An eventful month for cyclists

This is a good time to mark your calendars for a series of bike-releated events coming up this month, locally and nationally.
May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists. The cycling advocacy organization also promotes Bike to Work Week, May 16-20, and Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20.
In Fort Worth, my hometown, a Bike to Work Day event has traditionally been organized by The T, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority. Joanne Heredia, a spokeswoman for The T, said the rendezvous point and route for this year’s Bike to Work Day is still being worked out but that it will most likely end at the Intermodal Transportation Center at the corner of Ninth and Jones streets on the eastern edge of downtown, where refreshments will be served. Joanne said details of the ride will be posted in a news release on The T’s website.
Another event of significance being observed in Fort Worth is the Ride of Silence, held on the third Wednesday of May around the world in memory of bicyclists killed in accidents with vehicles.
The local event on May 18 is being organized by fellow cyclist Scott Strom. Cyclists are asked to gather in Trinity Park at 7 p.m. for a slow-paced, silent ride of nearly nine miles along the Trinity River, through downtown to the Near South Side and back to the starting point in Trinity Park. A map of the route is posted on a Facebook page for the ride.
“Think of it as a funeral procession for our fellow riders who have lost their lives enjoying the sport we enjoy so much,” Scott wrote on the Facebook page. “The ride is to honor their memory and to raise awareness of the need to safely share the road.”
Riders are encouraged to wear armbands — red for those who have been injured or harassed by motorists and black for everyone else.

National Bike Month artwork by illustrator Carolyn Vibbert

The world’s first Ride of Silence was held right here in the Metroplex on May 21, 2003 — a ride around White Rock Lake in Dallas in memory of cyclist Larry Schwartz who was killed by an extended rearview mirror on a schoolbus on May 4, 2003. Schwartz’s funeral was on May 8, and one of his friends, Chris Phelan, conceived the idea of a commemorative ride.
E-mail communication and word of mouth attracted about 1,000 riders in what was expected to be a one-time event. But the idea went global. It will be observed this year in at least 16 countries and 46 states in the United States; Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota and Utah have yet to confirm rides this year.
And on the last Friday of every month, in Fort Worth and in cities around the country, groups of cyclists gather for Critical Mass rides to demonstrate that bicyclists have the same rights to use the streets as motorists. This month’s Critical Mass ride will be on May 27.
Fort Worth cyclists gather in Burnett Park downtown for the start of the monthly rides. For last month’s Critical Mass ride, on April 29, an estimated 75 cyclists turned out to ride about 15 miles through the Near South Side, the entertainment district along West Seventh Street and back to downtown.
Fort Worth, I’m proud to say, has taken great strides in accommodating cyclists. The city has long had an extensive, excellent network of bicycle trails, mostly along the Clear and West forks of the Trinity River. The City Council unanimously approved on Feb. 9, 2010, a “comprehensive bicycle transportation plan” and aims to “attain official designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community through the League of American Bicyclists” by 2015.
Called “Bike Fort Worth,” the plan also calls for expansion of the bike transportation network to nearly 1,000 miles, including off-street trails, dedicated on-street bike lanes and shared-roadway bike routes.



Filed under Americana, Cool stuff, Environment, History, Urban cycling

2 responses to “An eventful month for cyclists

  1. Jim, thanks for this post. Just bought my first bike and in my research ran across your fine blog. I live in FW, too, and as a new cyclist I appreciate the information you provide. Cyclists can be an intimidating lot from the outside view, but I am learning they are happy to help those of us just getting started.

    • Sue,
      Thanks for looking at my blog and for the kind words. I enjoyed reading your post on buying your first bike. I agree that some hard-core cyclists can be intimidating — and boring. By the way, if you live anywhere near Fort Worth’s Near South Side, you could choose from any number of weekly rides organized by local groups. I ride on Sunday mornings with a group of neighbors in Mistletoe Heights and on Wednesday evenings with the Night Riders, who meet at the Chat Room pub on Magnolia Avenue. There is a group called the Slow Spokes who ride on Tuesday evenings and meet at the T&P building on the southern edge of downtown. The Bicycle Betties are a local group who meet for their rides at the Avoca coffee shop on Magnolia, but I’m not sure of their ride schedule. The Night Riders, Slow Spokes, Bicycle Betties and Fort Worth Critical Mass all have pages on Facebook, and that’s how I keep track of who’s riding where and when. Happy trails.

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