Richard W’s new stickers and buttons for Bike Friendly Richardson. It sure is nice to have an artist in the group. Richard does great posters and flyers for the events.
I rode the Electra Townie up to Sprouts grocery store today. We are lucky enough to have a Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods, and HEB Central Market nearby, was well as some more traditional grocery stores. Sprouts is the groovy store that is closest to us – an easy 1.75 mile ride through the neighborhood.
My mission tonight was simply to buy stuff to eat for lunch next week, plus a few other items. Stuff to make smoothies, etc. Sprouts has fairly good prices. The one thing about these stores that still kind of bothers me is that they still sell products that are way over-packaged. Like a small package of baby spinach — it was in a clear plastic container that was just too much for the product. So much waste. No – I didn’t buy that stuff. I’d just like to see retailers insist on packaging that provides less crap to potentially go to the landfill.
It is also very hard for me to buy lettuce and spinach now. Last year we had so much from our square foot gardens — it was great. This year, due to my dad’s illness in 2009, we didn’t have any time to do the gardens. So I’m used to getting really good leafy greens for nearly free. Hard to pay grocery store prices.
Anyway, even though it was a bit cold it was nice to ride the bike to the store. It has been too long.
Here is a good article on the bike trail network in Dallas, from a new blog called Biking in Dallas.
These guys are running a good blog. Lots of great information here. I was really happy to see that they gave big props to my town of Richardson in the above-linked article.
This morning I went for a ride with my friend Matt. A typical ride for us — starting at his house in Dallas, about 2 miles to White Rock Lake, around the lake, and back. Great ride — always fun to ride with Matt. A good, leisurely pace, good conversation, good exercise. It was hot, and I had multiple layers of sunscreen on. As I write this, I still do.
Then about 7:45pm I went out for a ride around the neighborhood here in Richardson. It was really nice outside. I weaved through the neighborhood to the church I “grew up in” and was married in. It is now some kind of Buddhist facility or something — the church built a new building several years ago.
Then I rode across the street to Richardson Heights Shopping Center, former home of Sun Rexall Drug Store — they had the best news stand in town when I was growing up, and I purchased many comics and Skateboarder Magazines there. Lots of candy too. It was one of those stores that had nearly everything. It went out of business some years ago, and is now one of those party supply stores.
The rest of the shopping center is mostly various kinds of specialty ethic stores, eateries, and a grocery. There’s a donut shop and a check cashing place right next door to my old dentist’s office — which is the only business that is still there.
While I’m kind of nostalgic for the way it used to be, the fact is that a lot of those old businesses were probably dying. I’m sure there are those who don’t like seeing “foreign” places in the shopping center, but you know — those businesses appear to be thriving. I rode by them – all nice, clean, and the food looks great. I’m not crazy about the check cashing place being there, but everything else looks great. And they are local businesses — not massive chains — which I like a lot. The shopping center and I suppose the surrounding neighborhoods have reinvented themselves — fortunately in a very good way.
I really wonder in 30 years, will one of the kids who grew up in this area, of immigrant parents, ride a bicycle through that parking lot and think about the time he spent there, and will he or she be glad that the businesses and people here are still prospering. I hope so. I was once one of those immigrant kids. We came here from Louisiana.
From the shopping center I threaded my way through the residential streets. Being on a bike can create a compelling need to explore. There’s a connection to your surroundings that you don’t get in a car, but the increased speed of the bike makes exploration more feasible than when you’re walking. I found streets and neighborhoods right here, in my old stomping grounds, that I’d never seen before — really great little places.
After a while I zipped back over to Waterview, headed north, and after a few turns I was home. Lots of fun.
Richardson is coming back, people. Watch out.