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.
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.