Cycling the Mean Streets of Oak Cliff: A Guide to Making it Out Alive

December 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Oak Cliff is my favorite place to ride, which may sound odd based on its reputation as the rough side of town, but I stand by it.

Oak Cliff rivals the most scenic parts of town. The hills on Colorado Blvd through Kessler Park and around Stevens Park are second to none.

The history and many landmarks throughout Oak Cliff make it a great tourist destination even if you are from the Metroplex.

The Texas Theatre, Dallas Zoo, and beautiful parks like Lake Cliff, Kidd Springs and Kiest Park are all areas of interest. Not to mention, Oak Cliff is home and final resting place to a handful of notable historical figures and celebrities.

The Historical Texas Theatre

The Texas Theatre

Green Means GO!

Green Means GO!

Thanks to the grid-like layout of streets, Oak Cliff is ideal for touring by bicycle. Every main avenue has smaller side streets that run parallel, providing a much safer and enjoyable route for cyclists.
I always avoid cycling on Jefferson Blvd, Davis St, Westmoreland, Hampton and Illinois.
Great alternatives are: 12th St, 7th St, Edgefield and Clarendon.

And these side streets hide secrets, little gems otherwise overlooked. Whether it’s graffiti, a commissioned mural, a cute little house with a porch wrapped all the way around or even a rusted out ol’ bucket of bolts of a Chevy pickup, there is something for you to discover and cherish.

One World, One Bike, One Love.

One World, One Bike, One Love.

Tips for Cycling in a New Part of Town:

1. Plan your route.

Google Maps allows you to select different modes of transportation, from motorist to pedestrian. The bicycle option displays bike routes, lanes and trails on the map in GREEN.
Green Means GO!

2. Ride more carefully in unfamiliar areas.

Not only must cyclists be aware of motor vehicle traffic, unexpected road conditions like potholes are a concern.

3. Follow all traffic laws.

The goal is for motorists to be able to anticipate your actions, so make sure to use hand signals.

4. Avoid roads with heavy traffic.

Although it is your right to ride in the roadway, it may not always be wise.

5. Remember to take your time; there’s no rush.

Enjoy the scenery and don’t worry, Oak Cliff will be there when you get there.

El Si Hay Taqueria

El Si Hay Taqueria

Come enjoy Oak Cliff with us. We have a lot to offer, from the Bishop Arts District to scenic views and don’t forget the best tacos in town!

Thomas Cantu, Oak Cliff Cyclist

Better Block Holiday Market

December 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Christmas Market

Come join us next week for the Better Block Christmas Market. Saturday December 20th, Team Better Block will be transforming a bit of Davis into a Scandinavian winter wonderland. The festivities will take place next to Lucky Dog Books (633 W. Davis). Come take care of some last minute Christmas shopping while enjoying some holiday cheer. Vendors will include ReGeared, Girlsewcute Jewelry and Nammi food Truck.  Bike Friendly Oak Cliff will be hosting a Christmas Lights ride that will cruise Oak Cliff in search of the area’s most spectacular lights. The ride will depart from the market at 6pm and will be approximately one hour long. See you there!

DART d-Link to the Rescue!

December 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Last week the d-Link saved my butt.

One evening, on my commute home, thanks to the pot-holes up and down Elm Street, from Deep Ellum to downtown, I broke a spoke. I faced a 2-3 mile walk home, through downtown, over the Trinity, by way of the Jefferson Blvd Bridge. Luckily, I remembered the d-Link before I got too stressed.

Bishop Arts District

Bishop Arts District

I had ridden the d-Link previously, mostly to avoid the weather. There always seemed to be very few riders. Much to my surprise, as I boarded, I was greeted by a bus full of commuters. They all appeared to be regulars, chatting with each other like neighbors.

The short trip unexpectedly reminded me of my first ride on the light rail as a child. It was magical.

First, it was FREE and it appeared exactly when I needed it. And second, the buses are so new and clean, just like the trains were when they were brand new.

The d-Link is Route 722 and runs 11am – 11:30pm Monday through Saturday.

If I had not been aware of the d-Link I would have trudged my way up and over the bridge and cussed the pot-holes the entire span. Instead I hopped on a free, climate-controlled bus and reminisced about the magic and wonder of a childhood adventure.

The d-Link is a pilot program that needs our support as a community. If we do not embrace and utilize the service, how will DART know that they are fulfilling a need? Ridership shows the DART our support.

The d-Link is good for Oak Cliff and its residents. It brings business and provides free public transportation throughout the neighborhood and into downtown.

Use the d-Link and support the community. It runs late enough to get to the AAC and back for Mavs and Stars games. Avoid traffic and access the Arts District, Uptown, South Side and Main Street. If nothing else, take your kids for an adventure and create memories that sneak back into their consciousness when they least expect it.

By: Thomas Cantu, Bike Commuter

No Better Way to Start the Day!

December 5, 2014 Comments Off

Sometimes we all need a little extra motivation to get out of bed in the morning and take ourselves to work.

Good Morning Sunshine!

Good Morning Sunshine!

For me, I find the little push I need on two wheels.

I didn’t always commute to work on a bicycle, so I know it can be intimidating and takes preparation. A good step in overcoming these obstacles is knowing a safe route.
I commute from North Oak Cliff to the far side of Deep Ellum. My route begins on the Cycle Track, the divided bike lanes on Jefferson Bridge, which I take into Downtown. The Cycle Track is most safely accessed from Zang Blvd near Lake Cliff Park.


The Bike Lanes on both 5th St and Bishop Ave lead to this area.

At the end of the Cycle Track, I make a right onto Young St and merge into traffic.

The first few times I attempted this route, I continued straight on Market St and turned right on Main St, so that I could utilize the bike lanes. I quickly realized that Main St is uphill going west to East. And with only one lane of traffic going each way, a slow cyclist creates a traffic jam for other commuters.

Young St however has three lanes of traffic going in each direction, so motorists are able to pass. From there I continue by City Hall and the Central Public Library.

After the intersection of Ervay St and Young, the street will essentially go from two lanes to only one. This is due to Parking Meters on the street and cars occupying those spaces.

So be sure to merge into the left hand lane before the next intersection.

From there, I remain on Young St until I enter Deep Ellum (Young St changes names to Canton).

After I ride under the overpasses and into Deep Ellum, I take Crowdus St toward the left to Main St and ride the rest of the way to work on the bike lanes.

And if I’m not in too big of a rush, I can stop by Murray Street Coffee Shop, where they know there’s no need to leave room for cream, but to leave some for potholes.

Bicycle Rapair Station

They even have Bike Repair Stands in Deep Ellum!

The return trip is just as easy. I begin on the bike lanes on Main St. in Deep Ellum and head towards Downtown Dallas. Since the lanes are downhill in this direction, I am able to keep up with traffic and I cruise all the way to Houston St, where I take a left.

After Union Station, I make a left onto Young Street and at Market St. make a right onto the Cycle Track. Then, it’s home, sweet home.

By:  Thomas Cantu, Bicycle Commuter

This route is great because it provides access to:
1. Downtown Dallas
2. Dart Light Rail
3. Dealey Plaza
4. The West End
5. The Arts District
6. Central Public Library
7. City Hall
8. Farmers Market
9. Deep Ellum
10. Baylor Hospital
11. Fair Park
12. Santa Fe Trail
13. The Dallas Zoo
14. Lake Cliff Park
15. Kidd Springs Park
16. Bishop Arts District
17. The Kessler Theater
18. The Texas Theatre
19. Methodist Hospital

Where’s Our Bike Share?

December 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

Houston’s Bike Share program

In November, the Friends of Fair Park, in an attempt to wag the dog, setup a single bike share station to try and get the ball rolling on our city’s stagnating program. The Dallas Observer covered the event, spotlighting the ridiculous nature of having only one station sitting in a park that goes unused for most of the year. One of the obstacles facing the program was the city of Dallas’ interest in procuring bids from multiple vendors, which would normally be a good course of action, but the problem is that Austin, Houston, and Fort Worth, who all have bike shares in place with stations throughout their cities, are using a service from B-Cycle.

San Antonio’s Bike Share

This same group operates in cities around the nation with a successful track record of planning and launching programs. Given that passes can be purchased once and used in every bike share program in Texas, it just makes sense to continue for continuity sake. Unfortunately, the back and forth that’s occurred due to over-analysis has left us years behind most every major city in the nation…or for that matter, the world.

Austin’s Bike Share

At a time when our city is debating over spending billions on a tollroad that has dubious environmental ramifications, it’s notable that we are unable to find the time or resources to roll out a program that would cost less than 1% of the roadway project and impact communities throughout the city. Maybe it’s not all that surprising considering our ranking of “Worst City For Bicycling in the Nation.”

Fort Worth Bike Share

 

Live Kickstarter Campaign!

November 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

turnerwinstonoc:

A couple of local, Oak Cliff advocates and BFOC board members have a start up company manufacturing cargo bicycles right here in Oak Cliff! Please help support them by checking out their rewards, many from other local businesses like Oil and Cotton and Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters! We’d love to see them reach their funding goal so they can design and build a new, scratch built cargo bicycle frame to compliment the recycled frames they’re currently building. Go to http://oakcliffcargobicycles.com/kickstarter or launch the campaign from the link below.

Originally posted on Oak Cliff Cargo Bicycles:

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Aftermass: Bicycling in a post-Critical Mass Portland | November 26th, 7:00 PM @ the Texas Theatre

November 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

aftermassA rare opportunity to see the great bicycle documentary, Aftermass, and have the filmmaker, Joel Biel, in house for a Q and A at the end.  Also, you’ll get to see it at the legendary Texas Theatre here in Oak Cliff, who is currently raising funds on Seed and Spark to get digital cinema .  There will be a ride from Main St Garden to the event.

Check out the trailer:

Here are the details:

Meet Up Ride Location:  Main St Garden, downtown Dallas

Meet Up Ride Time:  6:00 pm, depart 6:15 pm

Movie starts at 7:00 pm

Purchase a ticket here

RSVP here

Help Texas Theatre get Digital Cinema

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    Follow our friend @reidvandeven.jpg! One of this week's many winners!

And if you missed out, come swing by Better Block Christmas Market and Holiday Light Tour led by @BikeFriendlyOakCliff, Saturday December 20th. 
Event details in our #BLOG, "Better Block Holiday Market" >>> http://tinyurl.com/nkhsjqy

Market 5-10p
Light Ride at 6p
The festivities will take place next to Lucky Dog Books (633 W. Davis). #Milk#ItDoesABodyGood#BetterBlock#ChristmasMarket#LocalVendors#LiveMusic#HotDrinks#SantaRun#BoardGames#LuckyDogBooks#BishopArts#OakCliff#DallasTX#BikeFriendlyOakCliff#BikeFriendly#LightRide#LightTour If you missed out on the Pint Glass Contest, they will be for sale at the Better Block Christmas Market and Holiday Light Tour led by @BikeFriendlyOakCliff, Saturday December 20th. 
Event details in our #BLOG, "Better Block Holiday Market" >>> http://tinyurl.com/nkhsjqy

Market 5-10p
Light Ride at 6p
The festivities will take place next to Lucky Dog Books (633 W. Davis). #BetterBlock#ChristmasMarket#LocalVendors#LiveMusic#HotDrinks#SantaRun#BoardGames#LuckyDogBooks#BishopArts#OakCliff#DallasTX#BikeFriendlyOakCliff#BikeFriendly#LightRide#LightTour Whatever wet weather.  #cold #wet #whatever #rideyourbike #fridaycommute #ridemore #driveless #vintage #specialized #puddlejumper #mtb #mountainbike #bikefriendlyoakcliff #bfoc #oakcliff #texas Post a pic of your #bicycle in front of this @sourgrapescrew mural in Oak Cliff with #BikeFriendlyOakCliff!!! The first 3 posts with the #BikeFriendlyOakCliff win!
 #TellAFriend#FREE#PintGlass#MultipleWinners#GiveAway#BikeFriendlyGiveAway#BikeFriendly#DallasGiveAway#myDallas#DWantsToSee#SourGrapes13#BikeFriendlyOakCliff#OakCliff#DallasTX#RideMore#DriveLess#CommunityFirst#DallasLovesBikes
@oakcliffchamber
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