Anyone planning to gather outside Dallas City Hall early today and cheer as council members pedal their bikes into work for the Bike to City Hall event can sleep in instead. The event has been canceled because of inclement weather.
What Bike to City Hall event, you ask? Beats us. The notice from the city's communications office arrived in our in-box too late to talk with anyone. Council member Philip Kingston was touting the ride on his Facebook page, where 41 people had signed up. Lime, the dockless bike-sharing company, was listed as one of its supporters.
Oddly, we don't see many Lime bikes on the road these days, though the riders we do see are, technically, workplace commuters — i.e., homeless people.
Anyway, the ride apparently involved bringing large lumps of sugar to City Hall via bicycle, but of course they can't, because sugar melts in the rain.
Or maybe council members have decided to ditch their bikes for electric scooters, which are way trendier. Lime has them in droves.
There will still be a Bike to City Hall "presentation" in the Flag Room, though one suspects it might be a little short on bikes at City Hall. At least it will be toasty and dry inside.
Why tell you about a canceled event few have heard of? Because someone has to say it: Dallas will never be a city of cycling commuters. Give up already. Roads are bad, drivers are worse and we're too spread out. Putting bike racks on DART buses and trains is just encouraging us to mix two bad forms of misery.
Oh, and except for a few weeks in spring and fall, the weather is always inclement. It's ... too ... goddamn ... hot. Mid-50-degree temperatures and light rain? That's a good day for cycling to work in Dallas.
No everyone agrees. Pete Simek at D Magazine this summer wrote an essay suggesting it was at least possible. "Copenhagen was transformed in a decade from a car-commuter city to the poster child for bikeable urban living," he wrote. Uh-huh. Copenhagen, considered one of the most bike-friendly cities on the planet has roughly 1/10th the land area of Dallas and average summer highs in the low 70s. It's located in northern Europe. Dallas is located in the northern tropics. The high today in Copenhagen, by the way, is predicted to be 51 degrees.
Look, I tried bicycle commuting in Dallas for several months. One massive thunderstorm, plus a nasty case of road rash, one destroyed rim and one damaged derailleur hanger thanks to city streets — along with lots of baby-wipe baths in my office — and I gave up. The Observer is a very hippy-fied place, and other staffers have taken up the cause over the years, too. Eventually, their bikes became flat-tired, dust-collecting office ornaments.
OK, we did have a food critic once who biked to work daily and even rode one hot summer day from Oak Lawn to Grapevine to try a barbecue restaurant, then rode back to write. She was committed, or perhaps should have been. But that's what it takes to be a bike commuter here:
insanity. Um, commitment. Meant to say commitment.
So, please, City Hall, stop trying to sell us on bikes as an alternative means of transportation, at least until all y'all City Hall folks stop being such wusses.