Sunday, March 17, 2013

So, Blogspot changed the format and frankly I'm doing more on Facebook these days, so maybe it's time to hang up this blog. It's been great, but don't expect further updates.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fred's Texas Cafe

So I was out running errands on my bicycle today, yeah 100+ today, and I went into Fred's Texas Cafe at 915 Currie Street in Fort Worth to refill my water bottle.

I never made it out.

That sounds like a bad thing. Really, it was an awesome thing.

I've heard about Fred's for while now, but every time I've thought about trying them, they were packed (they do get packed). But I was running errands on my bicycle today and they brought me to Fred's just as the lunch hour started. Like I said, I just went in for some water. Then it hit me: The smell of Fred's burgers and their other foods cooking. You just can't walk away from a smell like that if you're anywhere near a mealtime.

Here it is, short and sweet: AWESOME burger, GREAT fries and COLDASS beer.

The burger tastes like it just came off the grill in the back yard. I got mine with cheese "all the way."  The toppings were fresh and crisp. The burger itself was just a little pink inside, just the way I like it. The fries are some of the best I've had. They are cut from whole potatoes with the skin on, and they "double fry" them to make them crispy on the outside, tender inside. And my coldass (their word, by the way) beer was only $2. With the beer, the bill came to about $12. A little pricy for just a burger I suppose, but it was worth it. (Actually, this is becoming pretty typical for the best burger joints locally.)

But that's only half the story. When I asked for the water, the bartender was friendly and gladly filled my bottle. Brian, the inmate in charge of the place, more than made me feel at home. When I decided to stay, I went out to lock up my bike and he followed me out and he asked a few questions about the bike. In general, everyone else that worked there was that friendly. I mean, they really love the place, so it pulls you in.

I wouldn't have minded staying longer, but the sun was hot and getting hotter and I had to pedal home.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Cafe Brazil

Happy Independence Day, y'all! This morning the wife and I rode to Cafe Brazil for breakfast. It is at 2880 West Berry Street in Fort Worth, just east of University in the heart of the TCU area.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mijo's Fusion

Another bike date with the missus. This time we rode through Fairmount neighborhood up to Mijo's Fusion, a new restaurant at 1109 W. Magnolia Ave. in Fort Worth. They are in the space formerly occupied by Junsuree Thai restaurant (a favorite of ours). The decor inside the restaurant has been completely remodeled (yeah, it was kind of empty; we ate a late lunch).

Happy Easter

This post is a little late, but here is how I spent my Easter Sunday Night. I typically ride with the Night Riders on Sunday nights. This icular Sunday was significant because it was Easter, which meant Lent was over, and I had given up alcohol for Lent. Our pub crawl is usually just that. We meet at the Chat Room Pub and then ride to a couple other bars before winding up at the Chat. But the ride organizers promised something special for Easter. It started out normal enough, riding through the neighborhoods near the Chat.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Bailey's Bar-B-Que

I was out of town on business this week. I got back Thursday night and had Friday off, so I had a chance to ride around on The Whip for a longish ride (26 miles). I went downtown to see the new location of Trinity Bicycles... more about that later. I also had a late lunch at Bailey's Bar-B-Que. I've been meaning to go there for quite a while, but since they're only open for lunch, I haven't had a chance.

Bailey's is a unique little place. In the middle of larger buildings downtown at 826 Tailor Street, they've been serving barbecued brisket since 1931. I suppose this place has seen a lot of Fort Worth history.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Whip

A bike is reborn.

A little over three years ago, I pulled a bike out of a dumpster. It was a mid-to-low end early 80s bike boom bike, a 1983 Raleigh Marathon, that I dubbed the Dumpster Queen.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


The other day I thought: I am not a typical cyclist. There are others out there like me, but I don't think I'm typical. Why do I like to ride? What motivates me? I have reasons, of course: fitness and stuff like that, but why do I like to ride?

I think the number one reason is exploration. On a bicycle I can explore my city. There are a lot of cool things to see, and a lot of areas are far more accessible than I realized. On foot, I have no range. In a car, I go by things too fast. On a bike, it's just right. I can spend a day and ride 40 or 50 miles and see a bunch of cool stuff.

I've lived here for nearly 20 years, but it's only the last 3 or 4 that I've started to actually learn about the city- the terrain, the river, the train tracks and yards, the way it evolved and grew. You get a feel for the neighborhoods; that's probably my biggest surprise. On a gut feel level, I can tell one neighborhood from another. Some are rather pleasant. Others are stuck up. Or laid back. Or tense. Some of the most interesting are where residential areas butt up against industry.

If I were to drive through some of these neighborhoods, there would be no interaction. It's like watching TV. It's all passive. If I parked the car and walked, I wouldn't feel very safe in some areas. Or others wouldn't feel safe with a stranger walking around. When I ride through on a bike, there isn't an expectation of extended conversation. It's just a series of greetings. Any tension quickly passes.

My bell is a good ice breaker. I can ride through a neighborhood and even where I don't speak the predominant language, I can ring my bell and nod to the people. They smile back. They always smile when I ring my bell. Well, except for the teenaged girls. For some reason, girls laugh derisively- look at that dork on the bike.

Kids are fascinated; they think I'm the ice cream man since I have a bell, or it's just the novelty of seeing a grown-up riding a bike. Older boys can at least appreciate the effort involved, the motion, the freedom. Adults see someone on a bike and it takes them back to their childhood, or maybe their home country, when cycling was a normal part of life. I'm still not part of the neighborhood. I'm apart. But for a few seconds at a time here and there, I connect.

Some of my rides are group rides. I do Saturday morning rides with a club. Most of them are professionals- engineers, managers, etc.- and have the money to spend on a state of the art bike. I ride cheap bikes in comparison. It's a good group though; they look forward to seeing what I'm riding that week. What's normal to me, a fixed gear bike, an old road bike or even older English roadster, is unusual to them. We ride to breakfast and enjoy each other's company, both on the ride and while eating. Luckily for me, it is a very inclusive club with different riding levels.

I also do social rides with another group, more loosely organized. I like the come-as-you are nature of the second group. I have many conversations along the way and have made good friends among both groups. And sometimes the groups overlap. But even when I ride with others, I almost always ride home by myself. Just me. And the bike.

Then there are the bikes themselves. Most of them are used, some throw-aways. I adopt them. Just like most of my rides are not about the destination, but the journey, so are my bikes not about the bike itself, but the seeking, the transformation. Unlike people, if there is something about a bike I don't like, I can change it.

Working on the bikes is a whole hobby unto itself. Someday I will own a brand new, state of the art bike and I will love riding it. But even with the warts my current bikes have, they are mine. It's more of a baseball card collection than a stable of bikes. I search, I acquire, I trade. I add pieces to my collections of parts, and put them on a bike that needs it. Even once a bike is "done," chances are I will still make further changes down the road.

The result is a continual massaging of steel and aluminum to produce a bike that is mine and no one else's. When I ride it I get the pleasure of having at least some part in the configuration of the bike- a seat added, a wheel built. If a bike falls short of expectations, I will do what I can to help it make the grade.

So why do I ride bikes? It has nothing to do with speed really. It as a bit to do with distance, but that's not main motivation. It's about people and places and how metal and rubber come together to form a heart and soul.