Here is my write-up of this year’s Dallas Cyclesomatic weekend:
The year has almost passed us by; it’s time to think about finishing up the holidays – what to cook, who we haven’t yet bought presents for, where are we going to ring in the new year. But it’s also an opportunity to look back and remember all the great times we’ve had. One of mine? Well it was one weekend in Dallas…
The Dallas Cyclesomatic Weekend ended up being two days of bikey delight. Hosted by Bike Friendly Oak Cliff (BFOC), Cyclesomatic is now in its fourth year running. Never heard of it?
Well it’s a month long celebration of the bicycle, and a month of amazing events put on by various groups throughout Dallas. With 15 events in all, starting with the Switching Gears’ Tour to the
Lake, it sure has grown since its first incarnation. But as is usual, the folks over at BFOC saved the best for last, which was the Spooky Cross Race weekend and the Texas
Custom Bike Show!
There’s something about cyclocross, I’ve written about it before on my website, but unless you have been to one of the bigger races to enjoy the racing – and the shenanigans – then you are missing out. Cross, like track racing, is not just for the racers but for the spectators, too. Except at a ‘cross race, you can blow horns, ring cowbells and heckle the racers. And who
doesn’t like the sound of that?
I started my weekend going to the Custom Bike Show. This year was the first time it’s been wrestled away from Austin, and moving it, not only to Dallas, but to Deep Ellum – at Club DaDa – was a great change of scenery. Sure, Austin is cool and has a great cycling culture, but if you haven’t ever been to DFW to see what we have to offer and to see the burgeoning scene in and
around downtown, Dallas you are missing out. It’s huge. So, to have something like this show, with these exhibitors in this location was amazing. Fifteen exhibitors in all, the show had everything from custom carbon MTB frames, which I got to ride around and jump off curbs; hand-made Steel, which is still my material of choice; and one off Titanium frames. If you’ve never ridden Ti, go now. It’s amazing and it makes me miss my Ti road racer.
All these builders in one room, all of whom make their own products by hand, one
by one, gets me going! I have a history with custom bikes, I was fortunate to have known a
builder when I was young and have had a couple built for me. Sure, getting a mass produced
super steed off the rack is great. You get the R&D and Engineering that only a company as
large as Trek, Cannondale or Giant can afford.
But what if you want something different? Or what if you want something very specific,
something made for you? Then check out these one man bands, who, like most musicians, practice their trade in their garage.
Brad Cason from KirkLee in Austin is a great example of this. His material of choice is
carbon and when he decided to start building frames, he used the oven – in his kitchen!
I hung around the show, talking not only to the builders, but my friends who were starting
to come in. Everyone was excited to see all the beautiful bikes, and the free Shiner kept them
around, but I had to leave. I had to make my way over to Oak Cliff. There were racers who
needed to be heckled!
The ride from Deep Ellum through Downtown to Oak Cliff was great, especially with the new bike routes and Sharrows which Dallas has put in. I was with some friends from the Manly
Bulge Bicycle Club and together we all made it – finally – to the course. Man, it sure made me wish I was racing!
Saturday’s race was at Rosemont Elementary and the course was BEAUTIFUL! Up, down, around, through a playground and across a football field. But I didn’t have time to worry about whether or not I was racing, I had to find Joel and assemble the troops. There was heckling that needed doing!
We blew. We blew so hard I had marks on my lips. Joel brought a dozen plastic vuvuzelas and passed them out.
Those, along with the cowbells – which are a requirement for spectators at cross races – made the day. I was told that we could be heard from every corner of the course. The next day’s race was even better! This time the course would be at the Dallas Heritage Village, which meant that the racers would not only be riding over dirt and barriers, but also 100 year old bricked roads as well! The images which came out of the day were amazing and the beer donated to BFOC by the Rahr
Brewery in Fort Worth was a great addition. By the end of the day, beer hand-ups were the norm and EVERYONE was having an amazing time. I am so glad I was there to take part in it and help
Thank you to Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, the Rahr Brewery, Attorney Bill Shirer, Eno’s Pizza, the Oak Cliff Bike Co and last but not least the Dallas Heritage Village for the AMAZING venue, I
can’t wait for next year!