Suburban Assault

Posts Tagged ‘Bike

Bike Polo In Dallas – This Saturday

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Image from league of bike polo. Please visit their site.

Oak Cliff Bicycle Company, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and Pedallas are all reporting that there will be a Bike Polo Tournament this Saturday, January 9 at 2:00 pm. Some folks are reporting that it will happen at Norbuck Park, but the official Dallas Winter Polo Invitational site has posted that it will be at JW Ray Park (@Caddo & Cochran). Apparently, there are some repairs that are needed at the Norbuck Park location. The host club is Dallas Bicycle Polo. My uncoordinated self won’t be playing, but I will be there to shoot some pics and say hi to everybody.

Written by dickdavid

January 7, 2010 at 6:31 am

Posted in Cycling Events

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My Code For Riding – Part 5 – Bicycle Advocacy

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The following is a perspective based on my limited experience with street riding and the little knowledge I’ve picked up from the velo web. I feel this is relevant because I may share this perspective with many other new or aspiring riders.

Where are all the bike riders?

As with most bicyclists, I would love to see more riders out enjoying their bikes. It’s fun, healthy and great for the environment. I’ve also discovered that it’s a great way to explore the world around us while building a strong, local community. Bikes give everybody the chance to say hello as we pass each other on the streets and trails. Yet, with our busy lives, many have forgotten about this great escape vehicle that’s probably sitting in most of our garages, collecting dust.

Some cities have gained some momentum at bringing bicycle riding back into mainstream lifestyles. Places like Portland, San Francisco, Boulder and New York City are built on limited real estate, usually constrained by some sort of geographical limitation (mountains, lakes or oceans). This allows these cities to be more dense, where resources and services are closer and easily accessible – ideal for building a bicycle infrastructure. Conversely, in cities like Dallas, there are fewer of those geographical limitations and it’s easy for development to spread the city wide and sparse. The distance between resources and services are more scattered, resulting in cities that become built around the car. Bicycle advocacy becomes a bit harder in these parts.

According to a popular bicycle magazine, my city Dallas has developed a reputation for being one of the worst cities for bicycling. I have to agree. However, it’s not because we don’t have the proper infrastructure for cyclists, it’s because there are so few of us on the road. Awareness is low, making folks apprehensive about riding, which brings fewer bikes on the road. It’s a vicious cycle. I think for a city to become bicycle friendly, there needs to be more bicyclists out there, but in order to do that, a city needs to be more bike friendly.

Give them a reason

People have different reason for riding a bike. Some do it for better health, others to save gas or the environment. Whatever the reason, most of us do it for fun. I believe that if we have more motivation to take our bikes instead of cars, more folks would consider it. Instead of building wider, more scattered cities, we should focus on creating destinations close to each other.  Let folks realize that jumping on a bike to go down the street is much nicer than burning a gallon of fuel to get across the city.

We should also strive to make our towns more bike friendly. It seems like I’m seeing fewer bike racks around my local businesses. I’m sure this is from the lack of use more than anything else. However, I think that if we see more bikes parked in front of our destinations, we get inspired to do the same.

Another great way to get folks to ride is to have more social bike gatherings. Invite friends, neighbors and family to ride with you. Start a bike community in your town and organize casual rides to get people hooked on riding. Groups like Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, 75208, FMD and Richardson Urban Bicycle Club have started this type of advocacy and they are getting some great momentum. I’m hoping to see more towns do the same. Keep in mind that as your group grows, you will need to take steps to promote safe, legal and responsible riding.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a start

What about our routes? Is it possible for bikes and cars to share the road? The truth is, there is an inherent fear that NEW cyclists have towards riding on busy roads. In my opinion, this is one of the reasons we don’t see many folks riding through town. There is a perception that riding a bike on streets is dangerous.

We need to change that perception. One solution is to do our best to inform and educate new riders and drivers about safely sharing city streets, but I fear those efforts get little traction with those already set in their point-of-view. Another solution, although flawed from a road sharing advocacy perspective, is to build more bike lanes. Flawed because these lanes have a tendency to imply to motorists that bikes don’t belong on the road.

To me, the best solution is a combination of both. First, to get more NEW riders to feel confident on the road, there needs to be more ‘implied’ safe routes, which would include lanes specifically marked for bicycling. I’m talking about full lanes – not painted gutters. No matter what your perspective is, the one thing bike lanes do is give new cyclist more confidence to start riding with traffic.

I also feel that we need to step up our efforts in informing motorists about the laws that pertain to cyclists – that we do belong on the roads. Not only do cities need more signage on the road, but cycling laws should be part of EVERY driving test. In addition, I think there should have more public service announcements on the TV and radio.

In the end, I feel that if more cyclists are on the road (bike lane or not), awareness will increase and hopefully sharing the road will be more accepted. If it’s more accepted, maybe we’ll see more cyclists.

Don’t forget about safety and education

An important part of bicycle advocacy is giving folks the tools to become better and safer cyclists. It’s one thing to convince more people to ride, but advocates should also provide the right information to those less experienced. Hopefully, with a little knowledge, we can keep our streets safe with fewer accidents.

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

Written by dickdavid

November 6, 2009 at 5:45 am

Cyclesomatic Bike Festival

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Image from Bike Friendly OC. Please visit their site.

Image from Bike Friendly OC. Please visit their site.

When we were visiting the Oak Cliff Bicycle Company yesterday, I noticed a few posters that were promoting Cyclesomatic – a week long bicycle festival in North Oak Cliff. Of course, I had to look deeper into this to find out what it’s all about.

The festival will last from October 2nd to the 11th. The weather should be just about tolerable in north Texas by then.

Here is some info from their site:

Events will include a history-themed group ride, bicycle competitions, Biketoberfest! in Bishop, an Urban Bazaar/Bikefaire, a “Kiddical Mass” Ride, Bike to School Day, BBQ, Bands, Bicycle Films at the Texas Theatre, Art Bike Shows, and guest speaker councilwoman Angela Hunt. New Belgium brewery is sponsoring part of the week, and we’re coordinating efforts with DART, BikeDenton, the Oak Cliff Bicycle Company, the Cube Creative, Eno’s Tavern, and more.

The event will be put on by the Bike Friendly Oak Cliff Group, advocates promoting the creation of better cycling facilities and improved infrastructure in Oak Cliff. Oak Cliff is one of Dallas’ oldest and more eclectic neighborhoods that has done well through the years to remain a friendly and creative destination for folks in the DFW Metroplex.

I will be checking out some of the events during the festival and I’ll report back here. Looks like it’ll be a week of complete bike love, all within one of the coolest parts of Dallas. Please check the Cyclesomatic site for complete details, area info and an event calendar.

Written by dickdavid

August 23, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Down The Katy Trail With Fleetwood’s Kit Kat

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I wrote about Fleetwood’s Kit Kat in an earlier post and discussed how cool the shop and it’s owner were. When we were visiting, Fleetwood asked us to join in one of his group rides. Not being on a bike in years, I figured my wife would be less than interested. To my surprise, she scheduled us for one of his rides.

We were some of the first to arrive at the shop, off Mockingbird and Interstate 75, right next to the SMU campus. Since I had my own bike (non-cruiser), I opted to bring it and leave the loaner open for any extra riders. Wendy got a fancy pink cruiser as a loaner that totally clashed with her personality – it was the perfect bike for her first ride. As we waited for the ride to start, more folks, mostly couples and small groups of friends (all different in age and personality) began to arrive. Nobody looked like a seasoned rider, which was perfect for a casual ride like this. Instead of spandex, jerseys and cleats, there were dresses, shorts and flip flops. We were all like a bunch of kids, reconnecting with our youth on fun and stylish comfort bikes.

Eventually, the ride started. It was really cool seeing a huge mass of colorful bikes hitting the streets all at once. The pace was slow but perfect for a warm Saturday evening. We headed down one of the side streets which eventually connected with the head of the Katy Trail. A few minutes later, we were at our first stop – a wine bar called Crush on Knox Street. The plan was to hang out here and watch Fleetwood’s sister Kerri Arista perform a few sets. The place had a great atmosphere and the wine was tasty (even though my wife and I just shared one glass – we weren’t sure what to expect on the rest of the ride). Eventually, the sun went down and the streets started to cool off. The group sipped the last of their wine, then made it back to the bikes to continue the ride.

Cruising With Fleetwoods Kit Kat

The rest of the Katy Trail seemed to go downhill. Again, with a nice slow pace perfect for a Saturday evening, post wine bar ride. What was amazing about this part of the ride was seeing Dallas from a different perspective. Wendy, who lived in Dallas most of her life, got a new look at her old home town. Mark, Fleetwood’s bike guru, entertained us with a few fancy jumps and stunts while keeping an eye on the group’s emergency repair needs. No worries about flat tires on this ride.

A few miles later, and we arrived at the American Airlines Center in uptown Dallas. The main mall was lit with all sorts of lights and video screens which made it an exciting destination. We all lined up for a group shot, Mark made a few bike adjustments and we all took a free ride around the area. It was a blast.

The ride back to Fleetwood’s shop was fun as well. Since it got late, some of the Katy Trail’s lights went off. Fortunately, the loaner cruisers all came with riding lights and lit the whole way back. Fleetwood had some speakers and an iPod that blasted some great Michael Jackson tunes for us to enjoy. What a great time.

When we arrived back at Fleetwood’s shop, folks turned in their loaners, I loaded up my bike and we all gave our goodbyes. This was one of the best evening that I have spent in Dallas in a really long time. Wendy had a great time too and we hope to do it again soon. Next time, I may try one of Fleetwood’s cruisers.

If you want something fun to do in Dallas, keep an eye on the Fleetwood Facebook page for future bike rides. Seating is based on first come, first served so call and get scheduled. You’ll be happy you did.

Written by dickdavid

July 26, 2009 at 7:13 am

Welcome To Suburban Assault

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Believe me, there are tons of other great bike blogs out there, and I’m not even going to compete with them for your attention. If you want quality blog postings, go to Change Your Life Ride A Bike or Bikes And The City. Suburban Assault is just a place to dump some thoughts and stories about riding around my neighborhood. Maybe, if I find the time, I’ll post other people’s stories.

For the most part, you’ll be able to discover what the Suburban Assault is all about by clicking on the Flickr, Twitter and Facebook links to the right.

Written by dickdavid

July 6, 2009 at 2:02 am