Saturday, January 07, 2012

Friday Ramble

Put in about 35 miles Friday afternoon, riding around Fort Worth. This is a long post; go get yourself something to drink and maybe a snack! Here is your guide for the Friday Ramble (me).

I rode over to Bellaire Drive, which is part of the Trinity Trails system, although not right on the river.

Finally, out to the river.

Lots of winter construction along the trail. This is a newly paved section.

Fishing on the river bank.

More construction ahead.

This will be a new road bridge over the river, with a bike/pedestrian bridge underneath to connect the trails on the banks.

With all the talk of construction, it may sound like complaining, but I have to say that the detour trails are really pretty good. Hard packed stone trails that are fine for road bike tires, for the most part.

And just a little further up, even more construction on the Hulen Street bridge. This will be an elevated interchange with the new Chisholm Trail Parkway toll road.

Finally, a clear trail ahead.

I hear people in other cities complaining about all the different users on MUPs (multi-use paths). One of the great things about the Trinity Trails is that in the busiest areas there are actually two trails: a paved trail generally used by wheeled traffic, and a crushed stone trail for food traffic. There is enough extra room that some people even walk beside the trail.

This is probably my favorite spot on the Trinity River. There is a lookout over the river with benches. The bridge in the background is the University Drive bridge.

Hi, it's me again.

And just up the bank is the brand new Woodshed restaurant which should be opening in the next couple weeks. It will be run by Chef Tim Love.

Around the next bend is Trinity Park. The narrow gauge rail tracks alongside the trail are for the Forest Park Miniature Railroad which runs between the zoo in Forest Park, and Trinity Park.

Be careful when you cross the tracks!

As the trail follows the river through Trinity Park, downtown Fort Worth comes into view.

Ducks swimming in for a free meal.

As with the fishermen earlier, the duck feeders remind me of all the wildlife along the river. I've seen snowy egrets, blue herons and night herons, other water birds, armadillos, skunks, foxes and even a near encounter with a coyote, all on the trail. It's almost like an urban nature preserve, even more so with all the road construction going on around town.

Downtown looms closer. (It's not really that close; I just used the telephoto setting.)

I stopped for a quick meeting with Mark Twain. He's a fixture here along the river. No, literally: He's fixed to the bench.

Here's the Lancaster Avenue bridge. Just this side of it a pedestrian/bicycle bridge is being built that will join Trinity Park to the west end of downtown.

The river wraps around the west side to the north side of downtown.

This is Henderson Street approaching downtown from the northwest.

Time to cross the river to the downtown side.

No, this isn't the Henderson Street bridge again; this is Main Street coming in from the north.

Here's something else about Fort Worth that's cool: For years, elementary school kids have been painting random walls around town. Retaining walls, bridge underpasses, creek channels... they start with a blue background, then turn the kids loose. This kind of thing is the result.

Back on the other side of the river, here is a view of the new campus of Tarrant Community College (foreground), with the DR Horton and Wells Fargo towers behind.

Riding north along the river, putting downtown in the background.

When you ride the trail to the northside, you have to be careful not to run over the little "dirt piles" on the trail because, well, they're not dirt. I had to call out "On your left!" to make sure they didn't wander too far over.

Marine Creek joins the Trinity River.

The trail ends here at 23rd Street. It picks up again closer to the Stockyards (off to the left). But since I'm just out for a ride, this is my turnaround point. I'll turn right onto Samuels Avenue (the white bridge above) and head back toward downtown.

This is a city-designated bike route. While there is no bike lane marked, there is plenty of room to coexist with the motor traffic.

Yep, it's still me.

This end of Samuels is pretty industrial, but lightly traveled.

But it transitions into an older, historical residential neighborhood.

There's a grand old house.

"Progress" kicks in. As you get closer to downtown, newer developments come into view.

But before we get there.... Pioneer's Rest Cemetery. Many of the city's prominent names can be found on the headstones here.

And now, the more elegant abodes of uptown.

I did some exploring around the eastern fringe of downtown. This area is best explored by bicycle. Here's the Allen Chapel Church.

I believe the St. Louis Southwestern Freight Depot building is a restored original; the apartments behind are recent construction.

A glimpse of the Bass Hall angels from the east. Most pictures show a view from the west.

Crossing over the tracks just north of the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center leads to an interesting little area of warehouses, some abandoned and some rehabbed into offices.

This building is just.... bizarre.

The old King Candy Co.

"Manufacturers of Chocolates and Bon Bons"

To give some idea of how big the building is, here is my bike...

And here it is next to building (really tiny at the bottom right corner).

Around the corner of the building we find that the building was used to sell antiques at some point as well.

Looking back the way I came, west toward downtown.

Before I leave, some views of the "ignored infrastructure" of Fort Worth- the rail lines.

People waiting on the platforms at the ITC for the commuter train to take them back east toward Dallas.

A little further south, the old Santa Fe Depot, now a branch of the University of Texas at Arlington.

We've now toured the eastern fringe of downtown Fort Worth. For several of the pics you saw, it was my first time seeing those sights too. Turning right on Lancaster, then left onto Main, will take me to the southside. The tall building ahead and to the left is the old Texas & Pacific Depot, which also still operates a train station (along with the ITC), and has been remodeled into loft condos. The even taller building on the right edge of the picture is the new and incredibly modern Omni Hotel.

Having crossed through the tunnel under the tracks, here is the commuter lot for the T&P. The T&P Building and the Omni are lined up in this photo.

Heading south on Jennings Avenue. It is a bike route from Vickery (where the T&P commuter lot is) to Magnolia Avenue, about a mile, linking downtown with the eclectic and historic Fairmount neighborhood. In some stretches there are bike lanes; in others bicycles are instructed to take the lane.

Downtown recedes in the distance.

Off to the right (to the west) are Trimble Tech High School and the hospital district.

I've cut over to College Avenue and am coming into Fairmount now. I think this building, a former Police Station, would make a cool book store.

A little further down College, now in the residential area, is a small collection of old store fronts that are now a historical hardware store (i.e., old fixtures and doors and stuff). A lot of Fairmount renovations are done with recycled hardware.

One of the store fronts is still identified as a Piggly Wiggly grocery store.

These are typical Fairmount homes. I hope to move to this neighborhood eventually.

Ack. I thought I was done with construction. And this isn't as smooth as the detours on the trail.

South of Fairmount is Ryan Place. Slightly more recent, and also more upscale.

Ryan Place dumps into Berry Street, a 7-lane road (almost a highway) that I ride on for a block or two. While waiting to make my left turn off Berry and onto Ryan Avenue, I took a picture looking west. Texas Christian University is about a mile down the road.

Now I am in a more humble neighborhood. Older homes again, but smaller and not as well maintained as Fairmount. This is an immigrant neighborhood where Spanish language is common. I ride down here frequently at all hours and have never had any problems. Fort Worth is funny that way; before I started riding my bicycle, I thought this was a "bad neighborhood." But really, it's quite safe. You'll note the green bike route sign in the first photo. I've asked the city planner who plans the bike routes to extend this route pretty much all the way down to my neighborhood.

I've jogged over a block and now I'm on James Avenue. With the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary on the right, I pass my favorite southside taco truck. They barely speak English but make great food and are nice folks.

Seminary buildings on the right. James is a 4-lane road but has light enough traffic that it makes a great bike route. I hope the city marks it as such and puts sharrow markings on the road.

James branches off and the main road becomes Crowley Road, but I veer left to stay on James. Crowley gets quite busy south of I-20. But on James there's almost no traffic to be seen.

It makes for great riding.

I veer off again, onto Old Crowley Road, which runs between a nursery on the right and a trailer park on the left.

Old Crowley Road runs into Edgecliff Road which crosses busy 7-lane Crowley Road. I stayed on James to avoid this. (Now I just cross it at a light.)

Westward on Edgecliff.

Then I turn south for the final push home. I head toward Westcreek Park.

Note the recently painted-over graffiti on the path.

Careful! Stay on the path!

Families using the playground.

And finally, crossing West Creek itself, at a low water crossing. Note more paintings by school children.

My route home from the southside to my neighborhood is pretty flat. My trip up Canyon Circle is the exception. Fairly steep for several blocks. It flattens out some at that light pole ahead.

Almost there (huff, puff). I was riding a geared bike this time. Riding this on a single speed really builds stamina, especially at the end of a long ride.

This is a good spot to cross Altamesa Boulevard. No traffic light to wait for, but a wide median at the halfway point which makes it easier to get across.

1980s houses... almost home.

Note how the sun and shadows change through here; I have to make several turns to cut through this neighborhood to get to my own.

Shadow Me.

The home stretch now; on the other side of that light is my neighborhood.

Sycamore School Road can be busy. Best to wait for the light. Oddly, this light seems to trip more readily for bicycles than for cars.

Finally home. That's the side of my house on the right edge of the picture.

Thanks for traveling around Fort Worth with me. We did 35 miles together; I hope you enjoyed it.


Unknown said...

Very nice bike.

Steve A said...

Your observations about neighborhood safety mirror my own. In contrast to "bad neighborhoods" around Los Angeles or Seattle.

Pondero said...

You picked a great day for your urban ramble. Nice day, nice bike, and nice photo log.

Noreaster said...

Updated the old Marathon some huh? I have been toying with the idea of brown (leather) bar-tape. I think it would look good with the dark green frame. It's hard to tell in your pics though. The bike looks SO dark!

Are you still running 2x6? How was it getting the BESers to "line up" witht he 6-speed in the rear? I am having a terrible time of it with a UO-8 I'm trying to put together.

Nice to see you out and about!

Doohickie said...

Actually, I wrecked the Marathon over a year ago. This is a Raleigh Super Course, same age, same size, but the Super Course was higher up in the Raleigh lineup.

I changed several things in the drivetrain of the Super Course; I went to a 7-speed ramped freewheel, replaced the friction downtube shifters with Suntour Bar-Cons on the handlebars, and got Suntour Cyclone M-II derailleurs. You can see the bikes evolution here.

GreenComotion said...

That was a great tour, Paul! Given I don't know many places in Ft. Worth, I found it very valuable.

What better way to see the Forth Worth than on a bicycle / through a cyclist's eyes?

Paz :)

Christina said...

Thanks for sharing your trip around Fort Worth. I just started a photography class and was wondering how to get to that fish wall...or any other cool graffiti walls that you might know of?


amidnightrider said...

I can now cross Fort Worth off of my "Bucket List". Ironically, Samuel Clemens spent his summers in my home town.

This was a fun ride to take with you. You did good putting this together.