Life’s Two Wheel Simple Pleasures in Plano Texas
We wanted to explore some bike trails that we’d never ridden, so one afternoon we headed north to Plano, Texas. The Plano Bike Trail online maps are a bit confusing to say the least and there’s no visible signage on the actual trails. If not for Google maps and a GPS enabled phone we might still be there. That might not be a terrible thing in view of their trail system is extensive and you can pretty much travel most of the city by a series of connected trails.
From Dallas we took the Preston Ridge Trail and headed north to the Plano branch of the trail (Preston Ridge Trail South). The original plan called for these two trails to meet near the George Bush Turnpike but budget cuts and other considerations has left a mile or two gap between the trails.
Amazingly neither the Dallas nor the Plano trail has any signage at all where they come close to each other. No telling how many people ride one of these trails and then turn back, not knowing they are a mile or two from another major trail that acts as a gateway to another trail system.
Build it and they will come, unless you hide it from them…
The last time I spoke with someone from the Plano Park department they told me they currently have no plans to finish this connecting trail juncture. Oh well, enough belly aching, at least they have trails to ride. Stealth trails, but trails nonetheless…Once we found the beginning of the trail (thank you GPS enabled cell phone and Google maps) we continued north.
Most of the trail is situated along wide ONCOR greenbelts nestled between housing developments. For the most part the only time you see traffic is when you cross an arterial, so there is a lot of pleasant scenery.
As simple as it might sound, one of the coolest thing we saw was an actual trail intersection – where the Preston Ridge and Bluebonnet trails intersect (within Carpenter Park). This allows cyclists to travel north, south, east or west.
After consulting our trusty GPS again we headed east on the Bluebonnet Trail which runs through more ONCOR greenbelts and also another park or two. At Coit road they did a great job of extending the trail through the median so you don’t have to jump any curbs or other obstacles to cross the street.
The Bluebonnet Trails ends close to Spring Creek Parkway, near 75 where we took either lanes and sidewalks to wiggle our way under the freeway to Ave K where we headed south to Downtown Plano. Riding along Ave K is not my idea of casual cycling and had we known where we were going (or if signs were present) we would have taken the Chisholm Trail (South) to 15th and avoided the Ave K nonsense altogether. Once in downtown Plano the sidewalk tables at Urban Crust looked inviting so they won our foreign (Dallas) dollars.
Then it was off to the downtown Plano DART station which would take us back. A side note, the train station is adjacent to Haggard park which makes for a fun train ride destination with the kids on a lazy afternoon.
In spite of the wacky online maps and lack of signage (which pretty much sums up most all of North Texas), Plano has an extensive bike trail system that you can actually get around town quite nicely on. And tha fact that many run through or along city parks is an added plus. So bring your GPS or if you’re feeling adventurous you can pretend you’re Lewis and Clark and explore the trail system of Plano Texas.
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