Tag Archives: dallas

Progress in the Metroplex

CowTown Electric Bikes

We’ve updated Welcome to DFW.  This Youtube video shows a new tour in Dallas from DallasCityTour.  So far, no mention on their website though.  On the other side of the Metroplex Things are looking up in Fort Worth too.  Until recently there was only one, running once per month.  CowTown Electric Bikes came on the scene about a year ago (!?) with three guided tours, three self-guide tours, and rentals.

In other Metroplex news, bike infrastructure just keeps getting better and better.  In addition to the ever-improving Trinity Strand/Skyline Trails as well as the Katy Trail, working its way north out of downtown Big D.

Staying in Addison on a recent road trip, we stumbled into Vitruvian Park‘s excellent hike/bike/explore trails that connects to even more infrastructure in the Galleria area.

Even for those who live in the giant Metroplex, there’s a lot to keep track of!

Play us out, Jimmie and Stevie Ray.

The Grand Strand in Dallas Land (Part 2)

Old 97s County Fair - Photo: BackAmp Research
Old 97s County Fair

(Part 1)

In the afternoon, we took a little break from the show and I set out again to explore a bit beyond the Trinity Strand Trail.  First stop, though, was the now open Noble Rey Brewing. After a quick pint of bike fuel, I rode a short distance on the trail to Sylvan Avenue.  One block south is the new Sylvan Avenue Bridge featuring an elevated, six lane bridge with two six foot sidewalks on either shoulder. The ramp from the roadway down to the floodway, will allow both vehicular and pedestrian access to Trammell Crow Park and its soccer fields and pond.”

Each side of the massive bridge has both a dedicated sidewalk as well as a bike lane.

Sylvan Ave Bridge

And, most notably, very few cars.  I continued on down the “Floodway Access Ramp” to the aptly named Trinity Skyline Trail:

In spite of the view, however, the trail runs along the Trinity River basin.  I was planning to ride to the Continental Avenue Pedestrian Bridge.  However, once I arrived and was looking up at the bridge, I discovered that there is no connection between them.  This, in spite of the bridge’s webpage that encourages: “We hope you will walk or bike by using the City trail system including the Trinity Skyline Trail!.”  In fact, there’s no way out of the river basin here.  It appears that the next street access is at W. Commerce.  However, time was short and I portaged my bike up and over a giant flood berm and through an already trodden down chainlink fence to reach the bridge.

The northeast half of the bridge was actively being set up for some event, with tents, tables/chairs, and people actively stocking bars.  I rode slowly through the commotion expecting to be ejected at any point.  Once I reached the temporary fence, I encountered a security guy:

Me: “You aren’t going to let me through this gate, are you?”

                   S.G: “Sure I will.  But I won’t let you back.  Those guys should never have let you get this far.”

Me: “OK”

And on I rode to discover:

And not just one Quinceañera, but at least a half dozen.  The lesson here is that the bridge is pretty much about pedestrians and lots of activities (their webpage has tons of activities…Yoga on a bridge, sure, why not?)  Anyhow, it’s a nice bridge with a great view, but I wouldn’t always count on being able to cycle across it.

Climbing berms, crashing parties, and Quinceañeras all tend to make me thirsty.  Happily, I was only two blocks from Four Corners Brewing Company.

After a quick stop for an IPA and a couple of handfuls of peanuts, I started the return ride.  In spite of the somewhat circuitous route so far, the Sylvan Avenue Bridge was only a few blocks to the north.

It was a quick ride over the largely deserted bridge to the Trinity Strand Trail and back to the hotel.

As a postscript, it turns out that this area, just west of downtown, is also home to two more breweries, Peticolas Brewing Company and the aforementioned Community Beer Company.  Stay tuned for an upcoming post about a DIY bike/brewery tour and why some clever entrepreneur should jump on this idea.

 

The Grand Strand in Dallas Land (Part 1)

A couple of weekends ago, we loaded the BTBT staff car and decamped for a couple of days in Big D.  The Old 97’s County Fair was the primary destination, but I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to explore a bit of Dallas bike infrastructure.

We stayed in the Market Center area, right on I-35 west of downtown and just a couple of blocks from the Trinity Strand Trail.  Other than having mapped a possible ride to the show in downtown Dallas, I hadn’t done any research about the area.  Taking a quick exploratory ride on Saturday morning, I stumbled into Noble Rey Brewing at the west end of the trail (seen at the right side of the photo):

Hmm, that was unexpected, although I was aware that Community Beer Company is not far away.  I continued onto the trail and quickly discovered murals:

Beyond the murals, some funky eateries, and a few bridges and access points, the trail cuts through the up and coming Dallas Design District area.  I continued on to the eastern trail head at Stemmons and Oak Lawn.  A connection here to the Katy Trail is under development.

Eastern Trailhead

This initial 2.5 miles of the Trinity Strand Trail opened last fall with another 5+ miles planned.  There is already a viable cycling connection to the Trinity Skyline Trail (more on this in Part 2).

For a beautiful Saturday morning, the trail was remarkably empty.  For a ride lasting about 40 minutes, I didn’t see more than a couple of bicycles and a half dozen walkers/runners.  That’s a shame, it’s a wonderful piece of bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure, with wide concrete swathes, bridges, and even emergency signage.  The trail is relatively new, and will be expanded to at least 7.5 miles

Next — Check out Part 2 of The Grand Strand in Dallas Land.

Welcome to DFW

Photo: Backamp Research
Photo: Backamp Research

Dallas is a tough place to ride bikes.  In 2010, Bicycling Magazine rated Dallas one of the three worst cities to ride a bike. In 2012, it happened again.  The bicycle coordinator from 1991 to 2006 believed that bikes were just like cars and removed the few existing bike lanes in favor of a “vehicular cycling” approach.

The most recent bicycle czar has finally been making some solid progress against their 2011 plan.  Sadly, she recently left for greener pastures in Denver.

Ft. Worth, on the other hand, has a B-cycle operation and a mayor who conducts “rolling town hall meetings” by bicycle. If you’re unfamiliar with the metroplex (a portmanteau originally coined by the NTC) , it’s more than just the big D and Cowtown…there’s Arlington, Grapevine, Coppell, Lewisville, Plano, Garland, Irving, Richardardson, and a handful more.  Mix in a dozen or so municipalities and a crazy pickup truck/luxury car mashup culture and it’s hard to believe anything involving bikes gets done.

Nevertheless, a 60+ mile network of trails is nearing completion that connects “D” to “FW” along and near the Trinity River.

So, what of bike tours?  Until recently, Dallas sadly had no bike tours.  But we recently discovered this video that shows a DallasCityTour bike tour.   No sign of them on the website, but we’ll keep an eye out.  Things are looking up in Fort Worth too.  Until recently there was only one, running once per month.  CowTown Electric Bikes has recently started several tours, running a few times per week.  Progress in the Metroplex!

We think there’s room for more…C’mon bike entrepreneurs, where are ya?