January 27, 2015 § 1 Comment
Yesterday I discovered my new favorite bicycle route!
As a cyclist, I often struggle to find a safe, north and south bike route that allows access to all areas of Oak Cliff.
Most of the north-south through-ways in Oak Cliff are very hilly, have high speed traffic and are not exactly what I would call “scenic.”
Edgefield Ave. is the perfect solution to our North-South Cycling Dilemma. The street is wide, the traffic is slower and it passes through residential areas.
I knew I could access Kiest Park by use of Edgefield but I had always been intimidated by the distance from North Oak Cliff. It just seemed so far.
Finally I mustered up the guts and to my surprise, the ride was smooth and less strenuous than anticipated.
I’m the kind of cyclist with one speed: all out, pedal to the metal. But the cute houses and bright day seemed to invite me to slow down and savor the scenery.
My favorite stretch of the ride is in Elmwood, between the DART Rail Tracks and Illinois Ave.
There are taquerías, muffler and tire shops, salons, and a boxing gym. Everything you would ever think to ask for or need. A great place for a pit stop and a quick bite.
The only significant road hazards I encountered were on the north side of the intersection of Illinois Ave and Edgefield. The road is really rough there.
Saner Ave on the south end of the route leads straight to Kiest Park.
Edgefield Ave offers access to:
1. West Dallas
2. Trinity Groves
3. Belmont Hotel
4. The Foundry
5. Chicken Scratch
6. Sour Grapes Crew Studio
7. Steven’s Park Golf Course
8. Kidd Springs Park
9. Methodist Hospital
10. Lake Cliff Park
11. The Kessler Theater
12. Bishop Arts District
13. The Texas Theatre
14. Dallas Zoo
15. Elmwood Neighborhood
16. Kiest Park
17. Oak Cliff Nature Preserve
Edgefield Ave really is a cyclist’s paradise, so enjoy and ride safe!
Thomas Cantu, Community Cyclist
January 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
I’ve decided to do a tee shirt this time around for our fourth edition of the Bicycle Brewery Tour – The Winter Edition on February 7th.
The design is being done by Richard Ward of ReplyWard.com. You can pre-order a tee in men’s or women’s sizes, small – XXL. Click here to Pre-order. Add your size and gender to the special instructions. Only a limited number of tees will be produced, so get in your order!
January 22, 2015 § 4 Comments
Riding a tall bike while eating dumplings on the Continental bridge epitomizes the fun times we’ll be having in our next edition of the Bicycle Brewery Tour! Meet up at the Continental Bridge at 12:30 pm, 02/07/15. RSVP link is below.
Dallas’s craft beer industry is growing faster than we can keep up. All 5 breweries in this 4th edition are brand new to the tour. First up, the original and one of the very first craft brewers to open is Peticolas Brewing Co.. We’ve been trying to get them on a special tour for awhile, but gave up and will be attending their open house tour. Several great beers to taste, include the illustrious Velvet Hammer. Be on guard, most of their beers are high ABV (Alcohol by Volume). $10 for entry gets you 3 beers.
Next, we’ll move around the block to Noble Rey Brewing. They’ve been trying to moving into Dallas for a little while now, as we’d hoped they’d open here in Oak Cliff, but their location became a nightmare once the I-35 construction started, and they chose to move to the Design District, or should we say the Craft Beer Design District. It boasts four craft brewery’s now! Noble will offer a special tasting for our group at no cost to our participants, and offer their merchandise for sale.
The third stop will be another newbie, the brewpub Texas Ale Project. These new kids are yet another new addition to the Design District. They’ll be open to the public and have $2 5oz taster or $5 pints offerings.
If you’re wondering how on earth we can fit more beer into this tour, get ready, we’re not done yet! The fourth, and not final stop will give us a chance to stretch our legs a bit and ride over to Deep Ellum to visit Braindead Brewing Co. This new edition to the scene will challenge you after 3 earlier stops. A stop for food will be a must at the food trucks in Klyde Warren Park before arriving at Braindead.
Finally, the most die hard and still standing brewheads will be heading to the 5th and final stop at the beautifully designed, and much appreciated Small Brew Pub on Jefferson Blvd in Oak Cliff. We’ve been to their location in a past tour, but it was a shell of what it looks like now. There’s a food menu and daily offerings to choose from. If you make all 5, I’m cookin’ something up for the Last Brewhead Standing!
Read here for some bicycling and brewery tour tips and RSVP here! This is not an excuse to get drunk. It’s about the beer. Being a responsible adult, while tasting good craft beer, and knowing your limits is the key to a good bicycle brewery tour. Bad behavior will NOT be tolerated, and you’ll be asked to leave the tour.
January 22, 2015 § 1 Comment
There’s been talk of plans for a roundabout in our fair neighborhood. Namely at the juncture where Sylvan splits into two one-way streets a half-block apart, Tyler and Polk. It’s part of the plan to convert those one-way streets to two-way. The roundabout would go right near the intersection with W Canty St, one of the best neighborhood biking streets to go east-west without dodging cars on Davis St.
The typical design we see for roundabouts is something like what I saw in Buffalo, NY (they have so many roundabouts in the neighborhoods still!)
It’s a nice design that works well in this context – plenty of room for a cyclist and a lane of traffic. Even a crosswalk for pedestrians (and really well landscaped corners with benches and walking paths.)
But I wouldn’t want my 7-year old nephew biking to school if he encountered one of these.
If we’re thinking roundabouts, let’s take the same approach we’re advocating for any other road – separated bike lanes. It’s the only way to enable everyone from little bitty to old and grey to feel comfortable traversing their neighborhood by bike.
And especially for this intersection that’s basically a cyclist thoroughfare through the neighborhood.
Here’s the experiential view of biking a roundabout that has a separated bike lane.
Such ease and sophistication! How orderly and civilized! So safe and simple. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here – let’s just hijack this design.
Amanda Popken, Bike Commuter
January 18, 2015 § Leave a comment
Everyone poops and everyone bikes.
This is the first in a series of short bios of neighborhood cyclists.
Meet your neighbor, Anita, she bikes too.
Anita Mills: 66 yrs, Gardening Consultant, Bishop Arts Neighborhood
1. Why do you ride?
Health – recreation
2. Type of riding?
Short errands in neighborhood, exercise
3. Where do you ride?
I ride in the neighborhood, mostly. After years of duking it out with cars, I now prefer “safer” routes, with bike lanes. That’s why I’ve been a constant lobby-er for cycle tracks and separated bike lanes. I love biking trails like the Katy Trail, but it’s a hassle to put my bike in the car, then drive (where do I park?) to the Trail, then unload bike to ride. Seems counter productive. But there does not seem to be any way from my house to the trailhead without either riding with traffic, or going into the Trinity River Bottoms, which I do not perceive as advisable for a single female biking alone! (Yes! I have opinions!)
I took a Traffic Skills 101 course a couple of years ago (that’s when the picture was taken). I can ride the streets, just like I did in 1977 when I first got to Dallas. And I can ride with cars (just think like a car and seize the lane). But what I realized was that if I hit a snag, or my wheel caught in something, the car behind me would run me over. I’m just too old for that. :-)
4. Why is cycling important to you?
Cycling is so important for health as well as reducing the polluting vehicles on the road. We don’t need more roadways, we need more cycle-tracks and trails. We need to remove barriers to cycling in Dallas.
5. Why is cycling important to the community?
Cycling also puts one more in touch with their surroundings. We can greet people, notice new businesses, plants and houses….smell the flowers so to speak. It slows us down in this rush-rush rat-race.
I lived for 11 years (1965-76) in Davis, California, where “bike is king.” The campus was closed to motorized vehicles, and it is a large campus (measured in square miles, not acres). Further, there were 25,000 people, and 20,000 bicycles! There were bike lanes everywhere, and drivers were used to navigating streets with lots of bicyclists out – in all weather. I might add, speed limit in the city was 25 mph.
6. What improvements do you hope to see for cyclists in Dallas?
Definitely more bike trails, and cycle tracks, as well as bike lanes that are separated by more than just striped pavement – how often do you see a car move into the bike lane to make a right turn? Slowing traffic down, and prominently marking bicycle paths and lanes are very important.
When I sat a table with a League Cycle Instructor a couple of years ago, we talked with a lot of seniors who wanted to (1) learn to ride a bike; or (2) wanted to ride with their grandchildren. But they didn’t feel safe on the streets. We must work to make the streets attractive to seniors (and mothers with children).
Thanks Anita for allowing us to ask you a few questions and also for your opinions and suggestions!
-Bike Friendly Oak Cliff
January 12, 2015 § 1 Comment
A bicycle changed my life. Why not Dallas?
I started riding out of necessity. I had just moved back from Mexico and didn’t have a car.
There was the anticipated benefit of physical activity but also unexpected advantages.
Bicycles are lady magnets. They swoon, “Oh, he CARES about the environment.”
Sorry to burst your bubble, I was just poor and resourceful.
Cycling has also freed me of my dependency on the automobile. I can now get all over the Metroplex by combining cycling and public transportation.
Can you imagine spending less money on gas and vehicle maintenance? That’s a big chunk of the typical American’s monthly budget.
Also, on certain sluggish mornings when I feel less than enthused to punch the clock, at least I have my bike commute to look forward to and enjoy.
But the greatest gift a bicycle has given me is a greater connection to my community.
Cyclists tend to interact more with their neighbors than motorists.
When you ride a bicycle, there are no barriers between you and the outside world, no windshield or windows, no steel frame or roof.
It’s easy for a driver to wave and nod through a window. But when you’re on two wheels, those nonverbal greetings turn into Hi’s, Hello’s and How ya doing’s.
Cycling creates a comradery in the neighborhood, better communication between neighbors and most importantly encourages the individual’s engagement in the community.
All the combined effects of cycling bring joy to my life. This may seem insignificant in the grand scheme, but a happy neighbor is a good neighbor.
Good neighbors cultivate better neighborhoods and great neighborhoods impact a city.
So whether you’re in it for the babes or for a better Dallas, get on your bikes and ride!
Thomas Cantu, Community Cyclist
January 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
Making a New Year’s Resolution is easy, sticking to it is something totally different.
So we decided to share our goals for 2015, that way we can hold ourselves accountable.
Below is what we would like to accomplish here in Oak Cliff over the next year.
1. Implement a Productive Network of Bike Share Stations in Dallas
The expansion of the Bike Share Program at Fair Park is essential to its success.
The availability of the Bike Share Stations and the system’s convenience will encourage ridership.
Possible locations in Oak Cliff are:
- Lake Cliff Park
- Bishop Arts District
- Texas Theatre
- North Oak Cliff Public Library
- Kidd Springs Park
- Kiest Park
- Hampton Dart Rail Station
- Westmoreland Dart Rail Station
- 8th and Corinth Rd Dart Rail Station
- The Dallas Zoo
- Wynnewood Village
- Pecan Grove Park
- Stevens Park Golf Course
- Cedar Crest Golf Course
- Moore Park/Trinity Trestle Trail
2. Create a Safe Passageway to Ride from Oak Cliff to Trinity Groves
Currently the most direct routes are unsafe for cyclists. The newest park in Dallas as well as the locale with the trendiest restaurants is only about 5 miles away from Oak Cliff and should be more accessible by bicycle.
The traffic on Beckley Ave is too fast to ride safely in the street and the sidewalk is too rough to ride.
Not to mention the tunnels at the bottom of the hill remind me of the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The other option is a combination of Edgefield Ave and Sylvan Ave. However, the last leg on Sylvan is through an industrial district that I do not feel comfortable riding with a group.
We would love to have greater access to this great new public space.
3. Install A Unique Gateway/Folk Art Sign on the Houston St Viaduct,
to welcome motorists and rail car passengers to our beloved Oak Cliff.
4. Improve and Repair Streets Including 7th St, Bishop Ave toward the south and Davis St
Pot holes, poor lighting and streets in disrepair may be a nuisance to motorists, but to cyclists, road conditions are critical.
Also, a road that’s safe for cyclists is better for everyone in the community.
No more pot-holes to tear-up motorvehicles, street lights to allow safe driving and deter crime will be appreciated by all our neighbors.
We know we can’t achieve these goals alone; we hope to have your support!
Happy New Year, Oak Cliff, let’s make it a good one!
Bike Friendly Oak Cliff