Commuting In Dallas by Justin Husman
Like most of the bicycle bloggers out there, over the past couple of years I got back into bicycling and became just the biggest bike fool you have ever met. When my lovely wife was pregnant with our daughter Anna, we bought a house in old downtown Plano. The new house was just blocks from the train station, as was my office at the time, and I tried walking to the train but found it very unsatisfying. I looked around on Craigslist and found a 3 speed Dahon folding bike for a hundred bucks and my obsession was officially born. The old Dahon became my commuter bike and I rode it for about 6 months until I sold my old car to buy a new internal hub Dahon folder.
The new Dahon was awesome, and I continued to add to my stable as I rode more. First a mountain bike, then a vintage road bike, then a modern road bike, then a nicer vintage road bike, then the modern shifters went on the nice vintage bike…
This is an older picture of all my bikes – I still have all of them, though some are now set up differently.
My daughter is now two and a half years old, and I have ridden many a mile. She and I often load up the trailer and ride a couple of miles to a nearby park to play. As I have become a stronger cyclist I have wanted to try to ride all the way in to work. My office moved a little closer to my house, the city just opened up the Cottonwood Creek trail Esplanade, and it was a nice day today. So off I went on my singlespeed bicycle.
I generally ride around 30 miles on weekends when I get to ride, but that is on a regular geared bicycle. This morning’s trip is the first time I have attempted more than 5 miles with no gears, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The trip out of downtown Plano was old hat for me, as I generally ride to the George Bush train station to catch my train anyway. I did have to hop on North Plano Road for about half a block, and I did get buzzed by someone in a cream colored Lincoln SUV. I shook my fist at her and jumped on the trail that runs from Renner Road all the way to Arapaho station in Richardson. I will say that I wasted about 10 or 15 minutes on the trail riding a small loop that doesn’t connect with the main trail, but after passing the same tree stump 4 times I got out my iPhone and used Google Maps to figure out what was wrong.
I took the trail up to Campbell Road, crossed 75, and rode through my old neighborhood to reach Waterford Drive. Waterford took me all the way through Richardson to Spring Valley, and was the longest stretch of riding on the street I had to do this morning; I would say that I was able to make this ride using a good 70% or more bike paths. From Waterford I rode a very rough sidewalk up Spring Valley to Maham, and I picked up the new Cottonwood Creek trail Esplanade to take me through the High Five. While the Cottonwood trail is great, I do want to say that I am very disappointed in the signage. I rode Maham down to the service road and back until I found the entrance for the trail. Once I found it I hopped on, and man, it is impressive.
I rode the Cottonwood until it ended and rode a residential street that met up with Forest Lane. I will note that I saw a bike “salmon” riding down the same residential street, on the wrong side, with a baby carrier on the back of his bike. I certainly hope that he follows traffic laws when he has a kid in the seat. I just can’t understand why people ride into traffic.
When I hit Forest, it took me a few more minutes of consultation with Google maps to find my route, and I was off again. There is a very poorly maintained residential street that runs from Forest to Greenville and Royal. I took it all the way over and took a right on to Royal. I will admit that I was a little apprehensive about riding Royal on my bicycle, but everyone kept to their own lanes and left me mine, so it was not nearly as hair raising as I imagined it to be. Once I crested Royal I slipped onto a side street over to Meadow, crossed the 75, and made it to the office. Altogether I rode 25.2 miles in a couple of hours – but some of the time was spent on false trails and navigation, so I think now that I’ve ridden the route I bet I can do it in an hour and a half. It’s not a bad ride, and I only regretted my choice of my singlespeed once or twice. I had a great little adventure getting in to work today, I’m refreshed from the exercise, and I’m looking forward to Monday when I’ll be able to ride in again. How was your commute to work?
Although Justin and I first communicated through the web-site, it didn’t take us long to realize that he was the guy about one minutes behind me when I purchased my 1978 Fuji S12-S LTD. It had been listed on CL and was located at the Central Dallas Ministries thrift store at Washington and Live Oak in old East Dallas. Since that time, Justin and I have emailed back and forth, and his knowledge and input have really helped me in my restoration of the very same Fuji. It’s my first road-bike rebuild, and Chris and I plan to take Justin up on his offer to teach us a thing or two about installing cables. We plan to document that visit to Justin’s garage, and we have encouraged Justin to contribute to this site. Be sure to read his blog Seen on the Train