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Out of towner looking for good road routes in DFW

Old 07-18-11, 03:37 PM
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junkyardking
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Out of towner looking for good road routes in DFW

I'm coming to visit a friend in Dallas for a few days, and plan on renting a bike to keep me busy while she's at work during the week. Does anyone know of any good road rides in the Dallas area? Not a group ride, just something I could do on my own. Maybe a 40-70 mile ride or two.
Thanks!
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Old 07-18-11, 06:13 PM
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What part of DFW are you going to be in? That would be the major factor, I would think.
And by any chance are you a RUSA member? If so, we can get you hooked right up on some routes.

Generally, the road cycling is pretty crummy right in Dallas, so it works best on the various outskirts. Down south, there's a number of routes that leave from Joe Pool Lake. Up north, there are active cycling clubs in Plano and Corinth, and I expect those folks could fix you up. Out west, the FWBA has quite a few rides and routes.

Be aware that daytime temps have been hitting 100+ for several days, slightly hotter than normal. A camelbak will come in really really handy.

I have never checked into bike rentals here. The largest local bike store is Richardson Bike Mart in Richardson, but I don't know to what extent rentals are available there or at other local stores- do some calling before you assume you can find something.
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Old 07-18-11, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
What part of DFW are you going to be in? That would be the major factor, I would think.
And by any chance are you a RUSA member? If so, we can get you hooked right up on some routes.


I have never checked into bike rentals here. The largest local bike store is Richardson Bike Mart in Richardson, but I don't know to what extent rentals are available there or at other local stores- do some calling before you assume you can find something.
My friend says "technically I live in Expo Park, which borders a neighborhood called Deep Ellum." So I guess that'll be home base. I called the Richardson Dallas location, and the guy on the phone said they rent decent road bikes, and would be willing to throw on a pair of clipless pedals to match my shoes so I'm not stuck with toe straps. I've just got to call a few days ahead so they can make sure they've got one in my size in the store.

I don't plan on having access to a motor vehicle so it'd be nice if the routes were accessible from that area. I don't mind traveling by bike to get to a good route.

Last edited by junkyardking; 07-18-11 at 08:40 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 07-18-11, 08:40 PM
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Bicycles Plus (http://bicyclesplustx.net/) has rentals. There are a number of these, I am up north, and there are two close to me. There are some nice routes up here also.

I think it was $45 / day but don't hold me to that.

As for routes, well I am quite new to cycling, I started in February this year. However, the ones I know are all Lewisville, Flower Mound, up through Argyle, Denton, Krum.

I use a 70oz camelbak and two 25oz bottles. I refill with ice water at Sonic when I need to and also get some sweet tea!

Temperatures on the road get up to 110F around 5pm.

I'll send a link of one ride I did (bringing up the back) recently with some other chaps from http://www.texasflyers.org/
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Old 07-19-11, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by junkyardking View Post
My friend says "technically I live in Expo Park, which borders a neighborhood called Deep Ellum." So I guess that'll be home base. I called the Richardson Dallas location, and the guy on the phone said they rent decent road bikes, and would be willing to throw on a pair of clipless pedals to match my shoes so I'm not stuck with toe straps. I've just got to call a few days ahead so they can make sure they've got one in my size in the store.

I don't plan on having access to a motor vehicle so it'd be nice if the routes were accessible from that area. I don't mind traveling by bike to get to a good route.
Just a heads-up, you'll catch bus route 60 from Exposition Park to the RBM-Dallas store. It drops off, right in front of the store at Old Gate.
http://www.dart.org/schedules/bussch...p?zeon=route60
("To Union Station" is southbound, toward Exposition Park and downtown; "To South Garland Transit Center" is northbound.)
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Old 07-19-11, 09:06 AM
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From the Bike Mart you are speaking of, you are right by White Rock Lake. If you circumnavigate the lake (100% trails or very lightly traveled residential streets) it is just over 9 miles. There are some options for doing what passes for hill climbing in Dallas just off of the WRL trail. There is a trail that adds about 6 miles that heads north from White Rock that is semi-accessible (ongoing major road construction has the trail detoured where it connects with the WRL trail). The Bike Mart folks should be able to give you all the info you need or just come back here for further details.
I can also provide you with a very nice, calm route from the Deep Ellum area to White Rock Lake--quiet residential streets all the way to the lake. It's about 5 mile from Deep Ellum to the lake if I remember correctly.
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Old 07-19-11, 09:11 AM
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Most of the local bike shops have organized rides during the week or weekend. The main Richardson Bike Mart in Richardson has a big variety of rides every Saturday. Everything from a 10 mile very slow beginner ride to 50+ mile hammer-fests.
Here is a link to their schedule.
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Old 07-19-11, 09:51 AM
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You can ride the TRE train from downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth. If you take it to the last stop, then exit toward the south, go a block or two south on Main Street, you'll find Trinity Bicycles (207 South Main). They are a potential option for bike rentals. I know they do it, not sure how much. Depending on how long you're in town, you may be able to just buy one of the bikes they have there on consignment (nice vintage bikes mostly). Might be cheaper than renting, then they can resell it for you on consignment and you make a good chunk of your money back.

From downtown Fort Worth, you can get on the Trinity Trail system that follows the river. A popular route is to ride to Benbrook. You can pick up the trail from Taylor or West 7th Street, then proceed southwest for about 13 miles to get to the area of the lake. You can ride around the shore of the lake beyond the YMCA, but it will cost $1 to go into the park along the lake. I don't think you can ride around the entire lake along the shore.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-21-11, 12:24 PM
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Ask your host for directions to Fair Park, where there is crit racing every Thursday night. Not far from deep ellum at all.

Also, if you want a weekend ride, check out the various rides leaving from the Richardson Bike Mart location there on Garland Rd, ranging from all-out hammerfest to somewhat sane club ride.

Edit to add, I'm pretty sure RBM has route maps for "the south ride" but if not, check here:
http://www.miragecycling.org/events/training-rides/
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Old 07-21-11, 03:08 PM
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If you want a weekday morning ride there is a 6AM group that starts from T&P Hill at White Rock lake. I join them at 6:30AM Tuesday-Thursday. They do 3 laps and I do 2. The pace is usually between 19-20 mph.

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Old 07-21-11, 09:13 PM
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Okay, finally getting back on the job here.

First off, for good rides, can't help a lot, but I'll point out what I can.

It's not especially good riding, but one thing you can do is make a run down to the Grassy Knoll and the Schoolbook Depository Building (currently houses the Sixth Floor Museum). From the eastward direction, the best bike route into downtown is Main Street. At some point, you need to go a block north to Elm Street, and the 6th Floor Museum is at the corner of Elm and Houson, with the Grassy Knoll being the area downhill and to the right off Elm. The Old Red Courthouse will be off to your left. (If you actually want to see the museum, leave your bike at home, take Dart down there. The museum takes a couple of hours to go through, is well done, and generally worthwhile.)

The Santa Fe Trail extends from White Rock Lake nearly to downtown. Current Google maps show it ending at S. Hill Avenue near I-30 and Willow Street. I don't think the Streetview pictures are current, as it is paved its full extent now. But you can take it to White Rock Lake. It is a newer trail, but does go through some sketchy neighborhoods, too.

If you just want to get miles in (as opposed to seeing the countryside), White Rock Lake is a good place to do it. The best route is partly on the trails, partly on the roads. There are some old trail sections that are narrow and rough, and nearly all the cyclists use the roads in those areas. Then there's places where you need to get on the trail to make the loop around. It is about 10 miles around the lake. There are some hills near the lake, but the shortest loop around the lake is pretty flat. There are some water faucets around the lake, and a 7-11 at the south end.

From White Rock Lake, you can go north on the White Rock Creek Trail that goes up past 635. It is not super fast, but generally is smoother than the roads.

Dallas had/has a series of on-road bicycle routes, and these are generally okay to follow, though not especially fast. They used to have online maps for them, which are helpful, as the signs are not always adequate to allow you to follow them. I remember one of those routes goes up Swiss Avenue, which is a fairly scenic ride (ritzy houes and stuff). I have also seen a printed version of those maps at REI, but don't know if they still have them.

Dart trains are generally fast and bicycle-friendly- just wheel your bike on board at the center section, and they have bike hangers inside. The TRE trains to Fort Worth vary, but I think the current ones are pretty bike-friendly. They just recently opened up rail service to Denton, but I think they may be using the old silver cars up there, which are not very bike-friendly- go up steep narrow stairs with a turn at the top, then no place to put your bike. DART is fast, the TRE is slower. DART buses have bike racks on the front, but I don't know that I'd trust a good bike in them (potential for theft there).

Greater Dallas Bicyclists has ride maps for their routes on the website. http://www.greaterdallasbicyclists.c...ies/index.html
Be aware that on some of the urban/downtown routes, everyone will show up on mountain bikes, so they're not necessarily "good" routes in terms of smooth pavement.

The Trinity Trail system in Fort Worth is fairly extensive if that is of interest.

FYI, the few times I tried, most of the local fast-food places around here would let me ride my bike through the drive through (one Jack in the Box wouldn't.) Sonics are always bicycle-friendly, have Power-Ade as a drink choice, have half-price-drinks from 2-4 in the afternoon, plus ice cream. And Sonic ice goes in a water bottle easily. It's hot, bring a camelback, refill with ice as needed (Sonics sell bagged ice, too.)

I would not leave a bike unattended for 2 seconds downtown, by the way. I knew one guy that had a bike just like mine, and the last time he saw it, a hobo went riding off from a bar in Deep Ellum on it.

My normal bike route is to go down East Fork Road through Sunnyvale, but I don't know that it's worthwhile to come out here just for that route.
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Old 07-22-11, 12:21 PM
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Since you are staying near Downtown, I would just ride up the Santa Fe Trail to White Rock Lake and do laps there. 10 miles each lap, clockwise.
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Old 07-31-11, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by andboy View Post
As for routes, well I am quite new to cycling, I started in February this year. However, the ones I know are all Lewisville, Flower Mound, up through Argyle, Denton, Krum.
do you do any of the Bicycles Plus shop rides (Coppell and/or Flower Mound)? Texas Flyers on Wednesday evenings or Saturday mornings from the middle school? Lifetime Fitness rides from their FloMo location? any of the Carrollton Cycling Club rides?

Sun & Ski Sports and Mad Duck in Grapevine also have Sunday morning group rides, but we quit participating in the MD rides because the owner, Clarence, is such a lying POS...
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Old 08-03-11, 12:02 PM
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Thanks for all your responses, guys. I'm really looking forward to seeing Texas (the farthest south I've ever been is San Diego) and trying some of these rides. I called RBM and they've got my size on hand, so I've got that squared away. Any roads you think I should avoid entirely?
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Old 08-03-11, 12:44 PM
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You'll know them when you see them. Basically, the three-lanes-each-way-with-left-turn-median-and-lots-of-retail are the ones you want to avoid if you can.
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Old 08-06-11, 08:14 PM
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since you'll be right near white rock lake, here's the route that everyone around here does on weekends:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/98207038

its the south loop that leaves from bike mart on garland at 7:30 (fast pace) and 8:30 (moderate pace). you'll want to hook up with some people that are heading out though... there are green arrows marked on the roads for most of the turns, but the feeder road areas aren't necessarily marked. if you're out there on the weekend in the morning, you'll definitely see people out there in case you need help.

if you want a longer version of this route, shoot me an email/message and i can dig a few up.
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Old 09-12-11, 10:23 PM
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junkyardking, If you're only going to get a couple of 8-5 rides in I suggest the first day at White Rock Lake. It has a varied enough road/path structure that you can ride however you wish. I used to go to Dallas a few times a year for a week or two at a time and it was a great place to decompress. If you're looking for some nice urban riding, the SMU area is pretty nice

Dallas has some pretty bike savvy drivers, better than some areas I've been, but when traffic is heavy...

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