Suburban Assault

Archive for the ‘Rides Around Town’ Category

Sunday In Suburbia

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Here are a few interesting pics that I took this weekend while riding around suburban Texas.

Under The PGB Tollway

This is a new trail under the PGB Tollway.

Trash Day

This was taken in an old neighborhood, just south of downtown Plano.

Parking Space

This was a nice surprise at the Starbucks down the street.

Written by dickdavid

August 29, 2011 at 5:32 am

Short Trips Made By Bike – In Texas

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Super Target Garland

I participate in the CLIF Bar 2-Mile Challenge. According to them, “40% of all urban travel in the US happens within 2 miles of where people live? 90% of that travel is by car!” Also, “25% of the United States’ carbon dioxide emissions come from motor vehicles.”

Making small trips by bike is a great way to live – in theory, but how realistic is it during the summer in north Texas? Some of you may know that I’m a glutton for 100+ degree punishment with my afternoon commutes from work. However, there aren’t very many of us. Plus, how practical is it to make a quick 5 mile (round trip) run to the local Super Target, when you end up drenched in sweat each time?

Well, if you plan your tips for the evening or morning, it’s a little more doable. Sure, it’s not the same as riding in the comfort of your air conditioned car, nor can you haul very much on a typical bike. However, when the right type of trip comes up at the right time, you should think about making it by bike. Every little bit helps.

Written by dickdavid

August 7, 2011 at 11:27 am

Yard Sales – Suburbia’s Junk Market

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Big Garage Sale

My wife loves yard/garage sales. Every time we pass a sign, she yells out “YARD SALE!”, where I’m purposely hesitant to respond, “where? where?”  — while not even bothering to look around. Meanwhile, we’ve gone far beyond the turn off. This is an ongoing joke with us, because she knows how much I dislike them.

Suburban Signs

Don’t get me wrong. I think they serve a great purpose here in the ‘burbs, allowing families a chance to relieve themselves of the massive amounts of stuff that they no longer need. Yard sales also give other families (some who may be less fortunate) a chance to obtain some stuff that they may actually need. A great example would be clothes, toys and other baby supplies that your kids outgrow. Most of it is hardly used and takes up a lot of space. Why not pass it on to a new family that needs it?

Yard Sale

So why do I dislike them? One problem that I have with yard/garage sales, is that level of disappointment I get when I DON’T find those one-of-a-kind treasures at next-to-nothing prices. Granted, I did find a sweet bike for my daughter once, but I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Typically, the ‘early risers’ clear out all the good stuff before the day even gets going. All that’s left is the worthless junk and the over-priced crap.

Speaking of over-priced, that’s my other issue with these suburban swap meets. This is junk that folks don’t want anymore. Why do they insist on charging so much money for it? I’m talking almost as much as they paid for it new. It’s almost as if they don’t actually want to get rid of the stuff.

The final reason I dislike yard sales is the fact that I already have enough junk in my life. Why would I want to buy more of other people’s junk?

But still, there’s nothing like a little gathering on your front lawn or back alley, to get your neighbors over for a nice visit. Like them or not, sometimes a yard/garage sale is the best way to meet your neighbors and build your community. Perhaps, I should stop the next time my wife yells out.

Yard Sale

Written by dickdavid

July 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Recap: Red, White and Bike Ride To The Local Fireworks Show

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Patriotic Bike

I’m not sure about your neck of the woods, but our local fireworks display in Richardson is quite an event. So much that it becomes a traffic jam and parking nightmare. Last night, we organized a group bike ride (called Red, White and Bike) to our local event to see if we can offer an alternative solution to this dilemma. I have to say, it was quite a success.

Tandems

Just Arrived

Setting Up Our Spot

Because we went by bike, we had complete passage through closed-off neighborhoods into Breckinridge Park, as well as our choice of parking and seating at the event. That alone, was enough to justify taking the bike over the car. But it wasn’t until we left the event, that we realized the significant difference with riding bikes. Within moments after the fireworks, every road was jammed full of cars trying to leave at once. On bikes, we were able to swoop past these cars, take a bike trail and bypass most of the traffic.

Eventually, we did have to share the road with the holiday event traffic – which was my biggest concern leading such a small, yet diverse, group. I have no problem taking an experienced group down main Richardson roads like Renner, but I was concerned with doing it at night with rushed drivers. I had originally scoped out a route that was farther and would have taken us much longer to get back to our starting point. However, the group was confident that the traffic down Renner Road was manageable, so we opted to take the more direct route. I’m glad we did.

To my surprise, the drivers were quite tolerant towards a small group of slow cyclists. Cars did whiz by us a few times, but nobody honked or yelled. The bikes were well lit, and because there were several of us grouped together, we were quite visible to traffic. The more direct route was flat, much shorter and got us back to the start sooner.

Here are the obstacles to driving a car to the event:
– Huge traffic jams – coming and especially going
– Extremely limited parking
– Blocked access to the park

Here are some of the obstacles to riding a bike to the event:
– Not kid friendly – as nice of a ride as is was, I would be concerned about taking kids into traffic a night.
– Limited back road access – unfortunately, that part of Richardson is hard to get to without taking major roads.
– Night riding with heavy traffic – although it was quite easy, I’m always concerned with bringing low-experienced riders into heavy traffic and low visibility.

As you can see, even though our ride was quite successful, we still have a lot of kinks to work out to make this a viable alternative for more people. I would eventually like to get the percentage of riders up so high, that the city would actually block off a lane of road for cyclists of all ages.

Written by dickdavid

July 5, 2011 at 6:48 am

My Bike To Work Week – 2011

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Ride To Work - Happy Trail Sign

Well, it’s the League of American BicyclistsNational Bike To Work Week, and I tried to participate as much as I could.

Of course, my initial goal was to ride every day this week. Because of my crazy schedule at work, it got trimmed down to Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Now, because of other commitments, I won’t be able to bike commute to work on Friday (National Bike To Work Day – the day I really wanted to do this).

Still, I got a couple of days in this week, and I use this event to kick off my season of bike to work commuting. It won’t be every day, but when my work load allows a normal day and the weather is nice, I’ll be commuting by bike.

Check out some pics from my rides:

Over The PGB Tollway

Ride To Work - Preston Ridge Trail

Ride Home

As a side note, of the three cities that I ride through to get to work (Richardson, Dallas and Plano), west Plano is the worst. The traffic in west Plano is not bike friendly. The neighborhoods (at least the ones on my route) are not interconnected – so a quiet, back street route is out of the question.

Basically, the biggest deterrent for my commute is having to ride through that part of town.

Written by dickdavid

May 19, 2011 at 8:15 am

Pics From The Earth Day Ride In Dallas

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I took a casual spin with a group of Dallas cyclists to celebrate Earth Day weekend. Colin Clarke with Switching Gears Cyclery, hosted the Cycle Celebration: Earth Day Dallas Bike Ride, today.

It was a fun ride around downtown Dallas that ended up at the Dallas Earth Day Festival near the Arts District. Here are some pics. Click HERE to see the entire set.

Bike Parking

Mounting Up

Riding Into Deep Ellum

Enjoying The Ride

Dallas By Rail Guys

Parked Bikes

Getting Back Into A Proper Suburban Assault

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Work has been keeping me busy for the past few weekends, so I haven’t been riding much. I made it my goal to get out this weekend and enjoy the great Texas weather. Enjoy some pics from my ride.

Under The PGB Tollway

Power Pole Base

World Market

Routh Creek Parkway

Car, Train, Bike

Written by dickdavid

April 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Winter Riding

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R

In case you haven’t heard, we got hit by a major winter storm that pretty much shut down the city.

After being cooped up in the house for four days, I decided to test out my snow (and ice) legs before today’s above-freezing temperatures melted it all away. I’ve ridden on snow before, but never snow covered ice. Just in case, I took the Redline Monocog, a single-speed mountain bike.

Not knowing what to expect, I took it slow and steady. Everything was fine – even a bit fun – except for some of the ice ruts on the road, formed by automotive traffic. Stopping on the ice was a bit dicey too.

Fortunately, I stayed upright and the Monocog performed really well. I even managed to grab a few, rare (in Texas) snow pics. Enjoy:

Snow Covered Trail

Snow Shadow

Snowy Bike Route

Ice Spray

Closed Collins Bridge

Written by dickdavid

February 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Videos Of More Richardson Bike Lanes

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We have more bike lanes in Richardson. This time, they run through the Duck Creek neighborhood in east Richardson. I took a spin to test them out and captured some video to share. Most of this first one is pretty boring – with the exception of the first minute or so.

You’ll notice the driver of the car that passes makes an error in timing that almost caused a collision (good thing my squeaky old brakes held out). I chalk this one up to driver inexperience – in dealing with new street markings and in with cyclists. I’m hoping as time passes, the resident drivers of the neighborhood will become more aware of their two-wheeled friends.

If you were wondering if the new bike lanes are helping to slow down traffic, I shot some video of passing cars on Yale Boulevard to help gauge it. You can see that there are mixed results. I’m hoping that as folks become more aware of the new lane markings, there will be a more traffic-calming effect.

Written by dickdavid

December 12, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Cooler Days = More Riders

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When I say cooler days, I’m not kidding. With weeks of over 100 degree, rainless weather here in Texas – any drop in temperature is appreciated. It was actually in the 70s in the morning and the trails, bike lanes and roads were filled with more than the usual number of cyclists. We’re no Portland, Boulder or San Francisco, but it sure is nice to see people using their bikes to get around.

Cyclists Taking Advantage Of The New Bike Lane

My Turn On The Bike Lane

It Helps To Have Bike Parking At Our Destinations

More Bikes Parked Out Front

Written by dickdavid

August 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm

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