Theme for the day…Adventure
I recently decided I needed some gravel and orange in my life and I thought what better way to accomplish both than purchasing the brand new 2017 Kona Sutra LTD. We started carrying Kona recently not only because they have some bad ass bikes but their gravel / touring bikes actually fit well with our shop brand. These bikes can take you on an adventure on the weekend and provide a great ride to work during the week. I wanted to put my new Sutra LTD to the gravel test and set out for a little adventure through the trails of South Dallas.
I didn’t want to go alone because you never know what you will run into on some of these trails, so I grabbed my buddy Jason and we hit the road. We recently built up Jason’s Surly Karate Monkey frame for trips just like this. It’s built up with SRAM 1×11 GX Shifters, SRAM Hydraulic Disc Brakes, and Thunderbert 29 x 2.1 tubeless tires. It’s a gravel beast! (It even handles kamikaze squirrels that run out into the road without a problem)
The start of the adventure was letting google choose how we were going to get to the beginning of the trail. Sometimes you don’t know where it will take you but this route turned out to be pretty good. I live in Oak Cliff, so our route started down the Trinity Skyline Trail to the Sante Fe Trestle Trail. I’ve ridden many of the paved trails in the trinity levees but I wasn’t aware that south of Colorado the trail is paved all the way to the Sante Fe Trestle Trail. 1st nice find of the day.
From there we had to hit the streets to weave through different parts of South Dallas. The Sutra LTD handles the streets well. Even with 700c x 45 tires at just 30 PSI it covered ground very well. From there we came to the intersection of Overton Dr. and I45. Its a little tricky to navigate but at the Northeast Corner of that intersection there is an entrance underneath the highway. Take a right and you’ll be traveling underneath Highway 45’s North and South bound lanes. About 100 yards down you can hang a right which takes you to the beginning of the trail.
This portion of the ‘trail’ is mostly dirt for what looks like trucks / tractors to work on the land. That is pretty much what I expected to be riding on for the majority of the ride. When we reached our first dead end we looked across a small pond as saw that there was a paved trail on the other side. We made our way over there and found about 100 yards of pavement followed by more dirt that lead us under the railroad tracks. “Well that’s nice they are starting to pave the trail. ” Little did we know that once we went under the rail road tracks and down another small dirt road the pavement started back up again. That paved trail took us nearly the entire way down what we thought was just going to be dirt and gravel. There are still a few spots that we needed a sturdy bike but for the most part this 2.5 miles of trail would be great for any bike. It was nice having bikes that we could take off road exploring some off shoots of the trail to different water ways but when this is complete that won’t be necessary.
We took this all the way to Loop 12 where a little game of Frogger took place to get across the highway. Once on the other side we came across a trail I was more familiar with, The Joppa Preserve Trailhead. This includes a boat ramp for the Trinity river, which will definitely have to be an adventure for another day. There is also another 8 miles of paved trail that will take you all the way to the Trinity Audubon Center and beyond. We took the trail all the way to the Trinity Audubon Center and spent some time there taking in the scenery.
The trails we rode today have been in the works for some time now. I just wasn’t aware they had made some much progress. This is really the connection of many different projects. The Loop will transform Dallas into a more livable and pedestrian friendly city. It will be a premier 50-mile urban trail network surrounding the core of Dallas linking our neighborhoods to transportation hubs and economic centers, as well as creating safe recreational opportunities for all of Dallas. A portion of the trail we rode today is included in that project. We also rode some existing trails south like the Trinity Spline Trail. This site has some interesting information about the Trinity River Spine Trail (aka AT&T Trail, aka Joppa Preserve Trail). And finally Trinity Forest Trail which shows the existing and future plans for the greater Trinity Forest Trails. Can you imagine a trail that loops the city of Dallas and would take you all the way through the Trinity Forest. That could be a reality soon. In the meantime get out on your bike and go explore these trails. Its a fun adventure for the day.
For those interested in the route: