Wednesday, May 23, 2012

White Rock Lake- The beginings of something good in Dallas.

White Rock Lake Trail
And why Dallas isn't far behind progess.

Today I read a disconcerting article about the City of Dallas. This article placed Dallas in the bottom of the least bike friendly cities in the United States. The perception of Texans from outsiders is that they are a backwards people. They love their guns, ten gallon hats,  SUV's, and their giant steaks. That Texas has 5 of the most obese cities in the United States, so the assumption is that Texans like being fat, and they don't like their cyclists. Even though this couldn't be farther from the truth, the current city council of Dallas is fighting hard to maintain that stereotype. They have all but shelved a recent Bike Plan which would have revolutionized the landscape of Dallas, offering people the same bike transportation alternatives as Portland.  The obstacles they say are financial, yet money is always found to finance the behemoth highways and toll roads which in the long run hurt the small communities that they carve through.  Even though the city approved hundreds of millions of dollars for the Margaret Hill Hunt bridge, there are no bike lane implementations and the money seems to disappear altogether when the word "cycling" is mentioned.

There is a silver lining to all this negative portrayal. Dallas does has an bicycle infrastructure set in place, dormant and waiting to be activated. The place in Dallas where all current trails connect is White Rock Lake. The Lake connects with the Santa Fe, Cottonwood, and White Rock Trail system. It is also a very beautiful recreational trail connecting Dallas and it has the potential to be much more.

Here is a map of a similar route that I took through White Rock Lake today

Find more Bike Ride in Dallas, TX

Along side the trail you will find businesses that cater to the needs of cyclists. Dallas Bike Works off of Lawther road is a great place to stop for a flat, a light or even a new bicycle.  The Bicycle Cafe of Dallas is a match made in heaven for cyclists and coffee lovers alike. Let's take a photo tour of some of the highlights of today's ride around White Rock Lake.

Feeling tired on your bike ride? Stop by Bicycle Cafe for your daily dose of coffee boost to keep you going.

You can stop along the trail and relax on a dock alongside the lake

Sail boating and kayaking are popular activities to do out here as well.

A family spends the evening hours together feeding the ducks

Goose Crossing: You can see some fearless geese crossing the road around this time of day.
Dallas, for the most part, is a beautiful place to ride a bike. Unfortunately it has received a negative reputation due to the less progressive thinkers that are calling the shots. Dallas can continue to shine as it redevelops it's Downtown by including bicycle lane development on it's tab. There is currently a development boom and revitalization effort going on right now in the city of Dallas. Taking Dallas out of the Dark Ages can be as easy or as impossible as people make it to be. The challenges facing Dallas are nothing more than removing the belief that it has to be shortsighted and unfriendly to those who are seeking a better quality of life within it's boarders. As we turn the page into a new decade, let's see if the coming generation can finally bring some much needed changes to make Dallas even more wonderful than it already is.  This is what Dallas wants, this is what I personally hope that it gets.


  1. Although I do like biking, Ive had a bad experience with bikers sharing the road, I was hit and my car totateled when a car tried to evade hitting a biker who was holding up traffic, because he could not go the speed limit. therefore i believe that cycling should stay on the designated bike routes and not the streets.

    1. You are blaming a cyclist for your car getting totaled because another driver hit you? Are you kidding me? And you're lumping all "bikers sharing the road' as the cause for your woes? Unfortunately, this attitude is shared by too many people. "We are not able to drive our cars in the manner of which we want to because bike riders are clogging the roads so lets get rid of them".

    2. Thanks for following Mark. This is exactly why we need both driver education and a bicycle infrastructure to educate both drivers and cyclists in the long run. If you drive on a road with no speed limit, chances are you will drive as fast as possible. If you drive on a road with no bike lane, chances are you are not expecting cyclists to be there. Bike lanes, although an adverse idea to some, will allow new bicyclists to learn traffic skills as well as serve as a visual symbol for motorists to respect their space. These measures are a necessary evil to get bicycles and cars to coexist on the road.

  2. Carlos,

    Thanks for your insight. The bad experience you had with the negligent driver that hit you can be attributed to two things; driver education and bike lane infrastructure. If the cyclist had their own lane to begin with, the driver would not have been compelled to move over to avoid hitting the cyclist. A Share the Road sign could also have been sufficient. Drivers should be on the lookout for cyclists, and this should be emphasized in drivers ed. California just passed a safe pasing law, that requires the driver to pass the cyclist by 3 feet. Some cities in North Texas have also passed it, but it has yet to be passed Statewide.