Episode two of the interesting-only-to-me photo tour I’m doing on my bike. This one around little ‘ol downtown Richardson and surrounding neighborhoods.
I’ve really come to appreciate how easy it is to ride a bike around town in the evenings. Traffic is light after about 7pm, and right now the weather is great. A good headlight and some flashing lights for the back of the bike, and you are good to go.
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.