Thursday, June 9

Dallas Adds Interest

Lately, the commute has been a little routine. It shows in the blog. Palm trees without leaves and out of control bike computers are on a par with a motorist blogging about how exciting the "check engine" light coming on was. In contrast to the v2 commute, this one seems to have a higher fraction of "routine" to "new" experiences. That's even on a "per mile basis" and there are a lot less miles per day.

Anyway, today was a little different. When I came out from work to go home, I found the postit note in the photo above taped to my rear rack. When I first saw it, my initial reaction was "golly, somebody doesn't like people riding bikes lawfully and safely and wants to let me know how I'm sure to be killed within the next ten minutes." Then I put my reading glasses on.

As it turned out, the note was a little different than my prejudice. I pondered it on the way home, even chancing the possibility of getting caught with the motorists through a double light sequence as I discussed here (and no, JRA, I have not given up on the idea of getting a good video of how I negotiate this intersection). Fortune was on my side and I made it through the light with no delay. At Starbucks, I dialed the mobile number and the author of the postit answered. He asked how far I was away from my bike. I replied "about ten feet." He offered to meet me at the bike, at which point I mentioned I was about 90% of the way home. He'll be commuting from Dallas. Interesting! That means he'll be doing a multimode commute, using the TRE train. In my opinion, this is an almost ideal commute because the commute winds up being reasonably quick, and the train segment allows the commuter to cool down (or warm up in winter) before the short ride across the street from the train station.

SO, what advice might be in order? I think he's starting at a good time of the year - it isn't the "fry your brains out" time of summer yet, we have lots of light, and school's out for summer so traffic is a bit lighter. I do not know his expertise in traffic, but he's been riding for several years. All you Yankees out there may not be amazed at meeting a prospective bike commuter, but we around DFW are proof there there is little validity to the "Safety in Numbers" theory. Including the plant I used to work at, our bike commute share is something a bit under 0.2% where I work. Lest you think that makes us bike unfriendly, our company won the "green" company of the year and I won the "bike commuter of the year" awards for Tarrant County. So I think a bike commuter from Dallas truly DOES add a lot of interest.


Anonymous said...

Receiving that request from a stranger is a nice validation of what you are doing, and its even nicer that you can help encourage and give them a few ideas to someone starting off so that they have a successful experience. And congrats on your recent awards!

John Romeo Alpha said...

There are so very few people around my area who bike commute that those of us who do must look like potentially valuable sources of useful information to anyone who might be curious about how it works, I would guess. It's probably the same there, Steve--they see you commuting with such dedication, and a few must wonder what's behind that sort of dedication.


Justine Valinotti said...

Steve, Paddy Anne and John are both right. I can recall living in a community where, it seemed, I was the only adult who rode a bike--to work, no less. Although I learned my way around the place, it might have been nice to have someone with whom I could discuss the dangers, peculiarities and joys of those morning and evening rides. So, I think it's a validation of what you do--and who you are--that you received such a request.

Big Oak said...

Way to go! That is really cool to have received such a note. Your actions do get noticed. And I bet many other people in DFW are using there bikes for shorter trips - because they see you riding busy streets while they sit there, miserable, in their cars.

BTW, I like the palm tree without leaves post. I learned something. I've only seen 1 palm tree, and have no idea how they work.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it rewarding that someone respects what you do enough to seek your advice?

Pretty cool that you got a convert....

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