Brandon Goes to the Market
While I’m less new to Local Hub Bicycle Company these days, I’m still new to the cycling community and routes in the Dallas area. I’ve always been a commuter cyclist, and after doing that in Denton for ten years, I had the lay of the land down pat. But now I’m getting used to the commutes in Dallas. It’s been a smooth transition. Where Denton had plenty of space and less traffic, Dallas offers much more bicycle-specific infrastructure and TRAFFIC! And there is always going to be the need to venture off on to the open roads to get my errands done. And what more seminal commuter trek than to the local grocery store! So, strap your bags on your grocery-getter and follow along.
I live a couple miles east of Local Hub. On my work commute, I can find my way to the Santa Fe Trail quickly enough and use that all the way in to Deep Ellum! For this grocery run, I was headed to Kroger off Highway 75 & Haskell. I have a friend that has biked a similar route, and I have been driving down a few neighborhood streets to find a comfortable commute. From the Santa Fe Trail near my apartment, I biked up to pick up Swiss Avenue as quickly as possible. Sharla had taken me on a ride of the neighborhoods several weeks ago, and I couldn’t think of a better stretch than Swiss that she showed me. The tree-lined roads in the mid-day heat was absolutely welcome! But be careful crossing Munger at Swiss by bike; crossing those four lanes of traffic can take a while even by car. At Carroll, I turned right taking me just behind the Kroger. While just two lanes, it was wide enough for cars to give you space, even without a bike lane or shoulder. At Kroger, they had a dedicated bike parking lot, right next to the EV charging spaces! I love seeing this progress! All told, it was a 16 minute trip to the store and a comfortable route to learn.
You may see my tank of a bike and think, “Of course, you can carry your groceries on a bike decked out with four bags, one on each corner!” But my philosophy has always been, “Bike what you have.” You have a cute Dutch frame with a basket on the front? Perfect for carrying a bit of produce in the front. Yours is an urban track bike? Grab your backpack or messenger bag on the way out. Over a decade ago, I was borrowing my roommates red beach cruiser that I had zip-tied a milk crate to! Even my bike you see today—its name is “la Madonna,” I’ll share that in a moment—had its origins as a mountain bike, with which I carried a backpack on my trips. It’s had a gradual facelift over the last five years to the bike it is today. If you’re looking for a do everything commuter, a lot of bikes, including yours, can easily fit a rear rack and set of panniers to carry enough for a family! Like I said, bike what you have.
Setting back off after my shopping was relatively the same. Of course, just a little slower weighed down. I met another cyclist at the bike racks while leaving. He told me he was riding his wife’s bike because he was out fixing the flat for her so she could ride with her women’s group that weekend. How sweet! Of course, then he tells me, it’s a great way to get her out of the house, so he could watch football…aww, true love!
What did we learn today? A nice little bike route in our neighborhoods and some quick tips on grocery commutes. Not enough? Well, how about the legend of “la Madonna del Ghisallo.” As with all Marian apparitions, this legend starts with a traveler, Ghisallo, who found refuge on a steep hill shrine after being led there by a vision of the Virgin Mary. Over the last century, this same steep hill has been used in numerous bike races, enough so for the local church to petition that the Madonna del Ghisallo be canonized as the patron saint of cyclists. My bike, “la Madonna,” has been with me on trips through five states now, and the Madonna del Ghisallo is a fun little story to carry with me in name and headbadge!
Bicycle Mechanic, Local Hub Bicycle Co.