Bike Friendly Richardson

Mosquito Spraying in West Richardson

Posted in City Stuff by jennyrilling on June 20, 2012

The City of Richardson sent out a notice today to let residents know they will be spraying for mosquitoes in the southwest portion of the city, from Melrose to Spring Valley and Coit to Central Expressway.

http://www.cor.net/index.aspx?page=73&recordid=282

I emailed Richardson Health Department Director Bill Alsup to get the details so that cyclists can detour if need be. He replied:

“We spray when the weather permits as the wind must be 10 mph or less and no precipitation. As of right now it looks like we will spray tonight as long as the wind behaves. Spraying begins approximately 10 p.m. and can continue for several hours but never extends past about 3 a.m. at the latest. Please note that our spray equipment has an in cab remote control and when we see people out, we can turn the sprayer off. Appreciate your input.”

-Jenny

How to Create a Bike to Work Day Event

Posted in Advocacy, Bicycle Events, Bike Friendly, City Stuff by jennyrilling on May 22, 2012

Now that Bike Friendly Richardson has successfully held our very first Bike To Work Day event, we’d like to share the steps we took to make it happen. One of the goals for this year’s event was that it could serve as a template and an inspiration to other  bicycling groups, cities, and organizations for next year and the years to come.

Bike Friendly Richardson is an all-volunteer group with no operating budget. So once we decided that we wanted to have breakfast for bike commuters, we knew that we would need financial sponsorship from another organization. BikeDFW was our main partner for this event. They provided a tent, chairs, tables, coolers, literature, and paid for coffee and pastries. BikeDFW was also instrumental in reaching out to DART and securing permission to use Arapaho Center Station as our venue, and getting Richardson Bike Mart’s participation in sending one of their mechanics to provide free bicycle tune-ups.

Once we had a venue, Richard contacted local stores and restaurants to see who could donate hot food and some more drinks. Whole Foods, Taco Republic, and The Egg And I all graciously agreed to be a part of the event. Dr. Pepper Snapple Group also donated bottled water and handed out Neuro Energy drinks. It was also a good opportunity for these businesses to get more recognition in the community and we were glad to be able to  work with them.

We also cooperated with the City of Richardson by notifying them of the event, and checking whether we needed to fill out any permit information. Additionally, the City’s Bicycle Coordinator, Dave Carter, provided us with maps of Richardson’s bicycle facilities to hand out at the event.

BikeDFW President, Marc Mumby, designed an event poster, which we posted on Facebook, blogs, and asked our sponsors to post in their shops and online. BikeDFW helped us coordinate volunteers to pick up the equipment and supplies, set up and run the booth, and take down the booth and return the equipment to BikeDFW.

Now that we have a relationship with some community partners, and have been through the steps involved, we have a better idea of how to put future events together.

With a Bike to Work Day event, it’s important to decide what your event is about, and plan accordingly. Some Bike To Work Day events, as our neighbor to the west, Steve A. noted, can seem to be more about cyclists than for cyclists, if the event schedule or location doesn’t reflect cyclists’ actual commuting habits.

We tried to make our event about appreciation of and support for commuters and aspiring commuters, so we scheduled the event from 7 AM to 9:30 AM. We probably could have even opened it up a little bit earlier. We also did our best to choose a location that was on multiple commuting routes. Arapaho Center Station is the busiest of Richardson’s four DART stations, is popular with multi-modal cyclists, and is also located next to the Central Trail. As well, it’s not uncommon to see folks cycling down Greenville early in the morning. By my unofficial count, we had about 30 cyclists stop at the booth. Some were on their regular route and a few made a detour for some hot breakfast and to talk shop. The bicycle tune-ups were utilized and definitely appreciated! Although we weren’t sure what to expect, we believe our first Bike To Work Day was a great success.

-Jenny Rilling

Richardson Bike To Work Day: Commuter Energizer Station

Posted in Advocacy, Bicycle Events, Bike Friendly, Partner by jennyrilling on May 7, 2012

May 18th is national Bike to Work Day, and Bike Friendly Richardson has teamed up with BikeDFW, DART, and Richardson Bike Mart to get you energized and show appreciation for your bike commute.

Leave the house a few minutes early on Friday, May 18th, and stop by our booth at Arapaho Center Station for free coffee and Taco Republic breakfast tacos, water from Whole Foods, commuting information, free bike tune-ups by an RBM mechanic, Neuro energy drinks,  AND, if you become a member of BikeDFW, we’ll hook you up with a sweet prize courtesy of Richardson Bike Mart. You can join BikeDFW at the event (cash or check), or join online and show us your PayPal receipt at the event. (Prizes available while supplies last.)

Ride to Cottonwood Art Festival

Posted in Bicycle Events, Cool Richardson Destinations by jennyrilling on May 4, 2012

Bike Parking at the Cottonwood Arts Festival

Join us this Saturday, May 5th, for a group ride to the Cottonwood Art Festival. Come see the work of over 240 artists and avoid the hassle of parking!

We will meet up at Taco Republic (760 S. Central Expressway )  at 4:00 PM so you can fuel up with one of their fabulous tacos, and ride out to Cottonwood Park at 4:30 PM. We’ll arrive at the Cottonwood Festival in time to see Brave Combo play.

Be sure to bring your helmet, lights, a lock, water bottle, and cash for the food stalls at the Art Festival!

2 Mile Radius

Posted in Advocacy, Uncategorized by jennyrilling on December 13, 2011

By Jenny Rilling

Richard’s post over at Suburban Assault of the League of American Bicyclists “Bicycling and Health” infographic reminded me to share a handy map radius tool that I sometimes use for work. As the infographic says, 70% of American’s car trips are under two miles. Many times, these 2 mile and under car trips could be replaced with biking.

Here is a picture of a circle with a 2 mile radius around my neighborhood of Highland Terrace:

Here’s a list of some destinations that fall within the circle:

  • Kroger
  • Convenience Store
  • Beer store
  • DART stations
  • Walgreens
  • Post Office
  • Branch of the bank I use
  • Target
  • Petco
  • Library, City Hall
  • Recreation center
  • Richland College
  • Starbucks, Cafe Brazil
  • Half Price Books
  • Several restaurants
  • Chinatown
  • Car repair places
  • Hardware stores & plant nurseries

Lots of good stuff there! Here’s a link to the map tool if you want to find out what areas are within 2 miles of your home or workplace:

http://maps.forum.nu/gm_sensitive_circle2.html

Winter is Coming, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cold

Posted in BFR Misc by jennyrilling on November 26, 2011

By Jenny Rilling

Y’all, I am that person who’s always cold, brings a sweater to the movies during the summer, and hates to feel cold. This can present a problem for biking during the winter months, even in Texas. Last year, I made it down to about 30 degrees by wearing a bulky parka, but on days the temps dipped below 30, I just couldn’t do it.

However, this year, my goal is to commute all winter, every day, to the greatest extent possible. I’d like to share my winter clothing strategy in case it’s helpful to anyone else.

Read more…

(more…)

Doing Errands by Bike

Posted in BFR Misc by jennyrilling on October 20, 2011

By Jenny Rilling

In addition to commuting by bike, this year I’ve been using my bike more for errands that would usually involve driving. It’s worked out so well that I even added large wire baskets to one of my bikes and made it my designated grocery bike.

So far, I’ve ridden my bike to go grocery shopping, get takeout, go to the bank, the drugstore, and to pick up food for our two dogs. I’m trying to use a bike instead of a car more often for trips of under 5 miles.  Besides the exercise benefits and reduced emissions gained from leaving the car at home, pedaling though neighborhoods and side streets is a lot more fun and feels like less of a chore than driving to accomplish the same errands.

Bike-thru banking - Like a boss.

Last weekend, my husband and I rode out to do some grocery shopping at Sprouts, which is on the other side of US 75 from where we live. We took the Central Trail to Campbell Rd. and crossed under the freeway at Campbell. There are conveniently placed curb cuts and signal request buttons that make it easy to cross on the south side of the intersection (Starbucks side). From the Starbucks / hotel parking lot, we hopped on Richardson Dr., then took Melrose Dr. to Mimosa and went north on Mimosa to Sprouts.

It was the Gluten-Free Jubilee...

The bikes wanted to take a break in a nearby park.

Between my baskets and James’ pannier, we were able to get a good amount of food.

There's some rice and lentils hiding under the clementines.

If you’re thinking of shopping by bike, I have a few recommendations:

A double-footed kickstand really helps keep your bike from falling over to one side and keeps it level and steady while you’re loading and  unloading. I love the Porteur Double Kickstand from Velo Orange, so much that I now have it on two of my bikes.

Load the bike as evenly as you can – if you have two panniers or two rear baskets, try to distribute the weight of your purchases evenly among them.

Invest in a cargo net and a couple of bungee cords for strapping things to a rack or covering the top of a basket.

A little more about those Near Term Action Items

Posted in Advocacy, Bike Trails and Routes, City Stuff by jennyrilling on September 23, 2011

Last week, the Richardson City Council didn’t really dicuss any particular item on the list of Near Term Action Items. However, it looks like this Monday, the Council will most likeley vote to adopt the list of action items they’ve been working to identify and rank.

Cycling is specifically mentioned under item L., Transportation and Mobility, as “Evaluate the expansion of the City’s bike lane system and enhancing pavement markings and signage”.

Some of the other items on the list are:
Community Vitality and Neighborhood Integrity
Environmental Management
Health Care Facilities and Community Wellness

To me, a vibrant and diverse cycling culture contributes to all three of the items above, in additon to Transportation and Mobility. Hopefully, the City Council and City staff agree. Every time that cyclists make a trip by bike instead of using a car, they cut down on emissions, get a healthy dose of excercise and fresh air, and provide another pair of eyes on the street in our neighborhoods. A win for cycling thus often provides a parallel win in another category.

We’ll continue to monitor the progress of the Near Term Action Items and provide updates as information becomes available.

Accommodating cyclists is a Near Term Action Item of the Richardson City Council

Posted in Advocacy, City Stuff by jennyrilling on September 17, 2011

I’m signed up for the Week In Review email sent out by the city of Richardson every Friday. From the September 16th email:
“City Council Discusses Near Term Action Items
The Richardson City Council continued discussion on its 2011-2013 Near Term Action Items at its meeting Monday night. The Council reviewed the latest revisions and suggested several changes, additions and deletions. Among the top items proposed are: a charter review to evaluate the selection of Mayor, finding ways to make Richardson more accommodating to bicyclists, and enhancing signage and making other improvements to make City Hall more customer friendly.
The Near Term Action Items have been discussed at previous meetings and are on the agenda for next Monday’s work session. The Council hopes to officially approve them at the September 26 Council meeting.”

If you have any ideas to share with the Council about how to continue to accommodate and attract cyclists, the city’s website says that:

“The City Council holds business meetings on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers. Work sessions are held every Monday at 6:00 p.m. Citizens are welcome to attend Council meetings and may speak during the visitor’s section. Citizens also may attend work sessions and speak to the Council during the visitor’s section (promptly at 6 p.m.) on weeks when there is not a business meeting at 7:30 p.m.”

Alternatively, you can write a letter to the City Council. Letters and speeches regarding Council agenda items become part of the public record and may be accessed on the City’s website as part of the agenda packet posted after each Council meeting or work session.

Personally, I feel that the City of Richardson has been very proactive and responsive in terms of understanding our needs and implementing MUP trails and bike lanes. Two of the essential items for making cyclists feel welcome are safe routes to get where they’re going, and a secure place to lock a bike up when they get there. The City seems very aware of and responsive to the first item. Towards the second item, it would be great if the City could offer incentives or partner with local businesses to offer more secure bicycle parking options. It would make it a lot easier for cyclists to do more errands, dining out, commuting to work, etc. by bike if there were more secure parking facilities for our bikes.  Those are my 2 cents – please feel free to post your ideas in the comments and let the City Council know.