I just haven’t been riding as much during the first quarter of the year as I should. Hopefully Spring will provide enough nice weather to get me off my but!
33.101012 N, 96.728438 W
On Saturday, I decided to go get a photo of my bike in front of this statue of a flame, originally for my bike/art in Plano object search, but it turns out this sculpture, while just around the corner from me is actually in Allen. :-(
Never the less, I am very fond of this piece. It is in front of an Allen fire station. On Sunday I decided to go to visit the open house at the Connemara Conservancy Meadow. I hadn’t been there is quite a few years, indeed my last visit was in 2008/9 when I spread my dog’s ashes in the Meadow… So it was a bitter sweet return.
It is a great place to get a feel for what the Blackland Prairie ecosystem used to be like, and on April 5th they will be open to the public again for Earth Day celebrations.
For a number of reasons I haven’t been riding as much this winter, and I certainly haven’t been exploring much. Given the fantastic weather this past weekend, I came across another publically viewable (though on private land) piece of scultpture that I heard about last fall, but hadn’t gotten a chance to photograph until now.
33.100602 N, 96.744507 W
Sadly I heard about this piece when it appeared in a news article last fall. Some local vandals had knocked it down and damaged it, and the owner (a veteran) was understandably upset about it!
This morning, while riding around Russell Creek park, I had an encounter with a dog. Yeh, I know most ‘cyclists’ will have a dog story or two. Frankly, I never understood those stories. Sure I have been chased a few times by a dog; however, in every case, stopping and talking to the dog was enough for them to loose interest. Today’s encounter was different.
This dog broke from the women holding his leash and started running after me… Then he passed me. Then he circled around and ran back in the other direction. Then he passed me … again… The he circled around and ran back in the other direction … again… The dog did this three or four times. The last time he passed me he ran twenty (or so) yards ahead turned around and sat down staring at me…
Now I know people tend to anthropomorphize animals; however, I recognized the expression and body language as one I have worn many times. It is best described as disgust with another person… It took me a minute to realize what the dog was upset with me about, but I finally realized. That it took me so long just goes to show, I am slow… in more than one way. This dog clearly recognizes bicycles and realizes that people riding them present a bit of a speed challenge for it… You see the dog was a Greyhound… Yes, I believe that by circling me, it was challenging me to race it. A challenge I clearly did not rise to, and frankly I think his disgust was at how slow I was I my speed enhancing machine when compared to his own magnificence…
My response, when I realized this, clearly moved me from possibly interesting all the way to a non-person. You see, I had to stop my bike, get off, and sit down on the ground laughing. It was only then that the dog started to return to his owner… Yes, fido, I am very slow…
It is common for some to treat the end of a year as a time to reflect and ponder their actions for the past year and consider what they may wish to change in the coming years. It was June 2010 that I started riding a bicycle again as an adult. My reasons for doing so were fairly common, a design to loose weight and get some measure of physical fitness. I was so, unfit, at the beginning that I was barely able to exceed 200 miles of total riding by the end of August that year. By September, I had hit my stride and topped a little over a thousand miles.
The following year, 2011, saw me achieve a little over 2,900 miles and a successful completion of my first metric century. But that first full year contained the seed of am issue that achieved fruition in 2012. Since I had been riding almost entirely to achieve physical goals I found than an ennui settled over me and I barely road 2,000 miles in 2012. Indeed that ennui continued until early April of this year.
Then something changed, I realized that I actually enjoyed riding, but wasn’t as interested in that sleek carbon fiber road bike that was my first reward for dropping 100 pounds. I started shopping for a traditional steel framed bike that would have normal shoe compatible pedals, fenders, and generator lights. In short, I realized that I simply enjoyed riding and the bike should simply be a convenient tool that didn’t require special considerations to just go for a ride.
When, this epiphany arrived for me in April, I was already 200 miles behind where I was at that point in 2011. At that point I had never had more than two months in any year where I exceeded 300 miles. Starting in April, I exceeded 300 miles a month for the next seven months. And even better, it wasn’t a lack of interest, but rather weather and holiday plans that kept me from riding that much in November and December. And as of yesterday’s ride I had 3,000.55 miles in for 2013!
What is even better, is the average ride was only 12 miles. In 2013, I managed to go for 240 rides, many simple utilitarian ones like grocery shopping or doctors appointments. Since I still own a car, I was riding because I enjoyed it. It is my fervent belief that riding for the sheer joy of it, is the only reason adults should ride bikes. It is certainly something that children, particularly those with their first bikes, still know.
So my wish for the coming year is that more adults recapture the joy that a simple bike ride can engender…
I decided to spend some time today getting photos of my bike in front of several sculptures/fountains;memorials that I knew existed in Plano, and found some unexpected ones. Or at least interesting objects.
I knew that Chisolm trail would take me by the Veterens memorial, which contained three pieces I wanted to include, and would drop me off on 15th, not far from the fourth piece I wanted to get at the Downtown Plano DART station.
The Veterens memorial contains three pieces by two artists; David Hickman and David Newton. This is a beautiful, contemplative spot that people should really visit.
And DART has at least one piece of public art at each of their stations. I believe this one is called the Iron Horse.
After I picked up the photo of the Iron Horse, I stopped across the street at the Farmer’s Market and did a little shopping. If you haven’t been there I highly recommend it! I came across two additional memorials on this ride as well.
Finally, I came across this sun dial and benches at a private residence along the trail, that I thought was noteworthy, though I am undecided if it fits the scavenger hunt.
As October comes to a close, I really enjoyed the photo scavenger hunt that Bike Friendly Richardson had organized for the month, that I decided to spend some time finding as many public sculptures, fountains, and memorials as I could in my town, Plano. Earlier in the week, I took pictures of these two objects;
Dayle Hardy Memorial — 33.094099, -96.748526
Davis Public Library Windmill — 33.080163, -96.751457
and while getting the above photo after picking up a couple of books and dropping off my returns, I remembered that the library park has a great fountain/gazebo that I thought would be a great addition.
Prairie Meadow and Davis Public Library Gazebo and Fountain — 33.080163, -96.751457
So this morning I decided to go in search of an angel sculpture that I found online that appeared to be publicly visible on the grounds of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seaton church. From the post online I found it looked like a really nice statue and appeared to be visible from the alley behind the church. Unfortunately, when I got there, I discovered, that they apparently reinstalled the privacy fence after they installed the statue and the actual statute appears to be located in a private garden area for the church. So, this one will not make the list. On the way back I decided to take a shot of the fountain at Russell Creek Park.
Russell Creek Park Fountain — 33.096507, -96.753344
As I was riding toward this fountain, I passed some objects that I had ridden past hundreds of times; however, this was the first time I realized they qualified as sculptures!
Russell Creek Park Ball Sculptures — 33.095496, -96.756532
Well, it is a start. I know of one other memorial that I want to add, the War memorial across the street from the library near Custer and Spring Valley. If anyone has any others they are aware of, I would love to know about them. Barring that, it will just be some more riding around town. A great excuse for this whole idea!