Suburban Assault

Archive for the ‘Rides Around Town’ Category

BFR’s Black Friday Ride

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BFR Black Friday Ride

Take a spin and avoid the Black Friday crowds.

Please join BFR for an impromptu, casual ride to signify the kick-off of Bike Friendly Richardson.

They will be taking a spin through some quiet west Richardson neighborhoods. The pace will be casual and the route will be on low traffic roads.

They’ll start and finish at Santa’s Village (at the fountain in front of The Richardson Civic Center). The loop will be about 10 miles with a small Starbuck’s break in the middle.

Route Map:

View Black Friday Ride in a larger map

IF you Facebook, here is an Event Page that you can RSVP to.

!!!ATTENTION DART RED LINE RIDERS!! – DMN has posted that DART will be running their SATURDAY schedule on Black Friday. Please double check dart.org for times. Go here for more info.

Written by dickdavid

November 19, 2009 at 10:50 am

My Journey To The CycleBABBLE Ride

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I took a bike ride in Fort Worth yesterday with some really cool cyclists from across the DFW Metroplex. The ride was put together by a bunch of North Texas bloggers who are calling themselves BABBLE (Bicycling Authors, Bloggers, Bold-face Liars, & Exaggerators). The group that showed up was a wonderful mix of all types of riders including general cyclists, fixed gear folks,  a guy on a cruiser, a guy on a recumbent AND a guy pulling a trailer with his kid in the back. All complete strangers with one common passion for cycling.

I won’t write too much about the ride since Myles with Rat Trap Press has done a great job at that. Read about it here.

What I want to write about is my journey to Fort Worth – getting to the ride. I live in Richardson, which is at the opposite end of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Yes, I could have easily tossed the bike on the back of the car and drove it to the ride, but I’ve been wanting to see if the area mass transit system would work for me.

I was very optimistic about the journey, but it’s not without its flaws. When you’re trying to reach a destination at a specific time, you need to do alot of planning. I’m sure if I used the DART system more often, planning would have been a bit easier. The night before, I got online and pulled up train schedules – working backwards from my destination. I also had to do a bit of research to find out how much money I needed for ride tickets and if bringing my bike was allowed. Again, something I wouldn’t need to do if I used mass transit more often.

The Start:

I got an early start because the last thing I wanted was miss my first train and throw off my route schedule. I took a slow, pre-dawn ride to the Arapaho Rail Station. Since I was working with very limited light, I had to take my time and keep an eye out for the 2 or 3 cars that were on the road at the time. When I got to the station, I completely expected to be the only person there. Was I ever wrong. Apparently, the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure run was happening in Dallas that morning as well. The train platform was full of pink T-shirts and sleepy, suburban, race supporters.

The Red Line:

Since the bike ride to the Arapaho Station was quicker than I thought, I was able to catch an earlier train. As the pink crowd boarded the train, I asked the operator if he had room for me and my bike. I could tell from his expression that he didn’t think it was a good idea, but he kindly agreed to let me on. I did my best to squeeze into the smallest corner of the train and the other passengers were surprisingly accommodating.

The train stopped a few more times, taking on more Race supporters, until we finally reached their destination – the Park Lane station. All at once, a sea of pink exited the train leaving just a few folks with me and my bike. A few stops later, I arrived at my first destination, Mockingbird Station.

Mockingbird Station wasn’t what I was expecting either. Being so early on a Saturday, you’d expect the crowds to be thin, if nonexistent. Instead, there was a mass of NEW T-shirt colors. This time, instead of pink, it was maroon and burnt orange. Crap, I forgot it was Texas/OU weekend in Dallas. For those of you don’t know, this rival college football game has been a tradition with these schools and our city for many years. The game is always played at the Cotton Bowl which pulls mass crowds from every direction, making it a nightmare to get around Dallas. Fortunately, the next part of my route was down the Katy Trail – free of college football fans.

Katy Trail to Victory Park:

The next part of the route was the Katy Trail, which I’ve only been down once before with a Fleetwood’s Kit Kat cruiser group ride. This is a beautiful ride down an easy trail that leads to Victory Train Station located in Victory Park (next to the American Airlines Center). Since I caught the earlier Red Line train, I was able to take my time and shoot a few pics.

In no time, I arrived at Victory Park, a very nice part of uptown Dallas. Lots of money was spent in creating this awesome destination. Unfortunately, you need to have lots of money to really enjoy it – that is unless you’re riding your bike around. As witnessed earlier, the Texas/OU crowd was taking over this location as well – most of them were heading to the game via the new DART Green Line to Fair Park (and the Cotton Bowl). Fortunately for me, I was catching the TRE (Trinity Railway Express) going the other direction towards Fort Worth. I had a bit more time to kill before my train ride, so I rode around and took a few more pics.

The TRE to Fort Worth:

The time came to purchase my ticket for the TRE to Fort Worth. I rolled up to and through the Texas/OU crowds to find my way to platform 3. I didn’t plan on such a long line at the ticket machine but fortunately, there was a DART person helping out. It moved pretty fast. Within a few minutes, the TRE pulled up to the platform. That thing was HUGE!

Before I could board, I had to wait for another mass of maroon and burnt orange to pile out – big surprise. As I looked for a place to put my bike and sit, a nice lady gave up her seat to make room for me. The ride took about 50 minutes to cross the Metroplex into cow town. On the way, I spoke with one of the TRE workers and he mentioned that there were several folks with bikes in the other cars. I wondered if they were going to join the BABBLE ride.

Fort Worth:

When the train pulled into Fort Worth’s T&P Station, I got out and noticed several folks with bikes who were there for the ride. It ended up being a nice mix of 16 (including Rose – the little girl in the trailer) riders from all over the Metroplex. We gathered in the parking lot just outside the station and introduced ourselves as we waited for the rest of the riders to arrive.

The ride was AWESOME! We took a spin through some really nice older neighborhoods, just south of Fort Worth. We stopped for breaks at two really cool bike shops: Panther City Bicycles and Colonel’s Bicycles. We then, jumped onto the Trinity Trails and made our way back into town. The last stop for me was La Familia, a nice Mexican restaurant just off of 7th Street. There, I met up with my family and we had a nice lunch with the group. After that, the group went on to return to the T&P Station with one more downtown stop. Meanwhile, I loaded up the bike onto my wife’s car and did a little more exploring before heading home.

It was a great day and a great ride. Except for the unexpected crowds and being a bit slow, the transit ride was really pleasant. I’ll definitely be doing it again, hopefully with my family.

Click here to see more pics.

Here are other EXCELLENT blog post about this ride (added as I find them):

Rat Trap Press

Pondero

DFW, Point-To-Point

Doohickie

Green Commotion

ChipSeal

Written by dickdavid

October 18, 2009 at 5:45 pm

BABBLE Bike Ride

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I got an interesting email last week from a fellow biking blogger, Myles from Rattappress inviting me to join a bunch of north Texas bloggers called BABBLE (Bicycling Authors, Bloggers, Bold-face Liars, & Exaggerators) in a group ride around Fort Worth tomorrow. Living on the other side of the Metroplex, my first reaction was to pass on it  this time around. To be honest, this type of ride would require some serious effort to get my bike to Fort Worth. Not to mention, it would eat up most of my day.

However, the forecast shows that it’s going to be a beautiful day tomorrow and I’ve been wanting to try bike transport on the DART and the TRE. I’m going to sit down and do some planning tonight and hopefully figure out a way to make a family day out of this. Stay tuned.

EDIT (10/17/2009 – AM): Looks like I’m in. I’ve worked the schedule out and getting to Fort Worth by bike and train look doable. My wife’s even excited about it because she (and the munchkins) will meet up with me in Fort Worth after the ride.

UPDATE: Here’s my write-up about the Journey.

Written by dickdavid

October 16, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Full Bike Lanes – Grove Road

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I took a quick Labor Day spin this morning through Richardson, and on my way home, I picked a new route to explore. To my surprise, I discovered that Grove Road, just south of Arapaho was re-zoned with full bike lanes in each direction.

Since I typically don’t go this way, I’m not exactly sure how long these lanes have been here nor how far south they go. I’m guessing they are there to make the connection to the Arapaho DART Rail station. I have to say, this made my day. I’m hoping to see more lanes like this throughout Richardson.

EDIT: I’ve run across a news article about this. Go here to read. Apparently, Custer Road has this type of lane as well. I’ll need to check it out this weekend.

Written by dickdavid

September 7, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Garland, The Town Texas Forgot

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Run Down Garland

Run Down Garland

Or maybe not.

Garland is a suburban city just northeast of Dallas and east of my town, Richardson. Being tucked away from most major highways, many of the newer corporations (and their wealth) that are settling in north Texas, seemed to stay away – bringing better economy to the rest of the metroplex. With the exception of the growth along the PGB Tollway and the Firewheel Town Center, Garland seemed to truly be a forgotten town in north Texas.

On my typical drives through Garland I’m always left wondering, what has happened to this town? What seemed like grand, old shopping centers are abandoned and left for dust. Empty lots are ignored and overgrown. Sidewalks and streets are cracked and sprinkled with debris and litter. Used car lots, fast food restaurants and thrift shops seem to outnumber grocery stores. Garland is old and showing it’s years – at least to those driving by.

I took a spin through the heart of the city this morning expecting nothing more than a few colorful and well textured photos. I figured that I would at least get a nice ride and satisfy any curiosity I might have for exploring my neighboring town.

My first impression of Garland is that the drivers are less than friendly to cyclists. You can tell this by the way they over-rev their engines as they pass you. Like most Texas drivers, I expect that they are just not used to seeing too many bicycle riders around town and don’t have the patience to go around them. I mostly stick with back streets, but since I’m not too familiar with those in Garland, I had to keep to the sidewalks of the main streets.

As I rode into town, my expectations were met as I came across several run-down businesses and shopping centers. The discoveries were sad but interesting which lead me explore more and drive myself towards downtown.

As I got closer to downtown Garland, I started to notice that the surrounding homes were getting nicer. Some of the older buildings and churches appeared to be better maintained and, in contrast to some of the previous shopping centers, occupied. This looked promising.

Unexpectedly, when I arrived to the downtown area, I discovered a nice little town center that seemed on the verge of being completely revitalized. Some of the older buildings have been restored, and there was the presence of some new urban-type development. Loft like apartments were springing up just south of the DART rail station which complimented the new Patty Granville Art Center very well.

I’ve seen this type of suburban-urban development in Plano, Addison and Richardson, but somehow, they didn’t seem as well executed as what I saw in Garland. I’m starting to see a really nice destination being developed here and I hope to see it thrive.

Garland has taken me by surprise. I would never have expected to see this small pocket of cool in an area with such unappreciated surroundings. To be honest, I was feeling a bit jealous. It just goes to show you that you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover. If you have a town like Garland in your neck of the woods, don’t just write it off. Take a chance and explore it on your bike. You never know what you might find.

At this point, my only true criticism is that it isn’t very bicycle safe. I hope bike friendly routes are in the plan for Garland.

Written by dickdavid

September 6, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Took A Spin Around Addison Circle

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Addison Circle is a nice park area within the north Dallas suburban town of Addison. It’s been referred to as “… the place fun calls home.” Hidden just north of the Belt Line Road restaurant strip, Addison Circle Park appears to be the area near where many college graduates and young couples come to live when they start their first job in Dallas. It’s hip and urban-like with a small community of young professionals.

Riding around Addison Circle on a Saturday morning is less than exciting. Expecting a bustling, little urban/suburban community, I was left with what seemed like a ghost town. I guess the nightlife is what makes this place a destination. That’s okay, because it left all the roads to me.

Addison is one of the closest places in DFW to living an urban lifestyle without living downtown. Here’s a fun little PR video from their site.

Written by dickdavid

September 5, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Mad for Plaiddison Bicycle Ride

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The Richardson Urban Bicycle Club is a fun group of enthusiasts who like to do their own Suburban Assault. I think it’s cool because they’re a fun group that organizes in my neck of the woods. The purpose of the group is to meet up “every Thursday (except when informed here differently) … at Big Shucks on the SE Corner of Beltline and Coit in front of Whole Foods between 7PM and 8PM.” However, because they “… roll 8ish to destinations fun, exciting and usually alcohol filled. Ages 21 and up only”, it becomes less of an opportunity for a family guy like me to participate. Besides, I’m not sure how well I ride with a few drinks in me. LOL.

Well, tonight, the RUBC is doing a special ride into local city Addison. It’s called the Mad for Plaiddison Bicycle Ride! Here is their description of the event:

“That’s right, kiddos, bring out your PLAID and let’s ride bikes! Catholic schoolgirl, preppy golfer, Scottish bagpiper, ties, hats, vests, socks, whatever–wear your clashingest best! This Thursday we’ll be riding to Addison Circle to visit the parks and a bar or two!”

Although I won’t be able to make this ride (and not because I don’t have any plaid), I still might swing by, take a few pics and talk to some folks about the group.

Stay tuned for an update.

UPDATE: Read here for my recap.

Written by dickdavid

September 3, 2009 at 10:46 am