Thursday, October 22, 2009


People are starting to tie that word to me and my bicycle commuting. Yesterday, for instance, I rode into the teeth of 30 mph gusting winds on a day that saw 4 inches of rain locally.

I can see where they're coming from, but I don't really see it that way. There are times when I rarely commute. The two weeks prior to this week, I only rode to work one day. We have a leak in the roof and I had to be available to come home quickly if an insurance adjuster or roofing guy came by. So.... I had to drive.

This week started with beautiful weather. With a more favorable schedule I decided to try to ride to work all five days. Monday and Tuesday were great: mid-50s in the morning, mid-70s in the afternoon. No problem.

Wednesday was a different matter. Significant rainfall was predicted. It was iffy. I checked outside and it was wet but it wasn't raining. I got ready to ride, packed up the bike and set out, only to find a steady rain that increased as I rode. On days like that, I tell my wife, "Well, as long as I can get to work okay, if I have to, I catch a ride home with someone." Her reply is usually a sardonic, "Yeah. Right." She knows that if I ride to work, I ride home. So far I haven't let bad weather stop me.

When I got to work, I was soaked head-to-toe like someone had sprayed me with the garden hose. Despite the wind and rain I wasn't too cold; the temp was in the 60s. It was a pretty wild ride, the worst weather in which I'd ridden to work. At the end of the day, my nylon jacket was dry, but the long sleeve t-shirt I'd worn was soaked, so I just rode home in my work shirt. The ride home was a repeat of the ride in, except it was raining hard the whole way, the wind was now in my face, and because it had rained all day there was a lot of street flooding, up to the frame of the bike.

This morning I was better prepared. The radar showed the rain was still around, a check outside confirmed it. I dressed similarly to the previous day, except that I put a hat on under my helmet and added a vinyl raincoat under my hi-visibility windbreaker. It was about ten degrees cooler, but when I started out... no rain! So I was over-dressed and a little too warm. I hit some rain just as I got close to work, though, so the vinyl layer paid off.

This afternoon was a piece of cake. Not only had it warmed into the 70s, but the wind was at my back for a change.

Tomorrow I plan to ride, which will make this the first week in quite a while that I've commuted all five days in a work week.

So... why was I so hardcore this week? Well first of all, I had challenged myself to ride all five days for a change. My work schedule usually prevents this because of meetings I have away from my office on Wednesdays, but I didn't have any meetings this week (I was in a training class). So there was that.

When the rains rolled in it would have been easy to back out of riding, but there is something else that kicks in when conditions get bad. If I'm up to it, I like to push the envelope of conditions in which I'll ride. I won't say I would always ride in conditions like that, but it makes life interesting to challenge myself occasionally. There is the rush of meeting the challenge, when the ride is almost an adventure. I wouldn't want to do it all the time, but I like to push the limits once in a while.

And yeah, there's this: I love the look of disbelief when people in the office find out I've ridden to work through terrible weather. It doesn't bother me one bit if they think I'm just a little crazy.

Ultimately though, what it comes down to is I'm not hardcore. I'm a fool.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

BABBLE Ride, October 17

Yesterday, the newly formed and loosely associated group known as BABBLE had its first ride. BABBLE is Bicycle Authors, Bloggers, Boldfaced Liars and Exaggerators. It was formed by a number of bloggers who write about cycling in the Fort Worth and Dallas areas. We thought it would be cool to get together and take a little ride, have a little lunch, and make up a funny name for ourselves.

We met at the Texas & Pacific Rail Station Park & Ride lot at the south end of downtown Fort Worth. There are about a half dozen of us, so we weren't expecting much of a turnout. Word got out on some other local blogs and message boards, though, and we ended up with lots of unexpected riders- almost 20 of us!

Chris of Pondero blog ponders the collection of bikes.

This is Frankenbike, the creation of Steve A of DFW Point-to-Point. This bike is far uglier in person than than I would have believed from the pictures I've seen. ;-)

Chris's Homer Hilson, on the other hand, is gorgeous.

Mounting up!

This is Rose; her propulsion was provided by her dad, chimericslashes.

Artsy bike picture.

Another one.

Finally we begin.

A motley group.

First stop: Panther City Bicycles.

Refreshments available include Fort Worth-brewed Rahr beer on tap.

Onward we go.

Oops! That was a quick light!

Another stop for the BABBLE posse... Colonel's Bicycles near TCU.

BABBLErs gawking around in Colonel's

Riding near Colonial Country Club.

Getting on the Trinity River Trail at Overton Creek.

We got off the river trail at Trinity Park.

Cutting through the industrial area that leads to...

...La Familia for lunch!

Wish you were here, R A N T W I C K!

The enchiladas were excellent!

A great time was had by all! BABBLE founders include Chandra (Green Commotion, bright yellow shirt), Steve A (DFW Point-to-Point, blue shirt), Myles (Rat Trap Press, red shirt), me- Paul H (Doohickie, next to Myles), then next to me Chris (Pondero) and Reed (ChipSeal). I regret to say I'm not too good with names, so several of our new friends will have to remain nameless for now. Maybe on the next ride I'll be better with names. I also regret that I missed the rest of the ride; I had to get home for another appointment and left the group after eating lunch. I took more pictures of the ride; you can see them here.

If you want to see what happened next, check out some these accounts of the ride:

DFW Point-to-Point
Rat Trap Press
Fixed Dallas Twitter
Onespeed Dallas Twitter
fixedminusdicks Twitter Pics
Suburban Assault

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BABBLE emerges as the force in cycling in Fort Worth

Okay, I oversold that a bit, but if you are interested in joining several local bloggers in a ride in and around Fort Worth this Saturday, October 17, meet us at the Texas & Pacific Rail Station on the south end of downtown at about 10 am. Come out for the inaugural event of Bicycling Authors, Bloggers, Bold-face Liars, & Exaggerators or BABBLE. I could do a nice writeup promoting the ride, or I could simply link to Pondero's post about the ride.

This is a social ride. We'll be doing a leisurely pace of 10 mph or less, so bring whatever you've got and come ride with us. We will ride about 13 miles on the way to lunch at La Familia on Foch Street, then a short 3 mile hop back to the starting point. For more details, check out Pondero.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Tour de Dallas

So this past Friday, some friends and I rode the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) from Fort Worth to Dallas, then we rode our bikes around White Rock Lake and the surrounding area before heading back to downtown Dallas for lunch and taking the train back home.

My riding buddies planned to board the TRE in downtown Fort Worth, but I had to drop my car off for some maintenance, so I rode the my bike from the dealership to the TRE station at Richland Hills.

For $7.50, you get a day's worth of unlimited transportation on The T (Fort Worth's bus system), the TRE, and DART Buses and Light Rail.

Not being sure how long I would be at the dealer, and not knowing how long it would take me to get to the station and how crowded it would be, I got there pretty early. It gave me a chance to look around. There were real bikes of real commuters locked up!

After almost an hour of waiting, my train arrived.

I found my riding buddies on the train.

We got off at Union Station in Dallas,

which is in the shadow of Reunion Tower.

From there we took the DART Blue Line toward Garland. It was a tighter fit on the light rail, but we still got our bikes on board. Three of the four bikes fit in the area where two cars coupled together.

Finally.... freedom! We got off at the White Rock Lack station and rode over to the lake.

It only took a few minutes to get to the lake.

The weather was PERFECT.

White Rock Lake is surrounded by some of the most gorgeous homes you'll see. We detoured off into the surrounding neighborhood a bit.

This one was ostentatiously called Mount Vernon.

Some other homes in the area. Nice....

We saw this house from both sides. It was freakin' huge!

A brief break...

And we left the lake to follow the White Rock Creek Trail.

(Insert horse's ass joke here ;-)

Once the horse's handler realized I was trying to take a picture, she got it to pose all pretty.

Further up the trail, crossing under Walnut Hill Lane.

We finally stopped and turned around. We were getting hungry.

We rode almost all the way to I-635 at the northern limits of Dallas.

Then it was back to the Blue Line to downtown Dallas. Unlike my riding mates, I didn't get all lycra-ed out.

We ate lunch at Dick's Last Resort. I was too hungry to take pictures. The we rode around in little downtown, taking in the sites like the American Airlines Center where the Mavericks and Stars play.

And just some general wandering, trying to find Union Station again.

And finally, the train ride home.

By my estimate, I did about 45 miles on the bike that day. It was a great day.