Saturday, November 13

Just a Casual Recreational Rider

Non-Chain Coffee - Where Should I Go?
This morning, no longer having a commute to make, as "just a casual recreational rider," I decided to wander around and see what I've been missing. I had nowhere in particular to go, other than I was pretty sure this'd be my last chance for a FARATS photo.

I figured that looking for colorful trees, it'd be a good bet to head for parks and woods and places where such reside besides local subdivision lawns. So I headed north, into Grapevine. I was a bit nervous, because, as reported here, Grapevine sounded pretty difficult for a cyclist to get around in if their mayor felt it necessary to publicly suggest it was necessary to put in bike lanes to help out the commuters. If commuters were helpless, how could a casual recreational rider hope to survive, what with packs of rider barreling around blind corners on paths at 20mph? Still, as I finished coffee, I decided to be brave and venture into the wilds of Grapevine. Soon, Kermit led me into Parr Park - by the back entrance. There didn't seem to be a well-paved trail, or any bike lane either. Come to think of it, things seemed not quite up to my usual standards for bicycle travel. And Kermit made sure I knew it, despite his misleading smile. There WAS some prickly stuff and swampy dirt. Fortunately, the brush was light enough that before too long, we got to a proper MUP path. The Parr Park "Bicentennial Tree," however, was gone - struck by lightning. In any event, when they cut it up, they discovered it wasn't really much older than about 190 years.

Where the Heck ARE We? Somewhere Near Parr Park in Grapevine - Looking for Those Bike Lanes.

Now THIS Looks Like a Better Route for Kermit!

While the path was nice enough, the path was filled with those little yippy dogs that seem determined to commit suicide by dashing into one's front wheel. Luckily enough, I spyed a little offshoot to the MUP path and it led to my favorite kind of North Texas road. The "massively overbuilt five lane collector road with absolutely no traffic at all." In this case, it was called Heritage Avenue. I felt all nostalgic for Heritage Parkway at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, but this one is a road that dead ends, having started nowhere in particular and ends nowhere in particular. In a couple of miles along this road, I was passed by exactly two motorists. Neither of them felt compelled to use the two-way left turn lane.

Heritage Avenue, Somewhere North of Parr Park. Typical Traffic Conditions.
Heritage Avenue also runs close to my home and I ride it often, but THIS Heritage was just a little strange. For example, I saw a sign alerting me to the presence of the West Fork of the Trinity River! I'd never dreamed I lived so close.

Are You About to Arrive at the West Fork of the Trinity River?

And HERE IT IS! This river is almost as spectacular as the Los Angeles River. There really IS such a place, you know. It is featured in the movie "Gumball Rally."

West Fork of the Trinity River!?!
Not too far north of the raging river, I came to the northern terminus of Heritage Avenue. And then, as I pondered where to go next, inspiration hit me. I had a PERFECT entry for the Rantwick FARATS contest. Lots of color, nice shape, a bike in the shot, and smooth pavement. No, the entry is NOT the gratuitous bike photo below, but keep going.

Gratuitous Bike Photo Underneath a Tree
A few words on the tree. Unlike almost every other FARATS entry, the tree is not a Sugar Maple. In fact, it is not a Maple at all. It's just a regular "tree" that decided to turn red and glorious instead of the typical North Texas approach of leaves either turning yellow, or just turning brown and dropping off the tree. It is in Grapevine, about 200 feet south of Mustang Drive, which is where Heritage Ave dead ends. We may not have KINGS in the US, but this tree shows any ordinary tree can grow up to be the PRESIDENT.
How Can this Lose? It May not be Big, But it Has a Bike, a Texas Flag, and a Five Lane Road with Smooth Pavement all in One Shot!
I must say there are perks to recreational riding. I surely discovered more new stuff in a couple of hours than I would have in a month of commuting. Still, it was unclear to me exactly where Grapevine should put those bike lanes. Perhaps all the murderous motorists that necessitate them were sleeping in this morning. Oh, well, there's nowhere I'd commute to in Grapevine anyway, being just a casual recreational cyclist, and any future commuting would lie in a different direction anyway.

PS: The last photo has nothing at all to do with the rest of this post other than Rat Trap Press suggested I'm obsessed with clipless pedals. You will note the classy "Costco Court Classic" shoes restrained by ancient toe clips - and the toe clips are probably older than RTP. For Chandra's benefit, I have a "High Vis" reflective clip to keep my cycling-specific Old Navy blue jeans behaving.
Costco "Court Classic" Shoes do not Include SPD Mounting Provisions


limom said...

The colors!
What kind of tree is that?

Rat Trap Press said...

An excellent choice for your FARATS entry. I haven't seen anything that bright in my area.

You seem rather relaxed in your budget athletic shoes and pants. Good for you.

I wonder if the mountain bike trails around Lake Grapevine could be ridden on a fat tired road bike?

Anonymous said...

Nice Tree and Nice Toe Clips!

RANTWICK said...

You certainly have an eye for composition. Good thing I'm not judging this competition, becuase you had me at "smooth pavement".

Chandra said...

Great looking tree and nice touch with the reflective band!

Peace :)

Trevor Woodford said...

Great Image with the red tree and the bike - I love it.

Apertome said...

The tree is a real stunner! Looks like a fun ride.

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