BFR reader Sam, sent this in:
We need a whole lot more bike lids at our DART stations. I ride the train most days but there isn’t space on them for my bike and I don’t need it once I’m downtown. I’m sure there are others that would like to do the same thing but don’t want to risk the inevitable stolen/vandalized bike.
We’ve got four stations serving over 100,000 residents with a grand total of four bike lids. Ludicrous! Who do we bother at DART about this? If they won’t do it, will they let the city do it for them? We know who to bother there.
So how about it, folks? Do you have any ideas about who to talk to? How can we get this addressed? Post your ideas and answers here or on Facebook.
A couple of years ago, we opened up the BFR Suggestion Box. This is a place where the Richardson bike community can voice their opinions and suggestions for other Richardson cyclists. It’s been a while since our last posting, so I thought we should share another.
Fellow bike enthusiast, Nick F., sent us a great email sharing his innovative lighting solutions on a budget. He also asks what other folks do for lighting solutions during the darker days of winter. We thought it would be great to share it on the site:
Jenny’s cold-weather-clothing post got me thinking about another season-related topic: lighting, especially on these non-daylight-savings rides home in the dark.
Sure, most bike stores will sell you a nice 700 lumen kit for $300 and a blinky for another $30, but I’m thinking more about what’s possible in the $30 range (which is still exorbitant mounted on a $75 bike…)
So right now I’ve got a 4W 360 lumen LED stuck into a sawed off plastic flashlight housing and powered by a pack of 12 rechargeable AAs in the front, and a $2 blinky in the back. It works OK (which is to say I haven’t been hit by a car at night).
My favorite place to shop for cheap bike lights/parts: dealextreme.com. For $3 you get a rear blinky shipped to your door, (earth-hating) alkaline batteries included. Or ~$7 shipped for a 360 lumen LED.
I also like Altex Electronics in Addison because they will order you $1 plastic battery holders and not charge you for shipping them to their store.
As far as mounting equipment goes, sometimes the simplicity of a 100-pack of hose clamps for a couple of bucks from harbor freight gets the job done. Plus, harbor freight is conveniently located off of the duck creek biking trail. [Speaking of which, does anyone need ~90 hose clamps?]
But what I really like is re-using junk from around the house. This is where the real fun (and ghetto-fabulousness) comes in: I’ve found that the perfect source of mounting brackets is drilling/bendiing those little metal PCI slot fillers in the back of your old PC tower. I feel like Michelangelo drilling into those things.
Other re-usable bike light material: old flashlight cases that happen to fit newer LED bulbs, that mount from your old bike light that light fell off of, (and I’m *pretty* sure this is absolutely commonplace for everyone) the underwater pond light casing that the previous owner of your home left you.
So what other cheap suppliers, creative repurposing, or expensive-but-worth-it equipment has the BFR community been using to survive out on the roads in the dark?
Of course, our stance on the topic is that you need to get lights if you are riding after dark. Not only is it safer for you, but it’s the law (551.104b). If you’re not crafty like Nick, this could be a big investment – but well worth it.
We really appreciate comments, emails and suggestions from cyclists to share with other Richardson riders. Thanks, Nick, for providing us with some interesting and innovative solutions on a budget. We’d also like to ask anybody else who has an idea or suggestion, to please send it in to us. We’d love to post it.
We’re having a lot of fun with the Bike Friendly Richardson blog, and we’ve gotten a few good suggestions and comments along the way. One of our goals with BFR, especially this year, was to bring in more voices for Richardson bicycling. If you have something to say about biking in Richardson (or any of our neighboring towns), please feel free to write something up and send it our way. We’ll probably post it.
If you would like to participate more regularly, contact us through email or phone, and we’ll see about setting you up as a guest blogger.
We welcome any ideas, tips, suggestions, opinions and constructive criticism that are geared towards biking in Richardson. Please remember that as much as well love all aspects of bicycling, we’d like to concentrate our focus on increasing the ridership of the average commuter, and those wanting to ride for transportation and pleasure over sport.
I love living in Richardson. In my opinion, it’s the perfect suburban setup that’s nicely tucked between the urban culture of Dallas and vast comforts and conveniences of Plano. Five minutes in any direction will take you to a destination that suits your mood.
Although it’s a great city, Richardson isn’t perfect.
From a rider’s perspective, the one thing we truly lack is enough cool destinations. Sure, there are some great local businesses that give us places to go, but there’s nothing that cultivates a sense of community. We need a destination that’s sprinkled with a little bit of culture while giving us a reason to get out and enjoy our city. We need a local market – maybe a farmer’s market, maybe an artisan market OR maybe a bit of both. Bring us a fun place to gather and neighbors will come together to socialize.
Of course, you don’t need a structure or a whole lot of real estate to pull this off. One of the best examples that I’ve seen of a local market is on South Congress in Austin. The area is intermixed with local businesses, some artisan markets and several interesting food vendors. They all seem to flourish because of the benefit of being a great destination with a nice mix of things that interest everybody.
It would be great to position our market along one of the 4 DART Red Line stops to draw in some of our neighbors as well. Plus, we have such a strong, diverse culture of Asian, Mediterranean and Hispanic influences throughout our community. If you mix that with some farm fresh produce, great local artisans and a few unique food stands, we could have a market that’s unique to anything in the Metorplex.
Richardson is a great town to ride bicycles and it’s getting even better. Now, we need to give folks more reasons to get out and ride.
A few months ago, We opened up the BFR Suggestion Box. This is a place where the Richardson bike community can voice their opinions and suggestions about things they would like to happen in Richardson for cycling.
Fellow bike and community enthusiast, Brad M., forwarded to us a great email that he wrote to event organizers about his experience at the Cottonwood Art Festival. We thought it would be great to share it on the site:
We need Bicycle Parking… We have found it very difficult to find a space to lock the bikes up. Even in front of the pool there is not a bike rack that can be easily found. We end up locking to the chain link fence or a parking sign near the tennis courts every year.
My suggestion comes from an experience I have had attending the Austin City Limits Music Fest in Austin several times. They have a dedicated area near each entrance for bicycle parking. This is at a much larger scale, however could be incorporated into a smaller scale for Cottonwood (and Wildflower). This not only gives a safe, organized, and controlled area for bikes, but it also encourages bicycle use as other patrons walk by on the way in. A great place for a few temporary bike racks at Cottonwood would be just to the east or west of the park road where the police help cross at Beltline. There is plenty of room on the grass in between the last row of tents and the sidewalk along Belt Line. I believe this area should be well signed and promoted in the the festival literature to promote a sustainable way of travel to the fest as well as cut down on the neighborhood traffic. As people pass by in the traffic on Beltline they might be encouraged to go home and ride their bike back.
We think this is a great idea. We’ve always envisioned offering up some sort of bike valet service (like the SF Bike Coalition), but this solution is a much more obtainable goal.
Dave Carter with the City Of Richardson has mentioned to us that, for previous Wildflower events, they’ve pulled the city’s available racks and relocated them for event usage. He’s also mentioned to us via email: For the Wildflower Festival there are plenty of bicycle racks for parking bikes at the BCBS garage on the north side of Lookout Drive. Easy bike access from the Central Trail, Glenville Road and Routh Creek Parkway.
We hope to see more bike parking at more city events. Like Brad, we think having the racks available and fully visible will encourage more folks to ride their bikes to local events.
A few weeks ago, I opened up the BFR Suggestion Box. This is a place where the Richardson bike community can voice their opinions and suggestions about things they would like to happen in Richardson for cycling.
One of the first suggestions given to me on the Facebook group has been repeated on this blog and through email: We need traffic signals that detect bicycles. There’s nothing more annoying than pulling up to a sensor controlled light and sitting through several cycles and never getting a green to cross traffic.
Sean on Facebook wrote he would like:
1. Actuator loops with the hot spots out of cross traffic.
2. Mark hot spot so bicycles can trip lights.
My idea here is that the city update intersections as they work on them. This would take time to realize a complete bicycle friendly city but, would face less resistance as it would not require a big outlay of cash.
Bill on the same Facebook thread wrote:
I have been able to successfully trip that everytime using methods described (here on HumanTransport.org). I do wish that the city would mark where to put a bike on a sensor because sometimes it is hard to figure out when a street has been worked over several times.
I was a bit skeptical at first, but I decided to try this method of using the Inductive Loop Detectors on Richardson streets. My first few attempts didn’t seem very successful and I ended up having to get off the road to hit the pedestrian crossing button. After a while and some practice, I was able to effectively trip the sensor. Now, I’m no longer having to wait several cycles for a car to pull up behind me and activate the ILD.
Be patient. You still need to wait for a complete cycle before it’s your turn. But if you align your bike up right, it does work.
I agree that it would be nice to indicate on the road where to put your bike. I’m also hoping that with future events and group rides, we can pass on this information to other Richardson riders.
I’ve been getting quite a few good ideas on Facebook and through email (bikefriendlyrichardson at gmail dot com) about things we can do for bicycling and bicyclist in Richardson. There are also a few great links that were shared as well.
It’s my goal to get some of those things posted over here to share with everybody – so keep them coming.