Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Bromptonite gone Multi-modal!

In a post, a few months ago, I talked about my friend Michael McNair, who got hit by an automobile, while riding his bicycle to work from home, back in May. Michael was hospitalized for roughly three plus months. By God's grace, Michael survived the nasty accident, miraculously, and was discharged from the hospital late last month. Michael is still in therapy, but he is in one piece.

Below is a picture of McNair from the summer of 2010. McNair is the one with the goatee, whose wristwatch is visible in the photo. I am the fat guy with glasses. Just kid din' - it is just that big shirt that I am wearing that has made me look like a blimp :)
Anyhow, two weekends back, the McNair's had a open house to celebrate Michael's release from the hospital. I decided to go see my friend, whose return from the hospital I was eagerly waiting for. I was pretty pumped about going to see Michael. However, I didn't want to drive to go see him. I didn't want to ride all the way and back either, given how hot it was that day. Plus, I believe Michael's home is roughly 28 miles from where I live. I wanted a green-compromise. The solution I came up with was to take public transportation part of the way.

The first part of my trip was  to ride from my home to the Farmers Branch DART station, which is about 6.5 miles from my home. For the second part of my trip, I got on the Green Line to Fair Park station. I think it took about 30 minutes to get to Fair Park from Farmers Branch.
While I didn't venture out to check out any point of interest around the Fair Park station, I did notice there was the Women's Museum; a landmark I want to visit sometime.
Fair Park station was reasonably clean, compared to some other stations I have had the pleasure of visiting, elsewhere. However, on a toasty day, my recommendation would be take lots of ice-cold water with you, if you are riding the DART. The platform gets toasty and I had a difficult time finding a water fountain. Brahma didn't seem to mind though!
I have travelled on the DART train before. It doesn't matter how many times I ride the train, I never get tired of it. There is always something new to learn on the train; you can read a book, strike a conversation with an acquaintance, meet a new friend, so on and so forth. This time, I befriended a Dallas Police Officer, who is a Mountain Biker; who has not only ridden a bike in the States, but also in Germany, while he was in the Service overseas. It was a great conversation, given the wide range of topics we covered. Well, as you can imagine, many of the topics were around the Brompton and my helmet and how both of us had similar taste in bicycles and bicycle accessories.
The third and fourth parts of my commute were on DART buses #60 and #385. On weekends the frequency of DART buses is not great, but it is still better than not having that option.
I eventually got got to McNair's home a couple of hours, or so, after I left home. The trip wasn't too bad in terms of travel time, given this commute took place in Dallas. I have travelled similar distances in much shorter time, elsewhere.

Behold - the very lucky and great fella, Michael McNair! Needless to say, I am overjoyed!
There were quite a few nice bicycle memorabilia in McNair's home. I couldn't help taking a photo of this wine rack. Neat!
Hello Coco!
After a very nice visit, with my friend and his family, and other visitors from DORBA and Michael's work, I headed back to Irving. The first two parts of the return trip were on buses #385 and #60, respectively.

Here is me and Brahma, on #60, on the way back to Dallas.
Overall, it was a great trip to go see my friend. There was one glitch on the DART bus (see below in the Postscript), but it was a better way to travel, than driving my car to Garland and back, burning all that gas for just one person.

Peace :)


Disappointment with lack of common sense in some DART operators
On my return trip, the driver of bus #385 didn't say anything about me bringing my bicycle onboard. However, the driver of bus #60 told me that I couldn't bring my folding bicycle onboard. I told him that it is a folding bike, which can not be securely carried on the bike rack in the front of the DART bus. Unfortunately, he wouldn't budge, in spite of the very sparsely occupied bus. I finally offered to sit in the back of the bus, which seemed to pacify him. This is something I plan to take up with DART. This  disturbed me a great deal, because I saw strollers aboard; as well as people with luggage larger than my folded Brompton. I understand that a folding bike is not something one sees often, on DART buses, in Dallas, but give me a break. Does it take more than the brain power of a stone to figure out that, by the simple process of examining the size of a folded Brompton, that it should be allowed on board? Especially when there are hardly any passengers on the bus??

I am not quite sure that DART regulations specifically prohibit the bringing a folded bicycle onboard; especially, a Brompton, given how compactly a Brompton folds.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the regulations of MTA. They do allow folded bicycles on many buses; not on express buses, however.

I briefly read through the DART regulations regarding taking a bicycle onboard. I will have to do some more digging before I can make any definite conclusions.

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