Posts Tagged ‘Texas’
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.
Because my city, Richardson, is such a Bike Friendly Community, I thought it would be great to hold a couple of Traffic Skills 101 classes this fall.
Traffic Skills 101 (TS101) gives cyclists the confidence they need to ride safely and legally in traffic or on the trail. Through TS101, students learn how to conduct bicycle safety checks, fix a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques. We recommended this class for adults and children above age fourteen. The curriculum is fast-paced, and prepares cyclists for a full understanding of cycling on Richardson streets.
Traffic Skills 101 Curriculum
Part I: The Basics
• The Bicycle
• Maintenance Basics
• Clothing and Equipment
• Bicycle Handling
Part II: Bicycling in Traffic
• Your Role in Traffic
• Avoiding Crashes
• Hazard Avoidance Maneuvers
Part III: Enjoying the Ride
• Riding Enjoyment
• Ride Etiquette
• Helping Motorists Share the Road
Required to participate in this class:
– Bicycle in good working condition
– Helmet that fits
– Completion of online portion of course – info provided upon registration
– Cash for lunch
There will be 2 classes available:
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2015
Time: 9:00a.m. – 3:30p.m.
Location: Huffhines Recreation Center – 200 N. Plano Rd., Richardson, TX 75081
Date: Saturday, October 17, 2015
Time: 9:00a.m. – 3:30p.m.
Location: Heights Recreation Center – 711 W Arapaho Rd., Richardson, TX 75080
All tuition will be used to cover class expenses. Any remaining funds will be rolled back into the BFR education program.
Go here to register. Sorry. There is no deep link to this class. You’ll need to click on the “Adult” category in the side menu.
It’s no surprise to me, since I ride in this city all the time.
With the announcement of 42 new and renewing BFCs today, Richardson joins a leading group of communities, in all 50 states, that are transforming our neighborhoods.
“We applaud this new round of communities for investing in a more sustainable future for the country and a healthier future for their residents and beyond,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “The growing number of leaders taking up bicycling as a way of solving many complex community problems is encouraging. We look forward to continuing to work with these communities as we move closer to our mission of creating a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.”
The BFC program is revolutionizing the way communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. With this impressive round, there are now 350 BFCs in all 50 states. The Bronze BFC award recognizes Richardson’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.
This is a big deal in north Texas. Even though many cities in the area – including Fort Worth, Plano and Frisco – have received an Honorable Mention, Richardson is the first north Texas city to be recognized as a Bike Friendly Community. With it’s many bike lanes, growing trail network and interconnecting neighborhoods, this is a well deserved recognition.
There were many other variables involved in earning this status, including a great city management team – encouraged by a city council with a vision to create a great city. Richardson is also growing a strong bike community – supported by local and regional advocates like Bike Friendly Richardson and BikeDFW.
Richardson is just getting started. They’re hoping that Bronze is just a stepping stone to an even better, more robust bike community. They also hope to see that the many great efforts of their neighboring cities get recognized by the League as well.
I hope that this recognition becomes a way to motivate other north Texas cities to work harder to become bike friendly as well. Let’s keep this momentum going.
I’m sharing this content from the BFR blog.
Last weekend, the City of Richardson held their annual Trash Bash event, recruiting volunteers and organizations, from all over the city, to help pick up trash and get the city clean. Motivated by the success of our own trail cleanup day, my local advocacy group, Bike Friendly Richardson, stepped up to participate.
We took on the Spring Creak Nature Preserve area, a popular public park located on the southeast side of Renner Road and Central Expressway. The Preserve, with it’s scenic trails, is frequently visited area by cyclists – which made it the obvious location to focus our efforts.
Overall, we had 11 adults and 4 kids show up to help, and we filled about 8-10 bags. It was nice to give back to the city and care for the amenities that make this community so great.
Here are some pics of our volunteers:
Last week, BikeTexas hosted their Cyclists In Suits – Bicycle Lobby Day event at the Texas State Capital in Austin, Texas. This happens every other year, for more years than some of us have been advocates. I think we heard somebody mention that they were on their 9th or 10th visit to the capital.
Each time, cyclists from all over Texas, strip the lycra, wool and skinny jeans, to put on their best dress clothes. Business attire was key to being taken seriously as we represented the cycling community to the Texas State Legislature.
The bills we’re took to legislators were (links will take you to the text of the bills):
The Iris Stagner Safe Passing Act, HB 2459 & SB 1416
Ban on Texting while Driving, HB 80
Safety Light at Night, HB 471
Transportation Safety Advisory Committee, HB 1136
Safe Neighborhood Streets, SB 1717
We also let legislators know that we oppose HB 383, which would require bicycles to be equipped with a mirror as part of a safe passing law.
The group coming from Dallas was a bit smaller this year. Some folks drove down, while others shared a van hosted by BikeDFW.
This year’s event was organized a lot better than previous years. Although it was a shaky start, with a little bit of confusion in the crowd, the lobby teams were better organized so that each person got to visit the office of their own Senator and Representative, as well as the legislative offices near by. This allowed us to optimize our time by not having to run all over the capital building. Most of us were finished by lunch.
After lunch, we headed over to the Senate to hear a special resolution for people who ride bikes – read by bike friendly Senator, Rodney Ellis. From there, we headed over to the front of the Capital building for our group picture.
Once our lobbying was finished, the group headed over to the BikeTexas headquarters for a small wind-down event. It was nice to regroup, visit and talk about the days events and share cycling stories about our hometowns.
If you enjoy cycling and want to make it safer and more acceptable in Texas, this is definitely an event that you should be a part of. I look forward to seeing you there in 2017. Here are a few pics from the event:
I shared this on Facebook, but wanted to record it here for future reference as well as for those who are not friends with me on my social network.
Let me set the stage first. Today was a rare snow day in north Texas, but I usually try to get out and get a little bit of exercise before going to work – no matter what the conditions are. It was still dark and the sidewalk was covered in snow, ice and sleet.
I was walking out of my neighborhood to do my morning loop around it’s perimeter. Because it was dark and cold, I was sporting my reflective vest and full head coverage (now that I think of it, I can see how the head covering might have looked suspicious). As I was walking I crossed paths with some guy. Folks usually ignore each other this early in the morning, but this guy begged me for my help. He had a bike, so – at first – I thought he might have had a flat or some other mechanical issue. Instead, he said he needed help rolling both of his bikes to the next corner. He then pointed to his other bike a few feet over. The snow was so thick, that he was having trouble rolling both bikes.
The absolute first thing I asked was, “why do you have two bikes?” Without missing a beat, his immediate response was that it belonged to his old roommate and that it was left for him. At this point, I’m still suspicious, but I also started reasoning in my head. If he were a bike thief, he picked a hell of a time to steal bikes. He didn’t seem nervous, so perhaps, I should take him at face value.
My other reluctance to help was that I was heading the other way and I was on a time limit. However, I didn’t want him to just get away, so I tried to test/bluff him. I said I would help him roll is bikes a few feet, but only if he let me take a picture of him and his bikes. Without hesitation, he said yes.
He called my bluff.
I took the pics and he actually posed for his. He even offered me a few bucks to buy my breakfast, for helping. I declined. Keeping my word, I helped this stranger roll one of his bikes a few feet. Before we got too far, I sensed that he was having second thoughts. He immediately, turned and said that he could get it from there. Worried that he might try to grab my camera, I agreed, handed him the second bike and then walked the other direction. My goal share the pics online once I finished my walk. I thought about calling 911, but figured it was horrible out and emergency services are probably busy, dealing with actual emergencies.
As I was continuing my walk, a man in a truck pulled over (down the street where I had come out of my neighborhood). He got out and started following me. He was in plain clothes, but he flashed me his badge, stating that he was a police officer.
He saw me with one of the bikes, so he immediately started questioning me about the other guy, the bikes, who I was, where I lived, why I was out there, etc. We walked back to his truck as I explained the situation. I also tried to explain who I was, my involvement with the local bike community, and how I had taken pics of the guy and his bikes. Still suspicious of me, he asked if he could take a pic of my drivers license (not being in his squad car, he had no way to run my ID). Not having anything to hide, I agreed. He then stated that he would ‘destroy’ the photo, once they were done.
During this time, another police officer, in a Richardson Police Department squad SUV, pulled the guy with the bikes over. He radioed over to the officer with me, to inquire about me. My officer replied with, “he’s just a concerned citizen.” I took a sigh of relief, since I feared that I could be considered an accomplice. This was something I didn’t think about, when I agreed to interact with this guy.
After that, I continued on my walk, where I was able to reflect on a few things. First, in a situation like this, even though I was suspicious and took precautions, it’s hard to judge a person’s true intentions. Because of my lack of better judgement, I actually assisted this guy for a few feet. Next, I am grateful that we have such a great system of police, who actually catch people in the act. Finally, all being said, I still cannot say with certainty, that this guy was actually stealing bikes. I’m am not a police officer, prosecutor or judge, and I do not have any proof that this person is an actual bike thief. All I have is speculation.
My wife says that I’m too trusting with people. Perhaps, in this situation, she is right.
I’m curious as to how other people would have reacted in this situation. What would you have done?
Update: Because I can’t say for certain if this guy was actually stealing bikes, I decided it was only fair to distort his face in the image.
Richardson continues to impress me with their network of great bike and pedestrian access routes throughout the city. As part of that, we have some really nice multi-purpose trails. However, over time and through excessive usage, they have’ve gotten covered in litter, animal waste and broken glass. Instead of complaining about the mess, my local bike advocacy group, Bike Friendly Richardson, decided to take the maintenance and care of our trail network into our own hands.
We scheduled our first, hopefully of many, Trail Clean Up Days. Given such short notice, and everybody’s busy schedules, our first turnout wasn’t that great. We did get a few volunteers from all around the city, as well as somebody from our neighboring city, Plano. The plan was to try and fill as many trash bags (provided by the city) as possible in two hours.
Overall, we were pretty successful in filling 8-10 bags—not bad for a small group of people. Think about what we could have accomplished with more volunteers. There was still a lot more trash on the trail that we couldn’t get to. Perhaps we’ll get it all the next time.
Our goal is to do this more often than not—hopefully in other parts of the city as well. My only hope is that we’ve inspired other people to get out there and care for the public areas near them. This is our city, and we need to take responsibility for it.