change afoot

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When I started this website, five years ago, I thought of it as a social experiment — writing about something I considered dearly important to Denton — something I saw in other towns and loved them for it. Easy, everyday biking, everywhere. If I wasn’t moving away to seek it out, why not fight and write for it here? I thought “if it makes a difference, then great. If not, I’m sure I’ll learn some things along the way.” I was attracted to biking normalcy and culture other places. I wondered if Denton had it in spades, would more people stay after graduating from college? If more people rode, would they be healthier, would it reduce air pollution, would it save them money?

Most importantly, would it bring them joy as it does for me?

I hoped that if nothing else, the act of documenting people biking in Denton could create a context — a gravity to bring people together. Normalization. When I started riding in Denton, it didn’t feel normal. I used to drive absurdly short distances. I started riding, then riding more, and then I finally started writing about riding. Inspired by bikeportland.org, I registered this blog URL and made my first post after Jasmine was hit-and-run by a car, and it didn’t make the newspaper. She moved away to Austin, and I kept writing even though I was sure there was no audience. Now she’s back in Denton, and now I know there’s an audience.

My original premise was shortsighted or shy. This isn’t an experiment, it’s real life in the real world. We can make a difference much easier than I knew. In that sense, writing for BikeDenton has made me less cynical. I went from feeling like an anonymous person in town to serving on Denton’s Traffic Safety Commission, and I’ve encouraged others volunteer for similar roles. Same goes for Querencia, the community bike shop. Making a difference is as easy as getting off the couch, showing up, and sharing a civil opinion. That can improve your town forever, and the power is real.

So on to the point of this article. BikeDenton is changing hands (and feet). We’re moving our family to Portland, OR in two weeks because I accepted a new career there. I’m turning this site over to two people: Devin Taylor and Christopher Walker. They’ve both been involved and aware of city government, the ongoing fight for bike friendliness, and both have measured tones that fit the spirit of the blog. Seek them out if you’d like to contribute, I’m sure they’d love some contribution. I’ll make sure info@bikedenton.org goes to them.

Stepping away from this role is hard. But it’s life, and I accept the change and move on into new unknowns. I’ve lived 15 great years in Denton, and I became my adult self here. (Don’t worry, the child self never left.) Denton is a slow-cooker for ambition where shy folk can start with a tiny idea, build confidence, and grow it into something bigger than they’d ever imagined.

This won’t be my last post. I still have some ideas to share, especially some frank concern about the state of the Bike Plan. Who knows, perhaps I can remotely contribute, somehow. Maybe I’ll start a new blog. Anything can happen, and I’m ok with that.

-HD

(top photo taken at the top of Multnomah Falls, just east of Portland)

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10 thoughts on “change afoot

  1. msn says:

    Thank you for all you have done. Your blog has been a pleasure to follow. Congratulations and best of luck in your new life in the lovely Northwest.
    Cheers!

  2. dannygreer says:

    Best of luck on your new adventures, Howard. Thanks for all the hard work and heart you put into this blog and into the community. Denton is the better for it.

  3. peter koonce says:

    Congrats on the move to Portland. Let’s go for a ride when you get to town!

  4. I’ve been reading your blog since the early days. Thanks for all your hard work and best wishes on your new adventure.

  5. Nick F says:

    Howard, you are an Inspiration to more than just the biking community. Good luck up there, and come check out all the bike trails in Gainesville, FL sometime!

  6. Lil J says:

    Much love brother, can’t wait till our paths cross again! Skiing this winter?

  7. Chris Merz says:

    Howard, Best of luck in Oregon. Next time you are in Richardson visiting your parents, stop by and say hello!

    Chris Merz

  8. Roland. says:

    Howard, thanks for all you did and continue to do. I will be in Portland in October and visit their regularly. Take care, good luck and see you down the road.
    Roland – Corinth Cycling.

  9. Adrien Wallace says:

    I didn’t realize you started this spot Howard. Safe travels and I hope I get to see your family again someday!

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