort of ‘big’ ride. My original plan was to do some sort of solo S24O (Sub-24 hour Overnight) camping trip, but I never got prepared. My backup plan was to just do a 50 mile loop from my house. Somehow, that just seemed like another weekend ride – just longer.
Then I saw this post from some friends on Facebook. It’s the Eighth Annual Fall Finale Fifty-ish Mile Country Path Ramble, which is the perfect distance on the exact day I was going to ride. I’ve followed Chris (aka Pondero) for some time, thinking that I would like to participate in one of his rambles some day. I can’t think of a better time than my 50th.
Life gets in the way of life.
The irony of my situation is that this blog has led me to be more active in my local bike community. Being more active has led me to be more involved. Being more involved eventually led me to not having enough time to post to this blog.
Basically, 2016 will mostly be a wash with posts. I am making a commitment, to myself, to start posting again.
Let’s start with something fun. A few years ago, I thought it would be funny to ‘Photoshop’ my head/face onto old bicycle images and artifacts, and post them as my Facebook profile pictures. I am currently revisiting them.
I decided to pull them all together and share them here. For reference, I’ve composited them with the original shot. I’m such a tool.
It’s Back! Friday, May 20, 2016 is The League of American Cyclists‘ 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.
Based on our great success in Richardson 4 years ago (which grew to 5 stations around Dallas 3 years ago, and continues to grow every year) BikeDFW, DART and local bike groups have partnered up to host another 8 Bike Commuter Energizer Stations around the Dallas/Fort Worth area:
• ROWLETT – DART Downtown Rowlett Station
• DALLAS – DART St. Paul Station
• OAK CLIFF – DART Oakenwald Street Car Stop
• RICHARDSON – DART Arapaho Center Station
• PLANO – DART Downtown Plano Station
• IRVING – TRE South Irving/Heritage Crossing station
• FARMERS BRANCH – DART Farmers Branch Station
• ADDISON – DART Addison Transfer Station
DATE: Friday, May 20, 2016
TIME: 7:00-9:00 am
We will be providing snacks, beverages and FREE bicycle safety checks at most stations.
Let us know you are coming on our Facebook Event Page.
First let me say, Happy New Year. I hope your 2016 is full of good health, happiness and many good rides.
When your year has been as busy as mine, all you have to do is blink and then it’s all over. Here is a quick recap of some of the highlights. As I’ve posted already, there were some big bike events for me this year, this included going to Cyclists in Suits, taking part in a trail cleanup day, my city was awarded a Bronze Bike Friendly Community Status and we hosted our annual Bike To Work Day Recharge Station. That was all before the summer.
In addition to helping out with Bike To Work Day, my son and I volunteered to help out at one of the stations at the Mesquite charity ride. It was nice to give back, after being supported on many Richardson Wild Rides.
During the summer, we took our first family vacation in 5 years – a much needed break. This time, we went to New Orleans – close enough to drive, but far enough to feel like we went somewhere.
Once we were back much of my free time was spent actually riding and bike commuting. I even managed to get some challenging grocery rides in.
All summer long, we were able to teach a few Adult Learn To Ride classes. Those are always rewarding.
This year’s Black Friday Ride got rained out. I’m still looking for a makeup date. We did have a great time at the Richardson Christmas Parade.
It looks like I rode more this year, than I have in previous years. I reached a new goal of 2,400 miles (riding and walking).
Finally, to cap off my year, my wife talked me into getting a new SUV. Let me introduce you to my Kona Ute, Melba Davis.
I started this as part of a recap for 2015, but as I started writing, I realized there was more to say about New Orleans.
During this past summer, we took our first family vacation in 5 years – a much needed break. This time, we went to New Orleans – close enough to drive, but far enough to feel like we went somewhere. We stayed in an Airbnb in the north side of town, outside of the touristy French Quarter. I discovered that the locals weren’t fans of out-of-town folks staying in their neighborhoods. I overheard one woman in a coffee shop say, “I don’t like them…They’re not invested in the neighborhood…They just park anywhere (parking was awful and extremely limited)…They’re just using it like a hotel room.” As a homeowner, I completely understand how they feel and would probably think the same way if there were some Airbnbs in my neighborhood. However, as a visitor, I highly recommend an Airbnb stay. It’s much better than a hotel room, where we felt like out-of-town guests, instead of tourists. Just try to be respectful and treat each neighborhood as if it were your own.
I brought my bike and I’ll discuss that in a bit. First, I want to give my overall view of New Orleans. Although I’ve been there a few times, it’s always been in the tourist areas, eating lots of touristy foods, drinking lots of touristy booze. Going as a family, we wanted to get a taste of how a local would experience the city – with a little bit of sightseeing in the mix. We drove a lot, and now I have a love/hate relationship with the Google GPS App. Since the streets are extremely confusing to a non-local, the GPS was helpful, until it took us 10 blocks out of our way to get to a place just down the street. Once we were more familiar with the area, we only used it for pre-trip mapping and going the last mile(s). It was funny listening to the voice prompt attempting to pronounce some of the French street names. Dupre was referred to as “Dupper.”
As expected, New Orleans is truly different than my north Texas suburb. If you’ve ever coveted the idea of living in a more dense city infrastructure, you should visit a city like New Orleans. At first, you’ll find yourself complaining about how crowded and overlapped the buildings are, as well as how narrow the streets get with limited parking. But when you settle in, you start to notice how well the people exist around each other, how well transportations syncs and how nearby destinations are actually more of a convenience—because they are actually nearby. I started to view the wide-open space of my suburban sprawled neighborhood as less of a luxury and more of a burden. There is something really nice about and old, dense neighborhood with local coffee shops, grocery stores, restaurants within walking distance. It makes you hate those drive-thru Starbucks and mega-marts even more.
Riding a bike in the city of New Orleans is much different than in my city. My first impression of a cyclist in the Big Easy was more of a shock, than a familiar comfort. As we were driving back from dinner, our first night, I saw a cyclist queue-jumping and running red lights. It was late, she didn’t have any lights or helmet and she was weaving all over the road. We saw a few cyclist who rode like this, so I started to equate all New Orleans cyclists as scofflaws. As it turns out, everybody is like this in New Orleans—cyclist, drivers AND pedestrians. Transportation was an awkward, clumsy ballet of wrong, where everybody was making up their own rules—but somehow, it all synchronized well.
I was able to sneak in a few morning rides around town. I even managed to ride down to the French Quarter. I discovered, even riding my slowest, I was still one of the fastest cyclists around. Slow and easy was the pace in New Orleans, and I was ok with that. I was also one of the few wearing a helmet. For a while, I was worried that it would give me away as a tourist, but I think having air in my tires was already doing that (see pic above). In the end I realized that nobody cared about me, my full tires or my helmet head and I was able to enjoy some really nice rides around town. There were also some nice bike lanes, with more on the way, which made the slow pace easier around the not-so-slow traffic. Riding early in the morning helped as well. Overall, if I lived in that area and with parking as bad as it was, I would definitely ride my bike much more often.
We loved visiting New Orleans. It was good to get a new perspective of an old city. Although the city is known more for it’s tourist attractions, and less about it’s strong neighborhoods communities, I can see how folks are proud to call it home.