Biking in Dallas in December: Is it feasible?
February 25, 2014 2:25 PM   Subscribe

I am attending the Roller Derby World Cup in Dallas, TX on December 4-7, 2014. The event will be held at Fair Park (the Dallas fairgrounds). I am wondering if it would be feasible to rent a bike as my mode of transportation in Dallas.

I am OK with biking in the average Dallas temp in December of 39-58F. Looks like there's not a ton of rainfall in that month either. I can bring my own helmet, lock and bike lights.

I have a few specific questions:

1) Is Dallas (speficifally the area around the fairgrounds) bike-friendly or at least bikeable?

2) What's the neighborhood like around the fairgrounds? Unsafe at night? Industrial? I looked it up on Google street view but it's hard to tell.

3) I haven't booked a hotel yet. There's a Super 8 and Holiday Inn 4.8 miles northeast of the fairgrounds according to Google maps. There are hotels downtown that are 2-3 miles away, but I'm wondering if they'll be too expensive. How is biking downtown?

Any advice is appreciated!
posted by stompadour to Travel & Transportation around Dallas, TX (7 answers total)
As someone who grew up around Dallas, my initial reaction to "area around Fair Park" is "bad neighborhood" BUT I would listen to someone who has more current information over me since neighborhoods change all the time, "bad neighborhood" is totally subjective, etc. etc. I do think it depends on a) where you're biking to from Fair Park, and b) how comfortable/street aware you are. Between Downtown and Fair Park is the Deep Ellum neighborhood which is pretty ok. I would be much more wary of staying at a random Holiday Inn because you might find yourself biking home along deserted sketchy industrial roads, although a quick google suggests you might be talking about the one off 75 near SMU which is actually adjacent to some of the wealthiest parts of Dallas, and most of the area in between There and Fair Park is similarly nice.
posted by MadamM at 2:42 PM on February 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, "bad neighborhood" to the point of "unsafe during the day". I'm sure it's fairly block by block, but that's kind of the point -- as an outsider (i.e., not from that particular neighborhood), you won't know which blocks are which.
On the other hand, Dallas does have surprisingly good mass transit, including a rail stop at Fair Park itself. So you could get a bike and use that for travel in safer neighborhoods, while taking the train to the event itself.
posted by katemonster at 3:57 PM on February 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thirding the unsafe opinion. I grew up around Dallas and would dismiss biking to/from the fairgrounds out of hand. I agree with katemonster about DART being a good option, depending of course on where you stay.
posted by hootenatty at 4:18 PM on February 25, 2014

I don't know about the "you're gonna die" opinions but I certainly wouldn't want to bike from the location I think you're looking at (parallel to R.L. Thornton Freeway, blergh) or through downtown. I would not characterize Dallas as a terribly bike-friendly city in general: you don't see them on the streets much outside of residential neighborhoods and bike-trail areas.

I'd probably look harder at taking the train.
posted by furiousthought at 5:11 PM on February 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dallas has the type of temperature extremes that make it generally unfriendly for bike commuting. Also, the metroplex has such a sprawl that cycling to commute is often not feasible. As such, a lot of the city doesn't have the bike lanes/sharrows that other cities have. I wouldn't ride there because it's not the safest place for cars and traffic (especially at night). Highway, some narrow streets, lack of bike lanes, drivers who aren't anticipating cyclists. It's a bad combo.

I moved away a few years ago. The area around Fair Park is definitely a rougher neighborhood, but not horrible. I volunteered in that area and felt okay walking to my car in daylight. I was certainly aware of exactly where I parked because a few blocks makes a big difference. I would not be out rambling around after dark or alone.

I'd share a room with someone downtown or somewhere along the DART line.
posted by 26.2 at 5:46 PM on February 25, 2014

Considering that this past first week of December, Dallas and all north Texas had #Icemaggedon that lasted the better part of a week and closed hundreds of schools and businesses, there is just no predicting the weather that time of year. Also really bad neighborhood but the train stops there as others have said. Look up the DART route and see if there are any hotels accessible from there. Might even be easier to call a taxi to go back and forth.
posted by tamitang at 8:21 PM on February 25, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all!
posted by stompadour at 6:32 AM on February 26, 2014

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