April 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
There’s always an opportunity to ride a bicycle in our great city of Dallas, TX, but these two upcoming events are expecting a big bicycle crowd to take part!
First up, the Spring edition of Dallas Art Dealer’s Association or DADA will host another Bike Swarm in conjunction with their bi-annual gallery tour. Here are the details:
Date: April 26, 2014
Meet Up Time: 12:30 PM
Departure Time: 1:00 PM
Return Time: 5:00 PM
Meet Up Location: Oak Cliff Cultural Center, 223 W. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas, Texas 75208
Approximate Mileage: 8 – 12 miles
Next, Uptown is getting into the bicycle spirit by hosting it’s first Ciclovia, and only the second one to be held in Dallas since BFOC hosted the first back in 2012!
From their website UptownCiclovia.org:
Dallas’ first large scale Ciclovía will be held in Uptown from 10am – 3pm on Memorial Day, May 26, 2014! Together with the Metropolitan Dallas YMCA, Uptown will host a one-mile, car-free route to connect the Katy Trail to the Klyde Warren Park via Cedar Springs Road.
Ciclovías, translated as “bicycle path,” and also known as Open Streets in the United States, are one-of-a-kind, free events that bring a City together to enjoy all things outdoors- running, biking, roller-skating, strollers, etc.
Ciclovías have been successfully happening and gaining momentum for years in world-class cities around the country, including: Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Miami, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Oklahoma City, Denver, Durham, and Atlanta. It’s time for Dallas to host our own!
In these cities, those along Open Streets routes have enjoyed positive impacts on their businesses by participating in the family-friendly event. We invite you to join us as we create an open space that will connect people with their city in a fun, safe, and clean environment!
Date: May 26, 2014
Time: 10 AM – 3 PM
April 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
Not sure Mayor Mike will be in attendance, but if you want your own voice to be heard about how we as a bicycling community can shape our cities’ future, you need to try and attend the first Dallas Bicycle Task Force meeting tomorrow. Councilmen Kingston, Griggs, and Medrano are heading up what the city has failed to do yet since it completed and approved a May 2011 Bike Plan to bring the city bicycling infrastructure into the 21st century.
So far, the going has been slow in getting more infrastructure in place, but Oak Cliff has already received some of the most new bicycling infrastructure in the city, because BFOC has done a great job leading the way in making it so. We obviously have a ways to go, and the lead finally being taken by our elected officials is a breath of fresh air.
Here are the meeting details:
Wednesday, April 16
6:00 p.m. at Main Street Garden for a ride to
City Hall, 6:30 p.m.
Meet us at MSG or at City Hall for the meeting (I’ll forward meeting room details and building access information shortly). Please invite anyone you think would be helpful. The agenda for the first meeting will be
1. Structure of the Task Force
3. Helmet Ordinance
4. Bike Share
High likelihood of beers after the meeting. Call my cell phone with questions. 214-642-1707
February 27, 2014 § 3 Comments
Local Dallas Bike Friendly advocates are organizing and looking for quick wins to help make Dallas a safer place to bicycle. BFOC recently met with the Chief of the Dallas Police Department and several issues were discussed. One very important issue that came out of that meeting was how the DPD and Bike Friendly groups can work together to make Dallas a safer city to ride a bicycle. Chief Brown was very supportive, and wants to help educate his officers and the general public about the safe passing law recently approved by the city, as well as other issues related to city cycling. He even wants to setup a team challenge of some kind this Fall between locals and his bicycle patrol members! We’re ready, Chief Brown!
This initiative has been conceived by local bicycle advocacy groups as a quick and easy way to work together with the Dallas Police Department and other city departments to report unsafe cycling issues you may see while riding your bicycle. Here’s a brief list of the types of issues you may want to report using your smartphone, a picture and your Twitter account:
*Note: If you are involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, please call 911 first and seek medical attention if needed.
- Bicycle Infrastructure Issues
- Cars parking in a non-shared, separate bike lane
- People walking in a bike lane
- Debris in the bike lane
- Problems with existing bike lanes
- Places new bike lanes might be placed
- Inaccurate or incorrect signs, or need of signage
- Unsafe Driving by Motorists
- Unsafe passing by a motorist
- Defined as passing with less than 3′ feet of space between you and the motor vehicle
- Reckless and intentional actions made by the motorist toward the cyclist
- Unsafe passing by a motorist
- Unsafe Riding by Cyclists
- Not stopping at traffic signals or stop signs
- Reckless and intentional actions made by the cyclist
- Riding on the wrong side of the street
- Defined as riding against the normal traffic flow
- Accidents between cyclists and motorists
- Use your own Twitter account
- Create a Tweet
- REQUIRED: Enter the hashtag #DPDSafeCycle
- Tag your favorite local Bike Friendly group, i.e. @BikeFriendlyOC, @BikeCedars, @BikeDFW, @BikeDeepEllum, @BFGreenvilleAve
- Tag your favorite bike shop, i.e. @SGCyclery, @ocbicycleco,
- Tag the chief of police and city departments, i.e. @dpdchief, @DallasPD, @CityOfDallas311, @1500Marilla, @DallasParkRec
- Enter the Location as the closest cross street
- Enter your safe cycling issue
- Optional: Include a picture
Please share this with all of your bicycling friends so we can build up content to send over to the appropriate city departments, including the Dallas Police. We are apart of making Dallas Safe to Cycle!
December 2, 2013 § Leave a comment
UPDATE! We’re rescheduling the Tweed Ride to next weekend, Saturday (not Sunday!) at 3:30PM due to the freeze. We’re still meeting at the Grassy Knoll downtown. If you’re like us, this gives you an extra weekend to grab your tweed outfit you waited to buy until the last minute! The next day is the Holiday Lights Ride, so two great events in one weekend! Check back for more updates soon.
This weekend is the official Dallas Tweed Ride! And it looks like we’ll finally get a cold day to ride in, unlike past years where we had unseasonably warm winter days that made wearing tweed a bit cumbersome. This is your chance to bust out the mittens, scarves, vests, wool socks, canteens filled with hot chocolate, and calabash pipes to warm your bones on one of the most fun rides of the year.
The ride takes place on Sunday, December 14th, starting at 3:30PM and meeting at the Grassy Knoll downtown. We’ll have our traditional game of tug-of-war, live 1920′s music by Matt Tolentino, a big group photo, and prizes for best dressed male and female riders and best bicycles.
BFOC will provide a keg of beer at the final landing spot, so be sure to bring a couple of bucks to throw into the donations pile. Also, any additional funds we raise will be matched and donated to the Ray Porter Fund. Ray is an Oak Cliff fixture and was recently diagnosed with cancer.
The facebook event invite is located here. Check there, or here on the blog for any updates to the ride. Cheerio!
November 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
Due to inclement weather, we’re cancelling today’s history group ride. Plan on heading out to the Tweed Ride on December 8th!
November 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
November 6, 2013 § 6 Comments
written by Jonathan Braddick
I love rail corridors that are no longer in service, have been rail banked, or abandoned for private purchase. They have layers of history that end up over lapping with new ones when rail trails are developed, like a palimpsest does. They provide a glimpse into our past when this form of transportation dominated our country’s landscapes, our industries, and was the most often used form of transportation. In our area of the nation’s prairie land, we have a fair share of these rail corridors. However, one in particular is special and provides a unique adventure unlike no other can in North Texas.
Last Saturday, I rode 50 miles of the 130 mile long, North East Texas Trail, starting at the western trail head in Farmersville, TX. Located approximately one hour from Dallas’ city center, it’s a complete escape and contrast to our urban trail environments.
First a brief history lesson…
The land for the NETT and other rail-trails was first made available by the National Trails System Act in 1983. At no cost to the rail bank entities, it preserves established railroad right-of-ways for future reactivation of rail service, protects rail transportation corridors, and encourages energy efficient transportation use. Trail advocates along the entire route have been developing plans and fighting court battles with some land owners since the 80s. Now, quite a bit of the trail has been developed by several of the rail banking agencies that oversee it’s development. The NETT is now a functioning, 501c3 non-profit able to accept donations to continue it’s development into the future.
Riding the NETT
I’d been hearing quite a bit about the NETT since growing up in Collin County, where Farmersville is located. However, it wasn’t until I recently watched Dean Nix, a local cyclist and all around bad ass, talk about being the first to ride the entire distance from end to end and back, a total distance of 260 miles. He did it in 3 days by the way!
Anyway, I heard through my Bearded Women Racing team members that Spinistry, a local race promoter, was organizing the first cycling event to ride the trail. I have a full mountain bike racing season on my legs, so I took the challenge to ride the full 65 mile distance from Farmersville to Paris, one way, so I could be back in time for a mountain bike race the following day.
After a warm up start through Farmersville quaint and attractive downtown and onto local county roads, the ride put us on the first section called the Chaparral Trail . The segment is owned by the city, and they’re very proud of their work to date on making it a true city trail. They have lighting, benches, recently installed sod and other landscaping like you’d see on any local city trail. The difference is that it’s not paved, a good thing for long term maintenance and use. What make rail beds the ideal trail lies just at the surface. Rails were built with rail ballast, tons of small portioned rock that drains very well and provides a solid foundation for the ties and steel rail. When the ties and steel are removed, you can simply lay down layers of trail material to make it into a mult-use trail that everyone can enjoy!
Once we past through this section and out of the city owned section, the trail quickly showed it’s true grit. Think unimproved jeep trail in most sections, and that’s what the trail looks like. We ran into a section where someone had removed a chunk of the rail ballast for some unknown reason. This was the only section where standing water and mud was an issue. A distance of probably 50 yards or so. Most riders were either on mountain bikes or cross bikes. All of the mountain bikers made it through this section with ease, however a few of the cyclecross riders did not ;). Other than a bit of mud, the only other brief impediments are the multiple rail bridges. We were instructed at the pre-ride meeting to not ride them, get off the bicycle and walk it. Most of them are definitely NOT ride able, though a handful make for a fun, bumpy traverse. You’ve got to be aware of the loose and brittle ties and the gaps between them. They certainly made the trip more interesting, as your mind wanders back the over 150 years or so when they were first erected to ensure the train made it’s stops on time along the entire route.
I suspect that the NETT group will focus on repairing and making these bridges safe and ride able in the near future. However, one in particular made me stop and remember that I’m afraid of heights, before I did a tight rope like walk across a 6 foot gaping hole. This particular bridge crosses the Sulphur river, one of the main tributaries in North East Texas. The bridge lies between Pecan Gap and Franklin, a designated un-passable section of the trail per the NETT group. Anyway, the section you see in the following picture is the gap in the Sulphur bridge crossing.
Besides the adventure crossing these rail bridges, some of the most interesting sections of the trial came with the over growth. We prepared ourselves like most riders would not that day by bring a few tools to help us make our way through anything we came upon. I tied a machete to the side of my mountain bike and welded it like a soldier in the cavalry would have down. While not necessary to traverse these sections, it was a blast to do. Really, most of it can be bushwhacked by simply riding through it and avoiding the treacherous Honey Locust tree that have huge 3-4 inch thorns reaching out over the trail like spider webs ready to puncture any tubeless tire it comes across. 30 years or so since the National Trail Act leaves plenty of time for some gnarly over growth to leave it’s mark! I definitely recommend having tubeless tires through most of this section of the trail, but not necessary.
Our adventure took us through some great, little slices of Texas’ beautiful country side. Along the way we saw active farmers and ranches doing the same things they’ve been doing when the trail passed regularly, and kept the small towns economically viable and perfect places to raise a family and earn a living. Now, the rail trial can pump new economic development back into them by adventure seekers ready to traverse the trail. You can contribute by spending money in each town you pass through, filling up your car, eating at Pecan Gap’s all you can eat catfish buffet or another restaurant along the way or simply donate to the NETT. Be apart of this resurgent effort to create a beautiful recreational resource for everyone to enjoy!
October 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
All: We’re cancelling the ride today due to inclement weather. The streets are a little too slick for a large ride, and want to make sure everyone is safe. We’ll reschedule in the near future. Please check back soon.
October 2, 2013 § Leave a comment
The ONLY annual bicycle festival of it’s kind in North Texas, Cyclesomatic is back for it’s 5th edition. For full information on each event, check out the Cyclesomatic 2013 menu on the right side of the home page! Also, join the Bike Friendly Oak Cliff Facebook group to keep up to date on the happenings throughout the month of October.
September 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
Join Councilman Scott Griggs and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff Wednesday October 23rd for at ride through downtown, starting at Main Street Garden at 8am, to the Dallas City Hall Plaza for an 8:30am press conference.
Oak Cliff cyclists will meet at 7:30am @ Oddfellows to bike into downtown together, converging with cyclists from all over town at Main Street Gardens.
We’ve had some major bike infrastructure come online since the adoption of our Bike Plan, and we want our Council Reps and City Staff to know that we appreciate their hard work and are excited to see more coming online soon!
Our friends at Biking in Dallas gathered some overview stats from the most recent update to Council on the Bike Plan progress (actual slides from Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan’s presentation here):
So far, the city has completed 136 miles of bike facilities (including 125 miles off-road and 11 miles on-road), out of over 1127 miles planned. The goal is to complete everything in ten years.
Comparing Dallas to other cities, we seem to have a lot of bike infrastructure – but if you restrict the comparison to separated facilities only, we go from leading to lagging.
The 2012-2014 project phase is focusing on areas near downtown, and will cost about $975,000, not including maintenance.
The Dallas Street Department has $500,000 a year to implement these facilities.
Beyond 2014, work will expand to a much more extensive network through Dallas neighborhoods.
This will be funded through the Street Department’s $500,000 a year and about $575,000 in 2012 bond funds, spread over four years.
But at these currently allocated funding levels, there’s no way the planned improvements will be completed in 10 years.
Possible funding sources include future bond programs, the city’s General Fund, grants and private donations.
The good folks at City Hall planning and implementing our Bike infrastructure need to know we support their work and we want them to do whatever is necessary to continue with our Bike Plan goals!
Invite your friends on Facebook to the event and let us know in the comments there if there’s a spot in your ‘hood where folks could join you for the ride to Main Street Garden. See you then!