Posts Tagged ‘Plano’
I’ve been bike commuting for years. Riding to work is particularly challenging because of all the barriers—which include time (or the lack of it), Texas heat and heavy car traffic. The car traffic, especially around my office building at rush hour, is probably the biggest of those obstacles. There are no bike friendly routes in this area, so most folks don’t even bother.
You could imagine my surprise when I saw this bike parked outside of my building, yesterday. Finally, another person in my building is bike commuting. The shift is happening and the momentum—although really, really slow—is starting to move towards bicycling.
This starts to raise another question: why aren’t there any safe and secure bike parking facilities at my building? Even though I’ve always brought my bike inside, I’m upset with myself for not noticing before. Looks like I need to start a campaign to change that. I’ll be reaching out to the owners of IBP Business Park, to see if they can add proper bike parking racks in their existing buildings, and include them on future developments.
As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite class to teach is helping adults learn to ride. It is by far the most rewarding for me.
One thing that I’ve learned, teaching this class, is that people are different, so some pick it up faster than others. There are times when students need to return for another class to continue their training. This weekend’s class, however, did really well and all were riding to some degree. All were able to leave the class knowing enough of the fundamental skills, so that they can continue their training at home.
I also discovered that switching up coaches during the class, allows the students to get a fresh perspective on their progress.
My hope is that, the more I teach this class, the more I will be able to anticipate and address each student’s individual needs.
We are very fortunate to have a League of American Bicyclist board member, Gail Spann living in north Texas. Her dedication to cycling and bike education is an inspiration for many bicyclists, advocates and enthusiasts. This past weekend, she and her husband, Jim, hosted a visit from the League’s president, Andy Clarke, who came to talk to us about Bike Education and the Bike Friendly Communities Program in north Texas.
Given that our time with Andy was limited and wanting to keep this visit focused, we set up two meetings with just a few key instructors, advocates, industry leaders and city officials.
The first meeting – which was held Sunday evening at Gail’s house – was about the current education program, were several local LCIs (League Cycling Instructors) met with Andy for dinner and a ’round table’ discussion. We discussed ways to make the program better and how to reach a larger audience. Quite a few good ideas were discussed and many of us left the meeting inspired and ready to move the program forward.
Bike Friendly Communities:
The second meeting – held on Monday evening at the Plano Parks and Recreation office – was about north Texas and the the Bike Friendly Communities Program. Attending, were representatives of BikeTexas, BikeDFW, Bike Friendly Richardson, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and Plano Bicycle Association, city officials from Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and Richardson, and industry leaders from Richardson Bike Mart and Plano Cycling and Fitness.
At this meeting, city officials were able to openly discuss the efforts that have been made towards bicycling infrastructure, issues and concerns with the Bike Friendly Communities Program and ways to get clear benchmarks moving forward. It was evident that many of the city officials weren’t expecting a ranking based on the current program, but wanted to see some sort of recognition for the expenses and efforts made so far. They felt that having this would help motivate and inspire city management and council to continue investing in bicycling education and infrastructure.
Given the limited amount of time, we were able to have a good conversation with Andy Clarke, and he was able to assure us that the League of American Bicyclists was listening and willing to help us achieve our goals of becoming bike friendly communities. It was nice to be able to have this direct link to the League to make it clear that cycling is growing in north Texas and we are a strong community of bicycle riders.
I saw this on Alma Road in Plano, Texas, the city that neighbors mine. I’m not sure if this was painted by the city or by a concerned citizen, but it definitely caught my eye. Unfortunately, with it’s placement right next to the actual hazard, so it’s too late to do anything to avoid it.
Perhaps the city of Plano will fix this road soon, because it’s one of the best routes for cyclists into town.
City of Plano‘s Trail System Planner, Renee Burke Jordan, invited local citizens and bicycle advocates to meet Steve Clark, a Bicycle Friendly Community Specialist from The League of American Bicyclists.
Steve was in town to experience first-hand the bicycle infrastructure in Plano. The meeting brought together citizens and public agency staff to discuss issues and strategies for improvements, provide an assessment of current conditions and begin to collaborate on short, medium and long-term solutions.
A group of about 20+ people, including members of City of Plano staff, BikeDFW, PBA, Bike Friendly Plano, Bike Friendly Richardson and BikeTexas, were in attendance to listen to Steve’s presentation and to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of cycling in Plano. From building a stronger bike culture to rethinking how facilities are utilized, the group explored ways to make the city strategically better for cycling and increase ridership.
Overall, the meeting was very productive – considering how short it was. More importantly, events like this are great for starting and continuing the conversation about becoming a better bike friendly community – something north Texas really needs.
Mark your calendars! Friday, May 17, 2013 is 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 throughout the DFW Metroplex.
GARLAND – Downtown Garland Station (Partnered with The City of Garland)
DALLAS – Akard Station (Partnered with the City of Dallas)
OAK CLIFF – Jefferson St. Viaduct (Partnered with Bike Friendly Oak Cliff)
RICHARDSON – Arapaho Station (Partnered with Bike Friendly Richardson)
PLANO – Intersection of Bluebonnet & Chisholm Trail (Partnered with The City of Plano)
DATE: Friday, May 17, 2013
TIME: 6:30-9:00 am
If you are in the area, please stop by. Also, let them know on Facebook.
MORE DETAILS TO COME.
KIND Healthy Snacks – on Facebook (All Stops)
Clif Bars – on Facebook (All Stops)
Neuro Energy Drinks (Akard Stop)
Re-Geared – on Facebook (Akard Stop)
Generator Coffee House – on Facebook (Garland Stop)
Zang Triangle Apartments – on Facebook (Oak Cliff Stop)
Plano Cycling and Fitness – on Facebook (Plano Stop)
Richardson Bike Mart – on Facebook (Richardson and Akard Stops)
Don Johle’s Bike World – on Facebook (Garland Stop)
Oak Cliff Bicycle Company – on Facebook (Oak Cliff Stop)
ALSO: There will be other stations available:
Dallas Bike Works will have coffee and doughnuts and free minor repairs from 7:30 – 9:30am at White Rock Creek Trail where it passes under NW Highway (opposite the shop on Lawther). Facebook Event here.
The City of Fort Worth will have food and beverages and a bike share station set up at the Inter-modal Transit Center from 7:30 – 9am. There will be group rides to the Fort Worth event starting from various locations (map).
I’ve been riding my bicycle quite a bit for the past few years – mostly for fun, but sometimes to get places. Last year I decided to try commuting to work. I gave myself a goal of replacing the distance equivalent to what I would drive with 1 tank of gasoline. That’s approximately 360 miles.
Well, after easily reaching that goal, I decided to double it for this year. Starting in late April, my new goal was to replace the distance of 2 tanks of gasoline (720 miles) with bicycling. Breaking it down, this required me to ride my 13.5 mile (each way) commute to work, once or twice a week – pretty manageable. I also decided to include any other bicycle trips that I would normally have driven – not recreational rides.
This distance goal was reached by the end of July, but then I started to question some of those extra trips. How many of my weekend rides were made longer, simply because it was more fun on a bike? Were they a true apples to apples replacement for driving? I decided to alter my goal at that point, where I would just track the miles that I used to get to and from work.
I was at a good pace to reach that new goal until things got a bit busy. I was having to keep longer hours at the office, school was ramping back up for the kids and I had a few, further away, appointments throughout the week that required using the car. Eventually, that all tapered off and I was able to reach my new distance goal this week.
Overall, since April, I’ve replaced 1,082 miles of car trips with my bike (3 tanks of gas). Of those trips, 730 miles were commutes to and from work (2 tanks). And, I’m not finished yet. Even with the days getting shorter, I feel that I have a few more commutes left.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned this year while commuting (I’ll add more, later, as I remember them):
• Headwinds suck
• Set realistic goals – As much fun as riding is, this always helps with motivation.
• Education is fundamental for a confident ride – I can’t tell you how much TS101 and Cycling Savvy have reduced my stress level and increased my ride enjoyment.
• Headwinds suck
• Lighten your load – when I first started commuting, I tried to carry everything from spare clothes to my laptop, on my back. It felt like I was carrying another person. Now, I keep spare clothes at the office and I try to reduce my homework on days that I commute.
• Hydrate, a bunch – I’ve learned that I can’t neglect my body when it comes to the Texas heat.
• Look behind you – The best thing about a mirror is how it reduces my stress, not by letting me know when cars are behind me, but how few.
• Headwinds suck
• It’s not a race – It used to bother me when folks speed past me on the road. Now I just stick to my pace and enjoy the ride. Please, just announce your passing.
• Don’t fear the dark – One of my worries was the limited amount of daylight, because I was concerned about riding in the dark. I’ve since discovered that I like night riding (especially early in the morning), because there are fewer cars and it’s quite peaceful. Having a good set of lights is key.
• It really is uphill and against the wind both ways – You never really notice when you are riding on subtle downhills, but the subtle uphills are a nice reminder. Also, is it me or does the wind shift directions in the afternoon?
• Enjoy the ride – as soon as commuting becomes a chore, it’s no longer fun. Every once in a while, slow down, look around and say hello to people.
• Hand signals work – Sure, you might feel a bit nerdy using them. However, you’d be surprised at how many people you really communicate with.
• Headwinds suck