Buried House, Nasher XChange, Entry Five of Ten

Previously in the Nasher XChange series:

  1. Flock in Space, Nasher XChange, Entry One of Ten
  2. X , Nasher XChange, Entry Two of Ten
  3. Fountainhead , Nasher XChange, Entry Three of Ten
  4. Moore to the Point, Nasher XChange, Entry Four of Ten

Lara Almarcegui
Buried House
2226 Exeter Ave.
Oak Cliff Gardens

I began to feel old, out of shape, and drained as I worked my way north from Paul Quinn College to the third and final Nasher XChange exhibition on my bike ride through South Dallas. It was only a 12.5 mile ride – but these were tough miles. The last half of the route was hilly, the road was rough, and I had to stop every block, fighting my way through the traffic.

But once I rode up to Lara Almarcegui’s Buried House, I realized that here, more than any of the other sites, really begged to be seen by bicycle. I simply can’t imagine what it would be like to drive up to the now-vacant lot in an SUV, step out for a minute or two, then pile back in and drive home. It wouldn’t be the same… you would miss the point.

The work is meaningless without experiencing the surrounding neighborhood.

It is a tough part of town. The streets and sidewalks are in bad repair, cracked and heaving. Trash pickup is spotty at best. The modest homes are a varied melange – a torn up shack here, a burned hulk there, but there are also well-cared, decorated homes that are obviously a great source of pride to an unassuming owner.

And there were plenty of other vacant lots – most littered with junk and sprinkled with empty bottles.

You don’t see the details from a car… but you do from a tired, slow-moving bicycle.

Ironically, this is the second blog entry this February where I found myself taking a photo of a vacant lot. The other one, Arcady, was in the most tony enclave of Highland Park. That neighborhood is the polar opposite of the rugged Oak Cliff Gardens district where Buried House is located.

Destruction, renewal, the inevitable ultimate victory of chaos and entropy… rich and poor, our fate is already written.

After I left the site I had a a short ride on neighborhood streets until I reached the DART Kiest Station and after a short wait, caught the Blue Line downtown, where I switched to the Red line to Richardson and home.

Lara Almarcegui Buried House

Lara Almarcegui
Buried House

From the Nasher Website:

Buried House
2226 Exeter Ave.
Oak Cliff Gardens

The buried remains of a house offer an opportunity for reflection on the transition
and rebirth of one of Dallas’s oldest neighborhoods: Oak Cliff Gardens.
Almarcegui’s project for Nasher XChange, entitled Buried House, involves working with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity on a house in Southeast Dallas already slated for demolition. After the demolition is finished, the artist will bury the house’s remains on the property, creating a sort of memorial site that nonetheless retains the building’s actual substance and provides a “free space” for reflection on the neighborhood’s past, present and future.

Almarcegui is working in Oak Cliff Gardens, a neighborhood in East Oak Cliff, with a history almost as old as Dallas itself. Near the site of the first stop for stagecoaches headed out of Dallas for Central Texas, the area surrounding the intersection at Lancaster and Ann Arbor roads became the small town of Lisbon, which was in turn annexed by the city in 1929.

Today, Oak Cliff Gardens is a neighborhood in transition. Many derelict, often vacant, homes will undergo renovations, thanks to the help of organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. These “wastelands” in the neighborhood embody a significant historical moment of possibility when anything might happen. Almarcegui hopes to draw attention to this area and make people in Dallas aware of its rich and varied character, before it is changed forever.

From Google Maps Streetview - what the house looked like before the demolition.

From Google Maps Streetview – what the house looked like before the demolition.

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Lara Almarcegui Buried House

Lara Almarcegui
Buried House

Label Text:

Lara Almarcegui
Buried House, 2013
Demolished and buried house

Born in Spain and based in The Netherlands, Lara Almarcegui brings attention to places most people pass without noticing, such as derelict, abandoned buildings and seemingly vacant plots of land.
Working in environments and places in the midst of transformation, Almarcegui researches and documents them, developing unconventional and creative ways of drawing attention to them. As her contribution to Nasher XChange, Almarceguui has worked with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity to locate a house already slated for demolition. After the demolition, she buried the house’s remains on the property. As the artist has explained, “This project is a sculptural work that is about the construction that used to stand, the history of the house and how it was erected. However it’s not just about the house, but about the past of the terrain and the future of the terrain. It is a work about construction and urban development.”

Large Selection of Wines

“I drank for some time, three or four days. I couldn’t get myself to read the want ads. The thought of sitting in front of a man behind a desk and telling him that I wanted a job, that I was qualified for a job, was too much for me. Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat. ”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

Ever since I went on the Dallas Contemporary bike tour of murals I have been paying attention to where more of these are. There are a lot more than you would think.

Today, I walked past another work by the local street artists, Sour Grapes. This one was on the side of a liquor store in Oak Cliff, near Bishop Arts – at 501 W. Davis.

Street Mural by Sour Grapes, Oak Cliff, Texas (click to enlarge)

Street Mural by Sour Grapes, Oak Cliff, Texas
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“Baby,” I said, “I’m a genius but nobody knows it but me.”

She looked down at me. “Get up off the floor you damn fool and get me a drink.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

Dallas Tweed Ride

Today was an event I was looking forward to, the Dallas 2013 Tweed Ride.

I had what was, I guess, the bare minimum – a tweed jacket from Goodwill and a tweed cap a friend had found on Amazon. So I was ready, if only minimally so.

The ride was originally scheduled for a week ago, but had to be postponed because of the ice storm. The weather was impossible that day, but it was pretty cold today – low forties, overcast, foggy, with a wicked north wind screaming in like a wave of icy razor blades. The last tweed ride – two years ago – was on a preternaturally warm day and had a huge turnout. Today looked like the opposite. I had to think hard about whether I wanted to go. It was nasty outside and the house was warm. I had plenty to do at home.

I futzed and dutzed and prepared as best I could. I decided to ride my commuter bike, and strap on as much crap as I thought I needed onto it. One pannier was packed with my camera and tripod and the other one I filled with two vacuum bottles of hot coffee. I also filled a small flask with some rum, just in case.

Though it wasn’t authentic, I wore a modern thermal vest under my jacket – hoping to keep my core warm.

And I set out to ride my bike to the DART station. As I turned north into the wind, at the end of my block, I decided to turn around and go home. I was out of breath – since the ice storm I’ve been hanging around and am not used to riding… I felt ridiculous in my silly getup. But most of all, the cutting cold wind made riding simply too miserable.

But then I thought about how decisions about giving up go down. The problem is; the pain, the uncomfortable cold, and the icy wind are all too obvious negatives… while the positives of actually braving the elements were out there in the uncertain future, and not for sure. How do you judge the merit of something that you don’t actually do? If you give in to the immediately uncomfortable and reject the possible future… you won’t get out of bed in the morning.

So I sucked it up and pedaled on. As I rode toward the train station, I noticed the clouds breaking up to the north and by the time I reached it the sun was actually breaking through the clouds, and the vicious wind began to break. I bought my pass and the transit gods sent a train in at the exact second I arrived on the platform (that is rare – I’m usually cursed and get to see my train leaving as I pull up – and have to wait).

The ride started by the Grassy Knoll at Dealey Plaza in Downtown Dallas, behind the famous wooden fence. I had thought that the interest in the assassination site would die down after the recent fiftieth anniversary, but there was a huge crowd of tourists wandering around… looking askance at the small crowd of people wearing odd clothing, standing around with a motley collection of bicycles, and shivering.

The crowd wasn’t huge – the cold and the postponement had taken its toll – but there was enough. We set out and rode through downtown, looping past Klyde Warren Park for photographs, and then down Main Street – past the Dallas Eye – and across the Jefferson Viaduct Cycletrack into Oak Cliff.

About two weeks ago, some folks and I had spent a few hours sweeping the track clean. Unfortunately, the ice storm had forced the city to sand the bridge heavily and the traffic had pushed a lot of sand and rock into the bicycle lanes – making our work worthless and the track difficult and dangerous. I took my time crossing – I didn’t want to ride fast through that slippery gravel, but the sun was still out and the view was really nice.

We rode into Oak Cliff, through Bishop Arts and on to the Turner House, where there were refreshments and photographs. We couldn’t stay too long – it was a long way from home, so I rode back across the river and caught the train downtown.

The temperature dropped after the sun went down and the ride home from the station was very cold… but bearable.

Tweed is warmer than you think.

The Tweed Ride posing in Klyde Warren Park

The Tweed Ride posing in Klyde Warren Park
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Dallas Observer Article and Photos of the ride

Charming Portraits of People With Their Bicycles at the Dallas Tweed Ride

Sweeping the Cycletrack

There are a lot of cycling events in Dallas, this time of year… even though the weather is extremely iffy. It can be freezing, wet, windy, or even hot – but at least it won’t be toxic, like the days of summer.

There were three things bicycle-wise I wanted to do on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but I didn’t commit to them (in this day and age, lack of commitment is a “maybe” on a facebook event) because my son Lee was in for the holidays from New Orleans (my other son was in New York with some friends) and I wanted to be free to spend some time with him.

What was I thinking? He has better things to do than to hang out with me.

The first event was an eleven o’clock sweeping at the cycletrack that runs over the Jefferson Street Viaduct.

In its never ending quest to climb out of the basement of the worst city for cycling in the US – one thing that Dallas did was establish a two-way cycle track across the Trinity River on the Jefferson Street bridge. I think it is semi-temporary and the route will move to the Houston Street bridge once the trolley route has been constructed there – but that will be years into the future.

The route is a lot of fun – one of my favorite rides in the city. When you think of cycling infrastructure that is used for transportation rather than recreation you begin to think in terms of “choke points” – place where you can’t cross easily or safely on a bicycle. Classic choke points are highways, rail lines, and rivers. A huge one in Dallas is the Trinity River and its river bottoms – it divides the metroplex in half and makes it impossible to commute the short distance downtown from Oak Cliff. Routes are opening up – such as the Santa Fe Trestle crossing, but they suffer from lack of connections on each end.

The Jefferson Viaduct Cycletrack was a godsend. It runs right from the heart of Oak Cliff into the center of downtown and is a great commuting route with a killer view from the top of the bridge.

View from the high point of the Jefferson Viaduct Cycletrack, Trinity River, Dallas, Texas

View from the high point of the Jefferson Viaduct Cycletrack, Trinity River, Dallas, Texas

Bicycle Lanes on the Jefferson Viaduct from Oak Cliff into downtown, Dallas.

Bicycle Lanes on the Jefferson Viaduct from Oak Cliff into downtown, Dallas.

The problem was that the city didn’t do a very good job of cleaning the track and it has been collecting a lot of junk, rocks, and dirt… and especially that bane of delicate bicycle tires, broken glass.

So on Saturday, local bicyclists banded together and a group was organized to sweep the entire mile and a half length. I wanted to go but didn’t realize until the last minute that I was able to work it into my schedule. I loaded up my car, dug out an old push broom from the garage and drove out. I have been trying to reduce the amount of driving I do (and have been more successful than I imagined) but today the timing was too tight so I cheated and drove. I parked in the old semi-abandoned parking garage (the place where I took the photos of Reunion Arena with fireworks after the Omni Hotel light show), walked out, and started sweeping.

Working in several crews spread out we swept the whole length in a little over an hour and a half. It was surprisingly fun, though my back reminded me of it the next day.

Sweeping on the Jefferson Street Cycletrack, Dallas, Texas

Sweeping on the Jefferson Street Cycletrack, Dallas, Texas

Sweeping on the Jefferson Street Cycletrack, Dallas, Texas

Sweeping on the Jefferson Street Cycletrack, Dallas, Texas

Sweeping in the other direction, towards Oak Cliff

Sweeping in the other direction, towards Oak Cliff

Bicycle Brewery Tour

“Good people drink good beer.”
—-Hunter S Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Back in February I went on a bike ride organized by Bike Friendly Oak Cliff that went from Klyde Warren Park to a couple of local breweries. It was a blast and a lot of fun and I was really looking forward to the second edition which was scheduled for last Saturday. This one, The Craft and Growler Bicycle Brewery Tour was more ambitious – five scheduled stops across the city.

I had a few doubts when I woke up Saturday morning. After my nighttime ride the night before to the video production on the Omni Hotel and the fireworks on Reunion Tower a powerful cold front had blown through North Texas. There was rain predicted and a cold spitting wind was cutting across the land. Still, I didn’t want to wimp out so I packed my rain gear onto my commuter bike and set out.

“right’ i said. ‘but first, we need the car. and after that, the cocaine. and then the tape recorder, for special music, and some acapulco shirts.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

I have been enjoying the idea of riding completely carless – leaving my garage on my bicycle alone. Since the city is too large for my weak biking skills and so much interesting riding is in distant neighborhoods I utilize the DART train. The Arapaho Station is two miles from my house – which is a nice test ride… if my bike is having mechanical problems I’ll know it before I get too far from home.

The last few rides I have made the mistake of being a minute late – seeing the train pull out as I’m buying my ticket. One minute tardy turns into twenty minutes late as I have to wait for the next train. I didn’t want this to happen again so I rode hard into the wind and caught the early train. Because of this, I arrived at Main Street Garden Park an hour ahead of time… I was the first one there.

For a few minutes I wondered if nobody would show… it was cold, windy and sprinkling. But soon enough, some folks I knew came riding up and then, more and more. By the starting time there were… I would guess close to a hundred riders.

“Turn the goddam music up! My heart feels like an alligator!”
― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

At Main Street Garden Park

At Main Street Garden Park

At Main Street Garden Park

At Main Street Garden Park

At Main Street Garden Park

At Main Street Garden Park

We set out on the familiar route down Main through Deep Ellum then along Exhibition to the Fair Park area and Craft and Growler.

If you don’t know, a growler is a container – usually glass – that holds fresh keg beer. It’s a great way to buy local brews. Craft and Growler (I’ll write an entry on this place soon – it deserves its own) has thirty taps with mostly local brews – specially adapted for growler filling, though they will also sell you a glass or a flight of samples. It’s a great place.

I have bought a stainless steel vacuum growler – especially for bicycling. It will keep liquid cold (or hot) for a day or so and is nice and strong. I have already used it to carry ice water for bike rides on hot days. I found an old bag that used to carry an ancient Colorado Tape Backup (250 Megabytes!) and hooked it up like a pannier – the growler and two plastic glasses fit inside perfectly. At Craft and Growler I bought a glass and a growler full of The Chosen One toasted Coconut Ale from 903 Brewers in Sherman… and the day was on.

“We can’t stop here, this is bat country!”
― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Bicycles outside Craft and Growler, Fair Park, Dallas, Texas

Bicycles outside Craft and Growler, Fair Park, Dallas, Texas

After a lot of fun at Craft and Growler, everyone piled back on their bikes and rode the short distance to the Deep Ellum Brewing Company. They were having their Saturday tour, which is always a blast. I had forgotten how good their Double Brown Stout was.

There are so many things in life – things that you are really looking forward to with great, anxious expectation. It always turns out to be a disappointment. Nothing is ever as good as you think it is going to be. Except good craft beer.

It is even better.

“Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives… and to the “good life”, whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman

Live Music at Deep Ellum Brewing Company

Live Music at Deep Ellum Brewing Company

The crowd at Deep Ellum Brewing Company, Dallas, Texas

The crowd at Deep Ellum Brewing Company, Dallas, Texas

“The highways are crowded with people who drive as if their sole purpose in getting behind the wheel is to avenge every wrong done them by man, beast or fate. The only thing that keeps them in line is their fear of death, jail and lawsuits.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, Hell’s Angels

Then, it was decided that it would be a good idea for everyone to get something to eat, so we rode to Klyde Warren park and the food trucks there. After food, we kept riding on down to the design district and Community Beer Company.

Tour at Community Beer Company

Tour at Community Beer Company

The tour there was interesting. One of their big fermentation vats was going strong – a vent hose ran into a drum of liquid which was bubbling and foaming like crazy. The power of yeast…. Community has a Mosaic IPA – one of the best of the local IPAs. It was recommended to me by a Community brewmaster at the Alamo Draft House movie party, and he wasn’t wrong.

It was time to move on and the brave souls that were still going rode off across the Trinity River on the Commerce Street Bridge to Four Corners Brewery in West Dallas.

“I was not proud of what I had learned but I never doubted that it was worth knowing.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary

My commuter bike outside Four Corners Brewery

My commuter bike outside Four Corners Brewery

Outside Four Corners Brewery

Outside Four Corners Brewery

Leaving Four Corners Brewery, with downtown Dallas, and the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge in the background.

Leaving Four Corners Brewery, with downtown Dallas, and the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge in the background.

I love their branding, which is based on the Loteria, the Mexican Bingo Game. I had a Red’s Roja… and it was good.

“We must ride this strange torpedo out until the end.”
—-Hunter S Thompson

By now it was getting late in the day, but we had been lucky with the weather. Cold and windy, but nothing other than sprinkles. A lot of folks had given up and I was getting tired, but I wanted to get to the sixth, and last, stop. It was a vacant storefront a block down from the Texas Theater on Jefferson Street. It will be a small brewpub – to be called The Small Brewpub. I’m really enthusiastic about the renaissance of Oak Cliff – the most beautiful and interesting part of the city – and wanted to support a new business in this area.

Small Brewpub, Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas

Small Brewpub, Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas

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Looking forward to an opening. I’ll keep y’all informed.

“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.”
—-Hunter S Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

People that go on bike rides like this are a very diverse bunch… but everybody gets along. The nice thing is that everyone has something in common – bicycles and, today, beer. It makes it easy to talk to complete strangers like they were your best friends. By the end of this ride, of course, all the folk were especially friendly, relaxed, and in a good mood. Five brewery stops will do that.

“Jesus! Did I SAY that? Or just think it? Was I talking? Did they hear me? I glanced over at my attorney, but he seemed oblivious…”
― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Now it was time to go home. The sun was setting and, finally, the storm blew in and the skies opened up.

I have always wanted a Gore-Tex rain jacket but can’t afford one. One day last winter, though, I found a nice Eddie Bauer Gore-Tex shell at Goodwill for six dollars. It had a hole burned in the front – it must have been a real outdoorsman because the hole was right where you hold your campfire-heated Sierra Cup – and we sewed a patch over the spot. It looks like hell – but I guarantee that Gore-Tex stuff is a lifesaver when you have to ride a bike across Dallas in the dark, in cold and pouring rain. It’s amazing how it can be wet on the outside, yet dry and toasty on the inside even when you are sweating up a steep hill.

A month ago, I was able to figure out how to install a set of fenders on my new commuter bike. I was glad about that – it protected me from water thrown up from the street. Sure, I was wet from the rain – but there is a big difference between the water that comes down from the sky and the water that comes up from below.

We rode across the Jefferson Street Viaduct. Screaming down the steep back side in the storm was a surreal, fun, and slightly scary adventure. I turned off at the Union Station and caught the DART train back to Richardson.

I had the car to myself as the train worked its way through downtown. I felt ridiculous – an old fat man, soaking wet, sitting there at night holding a bicycle which I hung from one of the bike hooks in the roof of the car. I am, after all, the least cool person on the planet. The car was quiet and empty, until we reached the Arts District Station, where a huge crowd going home from the Texas State Fair was waiting.

I sat watching them fighting through the doors of the train like a crowd of desperate, rabid lemmings afraid the sea will dry up before they get to the cliff edge. I will never forget the near-panicked looks in their eyes. It’s a commuter train! Chill! You’ll get home!

An extended family crowded in around me, the mother shared my bench (I would have given up my seat, but I was sort of trapped back there between the crowd and my hanging bike). We talked about the fair and about my bicycle. I don’t want to be too critical – they were very nice people and I have no reason to criticize them. …but they had bought six VitaMix machines. They piled the big cardboard cases carrying the powerful blenders in the aisle. A low end VitaMix costs what? About four hundred dollars? They had at least two and a half thousand dollars of kitchen equipment on that train.

They complimented me on my bike riding and said, “That’s why we bought the VitaMix machines – to try and get healthy.”

So I felt a little better about myself – there are places in life more ridiculous than mine.

I was able to fight my way off the train at Arapaho Station, zipped my jacket tight, turned my lights on, and rode the last two miles through heavy rain in the pitch dark night. It was magnificent.

It was about eleven thirty when I made it home. I had been out riding the train, my bike, and sampling beer for thirteen and a half hours.

A good day.

“Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Gator or Snake?

Last year, this woman was riding in the Bishop Arts District Mardi Gras Parade with a (small) alligator:

Instead of beads, this woman wanted to throw live alligators.

Instead of beads, this woman wanted to throw live alligators.

and this year, she was back. This time with a giant snake (I believe it is a reticulated python – but I could be wrong).

Luckily, she didn't throw anything.

Luckily, she didn’t throw anything.

Don’t worry… she was riding on the Dallas Zoo float… so I guess she knows what she is doing.

Brewery Ride

I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
I’m drunk and dirty don’t ya know, and I’m still, willin’
Out on the road late at night, Seen my pretty Alice in every head light
Alice, Dallas Alice
—- Willin’ – by Lowell George

There was an event scheduled this Sunday that I had been really looking forward to. It was a bike ride, organized by the good folks at Bike Friendly Oak Cliff that started at the Klyde Warren Park in Downtown Dallas and went to tastings at a couple of local breweries, ending up at The Foundry/Chicken Scratch in West Dallas.

These local craft microbreweries are cropping up all over town. Dallas may be a bit behind the curve, but when it does something, it does it seriously. The Brewery Tours are very popular – you go to the place, pay a small fee, get a glass, sample beer. There is often live music, and there are always a bunch of cool people. I’ve been to Deep Ellum Brewery for their tours a few times… but this was the first one on a bicycle… with a bunch of people.

The day promised to be one of those preternaturally warm Texas Winter Weekend Afternoons – whick was perfect. My plan was to ride downtown to the park, twenty five miles or so, and then pick up the folks there. I futzed around a bit and left later than I intended, plus there was a strong wind from the south and I realized I would have to pedal hard to get there on time.

As my route passed near the Spring Valley DART station, I decided that I wanted to have fun today and riding against a deadline is not what I wanted so I hopped on the train downtown. I waited on the platform on the little rise in the pavement – knowing that was where the doors to the center car would open. These cars are tall and open – few seats – designed for wheelchairs, strollers, and bicycles. There are two hooks for hanging bikes – it works pretty well.

When the train pulled in and the doors opened I saw the car was packed. There were a half-dozen bicycles (and three strollers) jammed in there. Everybody shoved back as far as they could and I squeezed in for the ride downtown.

The crowd of bicyclists grew at Klyde Warren park until it was time for everyone to haul out down Harwood street. I’m estimating about a hundred and fifty riders packed past the Art Museum and down Ross to the West End, then turning north through Victory and under I35 into the design district.

Riding along Harwood – The Nasher on the left, Dallas Museum of Art on the right

Everybody stacked their bikes up and went into the first brewery, Community Beer Company. A big, shiny new facility, it has only been open a few weeks. They were sampling a couple of beers – a Vienna Lager and a Pale Ale. Both were very good – the ale had more bite, the lager was very smooth. We milled around, talked beer, talked bikes, talked routes (especially how to get home). The Community folks were really nice, their facility looked great, and I hope they have a long and successful run in the city.

Another brewery to go, we saddled up and headed across the Trinity River on the old Continental Viaduct next to the Calatrava Bridge. The Continental span is supposed to be redone as a park – hopefully with a good bike/pedestrian path (there is a lot of controversy on this – the Trinity remains a tough cross on a bicycle).

It is a blast to ride in the city in a group of over a hundred bicycles. Scouts shoot ahead and temper the traffic at intersections so the pack can go through. It might anger a driver or two – but we were moving quickly on streets that don’t get much use on a Sunday and the cars didn’t have to wait long.

The views of a city are so cool on a bike. I still haven’t worked out a way to take pictures while riding – especially in a pack like this (it’s easy riding, but you have to pay close attention to the bikes all around you). That’s just as well, it helps me enjoy my day.

Over the river and down into West Dallas. This is a part of town that nobody dared venture into a few years ago – now it’s hip and rapidly coming into its own from The Belmont to Bishop Arts and beyond. Right at the end of the Calatrava span sits Four Corners Brewing – another craft brewery that offers tours, live music, and food trucks. They’ve been around a bit longer and offer a big selection and cool graphics. A fun place.

I had a dark porter and a red ale – both excellent.

It was cool to look around at all the bikes. There were so many different kinds of pedalled transport – from expensive carbon fiber road bikes to fixies to a Brompton folder. Most common was probably beat up old mountain bikes converted into tough urban commuters – which is exactly what I building up at home. My ancient Raleigh Technium “vintage” (there is a thin line between vintage and old/cheap/poor) bike worked great, but the roads are a bit rough in a few places (when I made it home I discovered I had broken a spoke).

After an hour or so at Four Corners everybody split up. Most folks headed back over the bridge to Fair Park and a final stop a Craft and Growler and on home – but Candy was waiting at The Foundry/Chicken Scratch, where the riders from Oak Cliff were mostly headed to get something to eat.

The jam session group that plays on Sunday were at The Foundry, so we were able to get something to eat and listen to some music before packing my bike in the trunk for the drive home.

All in all, a pretty good day.

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Outside Community Beer Company… a lot of bikes.

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Pouring beer at Community

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Arriving at the Community Beer Company, with the Dallas Skyline in the background

An Article about the ride – Craft beer scene spawns bike and bus brewery tours in North Texas