I Bike Richardson – Ken Cohen
It’s time for another installment of the I Bike Richardson series, where we put a face on Richardson cyclists. We’d like to introduce Ken Cohen. He took the time to answer a few questions about biking. Enjoy:
How long have you been riding?
I just started bicycling again in April of 2014. Prior to that, I hadn’t bicycled in 30 years.
How often do you ride?
I bicycle 3-4 times a week, weather permitting, usually in the morning. I’m looking for people to ride with during the week, in the morning.
What’s your favorite route?
I live near Campbell & Shiloh in Garland, very close to the edge of Richardson. Whenever possible, I try to ride only on “bike trails”.
Here’s my usual route. I take SpringPark Way to Sherrill Park Golf Course. I take the golf cart path that leads into the woods and goes up the hill to Lookout Park. At that point, I continue straight, getting onto Lookout Drive. I go a couple of hundred yards to Plano Road. Then right on Plano Road, down the hill. At the bottom of the hill, I take a U turn (right), and get on Spring Creek Trail that takes me under Plano Road and through Spring Creek Nature Area. Once I’m in the Nature Area I “hug right” whenever there is a fork in the road. I come out just this side of Central Expwy. I veer left, which will take me underneath Central Expwy and back up onto Renner Trail. I take Renner Trail to its end (Synergy Park Blvd) and then go left onto University Trail. At the top of the Hill (Floyd Road), the trail goes left. Then right on Campbell and the trail ends at Campbell and Coit, where I turn around. I go home the same way, with some exceptions. When I’m heading east on Renner Road, I stop at Alma Road (light). I go down Alma (North) for around ¼ mile, just about to George Bush Freeway, where I take a right onto Spring Creek Trail, which takes me back to the Spring Creek Nature Area entrance. I like this diversion for a change in scenery. I go left into the Nature Area. When I come to an open and curvy area where the light rail tracks are overhead, there is a circular wooden ramp which I take up to Routh Creek Parkway. At the end of the ramp, I go left on Routh Creek, then left on Glenville, and left on Lookout, which will take me to my path home. I like this diversion because it nicely avoids having to ride up the steep hill on Plano Road. I like this route because there’s lots of diverse scenery, some hills, but mostly flat areas. I usually see a lot of people in the Spring Creek Nature Area, which is nice.
My favorite “trail” is the Chisolm Trail in Plano. The starting point is on the north side of Colin Creek Mall and is 6 miles from my house. I take the same route to Central Expwy, going through Spring Creek Nature Area. Instead of veering left to go under Central Expwy, I veer right. This section of Spring Creek Trail will take me up to Alma Road, just south of George Bush Freeway. I follow the sidewalk (right) a short distance to Plano Parkway (southwest) corner of Colin Creek Mall. Warning—when crossing Plano Parkway, do not have your shoes clipped in because the sidewalk on the other side is extremely uneven and the space is tight. I continue north on Alma (sidewalk) and take the first entrance to the mall. At this point, I’m looking at a strip of stores that are outside the mall. I ride around them and get on the Colin Creek Mall Drive, the wide drive that goes around the mall. Riding around the mall is actually very pleasant. I rarely run into any cars on Colin Creek Mall Drive. I go around 1/3 of the way around the mall and take a left on Center Drive, which will take me to 15th Street. I cross 15th Street and go right a short distance. The entrance to the Chisolm Trail is on the left just before “On The Border”. I recommend that you take this “2nd entrance”. Chisolm Trail is around 5 ½ miles, each way. It follows a creek, Spring Creek, and is very nice, particularly when compared to trails that follow power lines. No major cross roads that you have to deal with. Here are my detailed notes on Chisolm Trail.
My Chisolm Trail notes…
Be alert for patches that are real muddy. Go around them. The underpass just after you go under Custer Road is the worst place for this mud problem. If there is a mud problem, they’ll probably have the gate down. You can easily ride around the area that is gated off.
When you take a sharp left for the Dog Park, you are now on Blue Bonnet Trail and you’ll be on Blue Bonnet for a short distance. It’s obvious because you’re obviously in the middle of a big path of power lines. You’ll be going around an athletic field and there will be a bridge on the right. Go over bridge. Notice that the trail is adjacent to Spring Creek (and not the power lines). You’ll now be on the west side of Spring Creek. When you started on the trail, you were on the east side of Spring Creek. You’ll see a bridge on your right that will cross over Spring Creek. Don’t take it. You’ll go a mile or two more until you hit Legacy, which is the end. Come back on this same trail (west side of the creek). I’ve tried coming back on the other side and lost the trail.
To prevent “losing the trail”, it’s best to start on the east side, then switch to the west side once you go past Blue Bonnet Trail.
Although the Chisolm Trail is my favorite trail, it’s not always my favorite route. If I’m short on time or if there are heavy “south to north” winds, I won’t take this route. I don’t like the idea of being 12 miles from home and having to ride home into heavy winds.
I have a 3rd route available to me, which I rarely use. At Lookout Park, I can go left onto Owens Trail, which runs into Duck Creek Trail and Glenville Trail. Owens Trail follows a power line and requires that you stop frequently at major cross streets and the crossings require you to wiggle through a maze in the center of the road. The maze appears to be there for the purpose of making sure people are super careful when crossing these busy streets. Owens Trail is my least favorite of the trails near me. Duck Creek Trail is very nice, with all the ducks and expanded riverbed, but it’s very short. Glenville Trail is nice in the small section that is between Duck Creek and Huffines Park, but the rest of it involves too much stopping at cross streets. I believe that Glenville Trail is only there for the purpose of providing a connecting bike path to Huffines Park. It does appear that Richardson is attempting to connect all its parks with trails.
Why do you cycle?
Exercise and fun.
What is your perspective on riding – in general or in Richardson?
I’m retired and I find it great being able to get out and see what the rest of human race is doing. It makes me feel more connected to the real world. I think that Richardson has done a fabulous job with all the bike trails. They’ve also done a great job in finding perfect streets that area quiet and ideal for “bike lanes”.
Tell us about your bikes.
I have 1 bike, a hybrid. I feel safer with the bigger tires. I like being more upright with the straight handle bars (easier on the upper back). I use clipless pedals/shoes.
We want to thank Ken, for sharing his perspective on Richardson cyling.
We’d also like to extend an invitation to any cyclist who lives and/or rides in Richardson to share their story as well. You can either answer the questions (above) or send in a story – along with some pics to bikefriendlyrichardson(at)gmail.com.