Best Bike Trails Near Dallas

Posted by on Nov 9, 2013 in Bikes, biking, Cycling | 0 comments

Bike Trail

Even in the middle of one of America’s most bustling metropolitan areas you can still find ways to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors without traveling too far. The Dallas-Fort Worth(DFW) area is home to many trails for biking; you just need to know where to find them. Whether you’ve been biking for years or you are thinking about purchasing your first bike, you will be able to find something that you can enjoy. Here are some of our favorites:

L.B. Houston Nature Trail

This trail can be found in Irving. It is only five miles long so if you are just starting out as a biker, this is a great place to see how you do on a trail. It also doesn’t have any big rises or drops which is another thing that makes it perfect for the beginner and gives a great view of the Trinity River.  

Trinity River

Riding the Trinity River this way offers something a little bit different than your ordinary bike trail. Perfect for those who prefer to ride in a group, you can take your bike and ride the Trinity Railway Express westbound train to Fort Worth. You’ll join members of the Greater Dallas Bicyclists. There is more than 20 miles of trail next to the River, the group has lunch and then comes back on the 2 p.m. train. The only cost is your $10 day train pass. Discounts are offered for people 65 and older and students.

Arbor Hills Nature Center

Located in Plano, this is by far one of the best bike trails for the Dallas biking enthusiast. It is a 200-acre park and has a variety of trails for hikers and walkers and paved paths for bike riders and strollers. In addition to a variety of paths, this park also showcases some of the area’s best natural sites including a lot of trees that you don’t get to see too often in the heart of the city.

White Rock Creek Trail/White Rock Lake.

This area is one of the most popular bike riding areas. Riding along the lake will give you access to local wildlife including great blue herons, ducks, pelicans and turtles. There are different paths you can take to ride different lengths. One trail measures 7.5 miles one-way and if you add the loop around the lake, you can add an additional 10 miles to your ride.

Rowlett Creek Preserve

This area is great for mountain biking enthusiasts. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, if you prefer mountain biking, head to this area. Trails are mapped out to easily determine the difficulty of each trail. In addition to a variety of trails, this is another great area to take in some wildlife scenery.

 Windhaven Hill, The Colony

If you are a biker who is looking to get some interval training, you’ll want to check out this area. This is the home to the steepest hills in Dallas. You will be in the company of the area’s more advanced bikers and there is a nine-mile look that provides an excellent workout with a big push at the end on the area’s steepest hill. 

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Chas Carrier is a cash home buyer and real estate expert who buys and sells homes throughout the DFW metroplex with We Buy Ugly Houses Dallas.

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The Best Cycling Gear For Winter

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in Bicycle, Cycling | 0 comments

If you’re a keen cyclist, you don’t want to let the changing seasons keep you from you passion, but it can’t be denied that the British Winter months are not exactly comfortable to ride in. Thankfully however, no matter how cold it might be outside, there are ways to circumvent the icy skids, the dreaded frozen knees, the chapped lips and the frostbitten toes, chief amongst them, using the right gears and wearing the right clobber.

Gear

Though there are bikes built specifically for winter usage, there’s no need to buy a whole new rig just so you can  continue riding through winter. Below we’ve listed a few essentials that no winter rider should be without.

Let there be light – During the winter months it gets darker much earlier so chances are, even if you don’t like riding at night, if you want to continue riding throughout the winter, you’re going to need to adapt to the darkness.

The right tyres – The one thing you might need to swap out on your rig are your tyres. During winter you’re going to need much better traction as riding on snow or ice with tyres not built to handle it can be incredibly dangerous. A pair of studded tyres with a wide tread pattern will not only help you stay on your line when things get a little wobbly, but will also keep snow and mud from being picked up by the tyres.

Bags – A good, high visibility bag or rucksack in which to store your gear or clothing will be especially necessary if you choose to ride your bike into work during the winter. Specially manufactured ‘garment bags’ will allow you to store any work clothes without fear of creasing or wrinkling and are supportive enough to provide safe passage for laptops, tablets, phones or any potentially valuable paper work.

Pedal assist – Whilst you might (rightly) look down on the e-peddling brigade, a motor enhanced bicycle could really help if you ever get stuck in a perilous situation or your legs freeze up in the middle of a ride. You don’t have to use the motor just because it’s there, in fact there are models that kick in automatically when you stop peddling. It might look ever so slightly ridiculous but it could save your bacon if you ever find yourself in a spot of bother.

Mount system – Again a device that could really help if you ever get stuck in the snow in the middle of nowhere, these are system that allow cyclists to attach their phones and other accessories to the handlebars of their bikes. Cycling clobber has very little in the way of pockets and if you fall, your phone could be broken on impact. With a mount system, your phone should remain intact after a heavy crash of collision and if you’re ever in need of emergency assistance you’ll be glad you ‘made this call’ (pun very much intended).

Clobber

Cycling garments have come a long way since the PVC shorts and knackered trainers of old, with an entire industry built around producing clothing that keeps cyclists warm, without sacrificing form, function or aesthetic value. Wether you’re using your bike on the daily commute to the office or to let off some steam over the weekend, we advise all winter cyclists to use at least one of each of the items below.

Outer layers – Cycling jackets have been designed with cyclists in mind to keep heat in whilst also being breathable and weather resistant. For the winter months you might want to consider a thermo jersey or something similar to really help insulate you against the elements. For those on a budget however we recommend the ‘dHb’ Windslam Roubaix, which is not only affordable but incredibly lightweight and effective as well as being high visibility, which means is perfect for those who enjoy cycling at night.

Body– Always make sure you’re wearing a base layer, as it will not only keep you insulated but will lift the sweat away from your skin, keeping you (mostly) dry. Base layers will also be designed with fabrics that will prevent chafing (no small mercy for those of you out there with particularly sensitive nipples) and trap in warm air, providing you with comfort and security without restricting your movements. We recommend this Nike Pro ‘Hyperwarm Shield’ as it is not only comfortable and stylish but also incredibly cost effective.

Legs – Though you might be able to get away without wearing cycling tights throughout the rest of the year, during winter there is really no excuse. Cycling tights are designed much like base layers, to insulate whilst providing adequate ‘breathing room’ and keeping you dry and comfortable. These tights from dHb are incredibly flexible and have a close fit that will really appeal to cyclists who value comfort over style but still don’t want to get caught looking like an extra in a pantomime.

Hands – Good gloves are an absolute necessity as you need your hands to remain flexible to operate the brakes and the gears. We recommend ‘gore-tex’ gloves, which are fully waterproof and have a ware, inner fleecing that is as breathable and flexible as it is comfortable.

Feet – Over-socks are really helpful, especially if you’re going to be cycling in areas with deep snow where frostbite could be a serious issue. These ‘DeFeet’ Slipstream over-socks are cheap and cheerful but also incredibly snug.

Face – Before going out for a winter ride it’s suggested that you apply a thin layer of vaseline to any exposed, vulnerable areas of your face to avoid unpleasant chapping. For male cyclists a beard is always a good bet but we understand not all men feel comfortable with facial fuzz. Sunglasses are also a necessity as you really don’t want the cold wind ripping into your eyes when you’re ploughing down a mountain at 40 miles an hour. Specialist biking glasses built with high impact resistance such as the ‘XYZ Optics’ are available for more expert riders but for less experienced hobbyist, that pair you got from the pier last Summer for a fiver should do just fine. As far as the helmet goes, there is no reason why the helmet you have been using all year round shouldn’t be just as effective in winter.

This article was written by CJ. CJ is an avid cyclist and can be spotted out on his beloved Kalkhoff come rain, snow or shine! He blogs on behalf of www.50cycles.com  and loves nothing more than getting to take the new models for a spin!

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Cycling In Berlin

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in Cycling, Transportation | 0 comments

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Berlin is one of Europe’s most bike-friendly cities, and no visit is complete without at least one extended cycle tour. From the Reichstag to Museum Island, via the Brandenburg Gate and historic city centre, a bike journey can unlock all corners of the German capital in a way travelling by foot or public transport simply can’t. But what should you be including on your itinerary? Here are the‘highlights of Berlin’ bike tour for visitors to indulge in, showcasing the very best of the German capital.

Prenzlauer Berg

Prenzlauer Berg is the Shoreditch of Berlin, a formerly working class neighbourhood that’s now overflowing with tiny boutique cafes and artisan shops, all set within a carefully-restored historical area. The houses themselves are a treat to look at: ramshackle, very European and harking back to a bygone, simpler time. Add in cool, leafy streets and you have an area that’s entrancing at the best of times – but on a bike can be experienced just as the locals experience it. Stick to the side streets and traffic is almost non-existent, making this area an ideal place to start or end your journey. Plus, Prenzlauer Berg is simply crawling with bike repair shops: ideal if you suffer a flat tyre!

The Berlin Wall Way

To be honest, the ‘Wall Trail’ is practically an excursion in and of itself, but even if you only pick up the trail for a little bit of the way, it’s well worth seeing. Opened in 2009, the trail runs the entire length of the former Berlin Wall – from its horrifying beginning in Potsdamer Platz, along the infamous ‘death zone’ and out into the surrounding countryside. Along the way, the route takes in crumbling remnants of the barrier, dozens of memorials and museums and some idyllic scenery: the latter of these all the more disquieting for the knowledge that defectors were once killed trying to cross here by the dozens. Specifically designed for bikes, the trail is safe, intriguing and not a little harrowing. It’s a perfect introduction to the recent-history of the German capital.

Museums Island

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Museums Island is the tourist epicentre of Berlin: a densely squashed collection of some of the greatest museums on earth, all within spitting distance of one another. Part of the UNESCO listing for central Berlin, the island boasts an endless trail of galleries dedicated to everything, from 20th century industrial engineering to the wonders of Byzantine art. Best of all, a cheap (less than £20) ‘Berlin Welcome Card’ will get you into all 5 museums completely free – and there are plenty of safe places to leave bikes. But even if you simply fancy cycling round the edges, the Island is a wonder to look at, with the Alte Nationalgalerie rising above the surrounding buildings like a magnificent ancient temple.

Stasi Prison

If you’re looking to indulge in a bit of history while on tour, it’s worth heading over into the former East Berlin. Amid the still-standing prefab apartment blocks of this former ‘communist paradise’ lurk the relics of this bygone age, from statues of former Communist leaders to GDR sports complexes. But the most-interesting of all has to be the former Stasi Prison near Prenzlauer Berg. Still haunted by the ghosts of its paranoid past, this monument to the decadence of the former regime is a chilling, fascinating sight – especially if you take time out to investigate the plaques inside. At one time, over 80,000 people were ‘employed’ here; searching out dissidents and making them pay. A visit to the Stasi Prison makes a sobering, but necessary, conclusion to any Berlin cycle tour.

About the author: Victoria Ryder is the European leg of her world tour. Currently staying in Swissotel Berlin, she writes to you from their Restaurant 44, overlooking the famous Kurfuerstendamm.

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How To Prepare For A Bike Riding Event?

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Bicycle, biking, Cycling | 0 comments

So you signed up to that all important charity bike ride event a few months ago and the event date is getting closer and closer. All the good intentions of sticking to your training regime slowly crept out the window and now it is just one month until the big day, to ensure that you successfully complete the bike ride, preparing for the event is essential.

Here are some top tips to consider when preparing the cycling challenge:

Bicycle

What is more important than having a bicycle that is fit and ready for the big day. You should regularly get your bicycle checked over, this will ensure that it is safe to use on the road. It is especially important to get it checked over before a big bike ride. Checking the brakes, tyres and chain is absolutely essential.

It is possible to check these things yourself; however you may be liable to miss some things. Taking it to a bike repair expert will give you the confidence that your bicycle is ready for the big event.

Adding some last minute accessories to your bicycle is also equally important. Ensure you have a bottle cage so you can successfully carry water with you during the bike ride – the last thing you want is to be dehydrated during the bike ride event.

Kit

Wearing appropriate clothing for the bike ride event is absolutely essential. If you are wearing clothes that are not suitable for cycling, you may find that you will be slowed down or you may be putting yourself at risk of an accident happening.

You do not need to spend a fortune purchasing a cycling kit as there are many budget shops available.

As part of your kit, you may want to purchase a saddle pack – in this you can include any essentials that may be required during the bike ride. Some essentials may include a spare inner tube, multi-tool including Allen keys, a small pump and tyre levers. This will mean that you will be prepared for any punctures or bike incidents.

Food

An essential part of your preparation should be focusing on what you eat and drink. This does not just concern the day of the bike ride, but in the days before the cycle.

What you eat and drink in the day will play a huge part of how you perform and feel out on the road on event day. Breakfast remains the most important meal of the day, particularly if you are going to be spending the majority of the day on a bicycle.

When cycling, try not to leave too long between eating as when you become hungry, you will lack energy and it may encourage you to go on a food binge when you have finished cycling – this is not good.

Drink plenty of water in short and regular spurts – do not try and drink lots at once as it may make you feel bloated and uncomfortable.

Preparation is an essential part to succeeding on your bike ride. If you do not take the time to prepare then you may struggle to complete the ride or be injured whilst doing so.

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Falco designs and manufacture cycle shelters for businesses and events all over the world. You can view the fantastic range of cycle parking solutions on their website.

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What Are The Benefits Of Taking Up Cycling As A Hobby?

Posted by on Oct 14, 2013 in Bicycle, Cycling | 0 comments

Cycling is a very effective form of exercise which has even been recommended by the NHS as a great way to get fit and healthy. Cycling is well known to reduce levels of stress, improve general fitness and help you to lose weight. It is recommended that to get the best out of cycling and feel the health benefits, you ride for 150 minutes per week which is two and a half hours. If you’re considering taking up cycling, here are some reasons why you’re making a great decision.

What is the appeal of cycling?

Cycling is incredibly popular because it can fit so conveniently into your lifestyle. Many people fit cycling into their daily routine, replacing public transport with a bike to save some serious money and get fit at the same time. Those who live in the city may find that cycling is more convenient than driving as there is no traffic jams and no problems with finding expensive parking.

Those who are concerned about carbon emissions and the environment are often keen on cycling as it reduces their carbon footprint significantly if they would usually drive on a particular journey.

Cycling is brilliant for weight loss. If you’re concerned about your health and fitness levels, one hour of cycling for someone who weighs 12 stone would burn off around 650 calories, as well as toning their legs and bottom.

Who is best suited to cycling?

The great thing about cycling is that it isn’t particularly suited to any age group. Anyone can cycle, ranging from toddlers to pensioners. Providing you have a suitable bike, you can cycle. Even those with disabilities can get bikes customised to suit their needs.

Cycling is a low impact exercise which makes it well suited to those who may struggle with more exhaustive, strenuous sports. Cycling doesn’t put pressure of your joints like running would, but it is still an effective form of exercise which keeps you fit and healthy.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

It is important to bear safety in mind when cycling, particularly out on the road. Bear in mind that you are out in the open whereas drivers have the protection of a huge metal vehicle. If you get hit by a car, you could be seriously injured so be sure to take care. Always wear a cycling helmet to protect your head in the event that you fall off your bike. A helmet really could make the different between life and death.

When choosing a helmet, look out for one which meets British safety standards, they should be marked with “BS EN 1078: 1997”. Your helmet should fit snugly and not wobble around. It should be placed just above your eyebrows. If it tilts backwards or forwards, it is too big and will not protect your skull. Ensure that when you wear your helmet, it is fastened tightly without any twists in the straps. There should only be enough room for you to fit two fingers in-between your chin and the strap.

Michael Fryer is a keen cyclist. He believes in leading an active lifestyle for his health, and takes his children swimming with www.puddleducks.com.

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What Are The Realities Of Cycling In Greater Manchester?

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in biking, Cycling | 0 comments

Riding A Bicycle In Manchester
Manchester may be the home of British Cycling with the National Cycling Centre based around the Manchester Velodrome, but that isn’t to say it’s a city set up for cycling.

While the nation’s elite cyclists live and train in the area, the roads are no less dangerous than elsewhere in the country, as proven by an incident in November 2012 when British Cycling head coach, Shane Sutton, suffered bleeding on the brain after being involved in an accident while cycling.   The incident occurred less than 24 hours after then Tour de France champion and Olympic gold medallist, Bradley Wiggins, had been knocked off his bike.

Clearly, these things can happen to anyone and there is an acknowledgement that more can be done to keep Manchester cyclists safe.   There have been a number of suggestions relating to the format of driving tests. Many feel it should include more instruction on how to accommodate cyclists, while others feel there should be an entire cycling module.   Vélocity 2025   More can be done with infrastructure as well and it is for this reason that Greater Manchester is making a bid for £20 million of investment over a two-year period which would be put towards making cycling not just safer, but also easier.

The government’s Cycle City Ambition Grant offers financial incentives for UK cities to make themselves more cyclist-friendly. Greater Manchester has even bigger plans, however, with an aim to increase the numbers of cyclists in the area by 300 per cent by 2025. Banded ‘Vélocity 2025’ the project would be kick-started by the award of a Cycle City Ambition Grant and it is thought that could trigger £150 to £200 million of investment from public and private backers.   Vélocity 2025 is a vision of a healthy, sustainable city. It would see integrated and ideally segregated cycle routes to major business and education centres; ‘cycle and ride’ facilities for people travelling by train or tram; and a great deal of promotion and education regarding cycling in general.

As it stands, Manchester cyclists have to put up with the same dangerous conditions as those in other parts of the country, with inconsiderate motorists and unhelpful road design.

Cycle lanes
Nowhere is the lowly status of the cyclist more apparent than when you look at cycle lanes. The vast majority merely pay lip service to helping the cause of cyclists, being unusable and occasionally even outright dangerous.   It is not uncommon to see a cycle lane extend for a few hundred yards where the road is wide enough that cyclists would be relatively safe anyway, only to end just as the road narrows and things become more dangerous.

Many involve stopping at junctions in order to cross roads or navigating items of street furniture, such as signs and bins which might be positioned within the lane itself, should it have to venture onto the pavement for a time – something that is not uncommon.   For the most part, cycle lanes are unusable and most cyclists will simply ignore them as it is safer and more logical to simply ride on the road. However, clearly Manchester is serious about addressing these issues and should it receive the anticipated funding, it will be exciting to see the city transformed.

Alessandro Bodino lives in Whalley Range and commutes by bike, making use of bike sheds provided by www.speedyshelters.co.uk.

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