I love Fort Worth. It has world-renowned museums and performance halls, great restaurants, and a vibrant music scene. Actually Fort Worth has it all–excluding adequate public transportation. The Dallas/Fort Worth area has not always been the most bike-friendly either, but thanks to a group of local bicyclists, the Night Riders, Fort Worth is starting to come around.
The Night Riders were formed a little over three years ago and since then have hopped on their bikes every Sunday at 7pm starting at the Chat Room Pub. I asked Brian Mckendry (Night Rider and owner of Trinity Bikes) to tell me a little about the Night Riders. “It’s about getting together with friends, new friends, strangers, going out and seeing the town on bicycle and getting out of the car,” he said.
The ride is usually 12 to 15 miles long–no one is left behind–with a few stops at some of their favorite local bars. (If you’re not in a beer-drinking mood you can meet up with the Night Riders every Wednesday at 7P.M. at the Chat Room for a non-stop 20-mile ride.)
The ride is well organized and the leaders always make sure that all participants abide by the laws and are respectful to the motorists with whom they share the road. And of course responsible drinking is strongly encouraged. The Night Riders are also very open to newcomers so it’s a great place to meet new friends and lose a few pounds while promoting bicycle awareness.
“I’m so glad I discovered the Night Riders: I have made so many new friends, I get to drink beer, and I am in the best shape I’ve been in years,” said Leslie Jewell, Night Rider of 4 months.
I decided to follow the group with my camera one night for a photo blog.
Due to a monster storm on the horizon the numbers were down a little that night. Still there were about 50 riders ready to ride out the storm. First stop: The Basement.
If you ever find yourself in the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards, but you’re not in the mood for the typical Texas country fare, the Basement is your bar. The Basement, which is just that… a basement, is a block and a half down from the White Elephant, the setting for many a scene from Walker, Texas Ranger.
Don’t worry, no need for nun chucks or a black belt in karate at the Basement. This place is very laid back, with live music on select nights. The crowd varies from local musicians and local service industry workers to tourists from around the world. You won’t find the world’s largest beer selection but it’s always ice cold and served with a smile and that’s all you need on a hot Texas night in the Stockyards, especially if you’ve been pedaling a bicycle.
The folks in the group with smart phones began to warn the rest that the storm was growing near so it was off to the second stop of the night, Malone’s Pub, which is on the way back to the Chat Room.
Malone’s is one of those places where everyone knows your name. Malone’s has been crowned by local media with awards such as best Juke Box, Best Pub, Best Bar, and Best Bartenders.
The Night Riders made it just in time to beat the rain and enjoy a great beer selection including several different varieties from Fort Worth’s own Rahr and Son’s brewery.
I decided to ride out the storm at Malone’s while enjoying some ice-cold Jager and some local artists on the jukebox.
The Night Riders had a few beers and some friendly conversation while the storm passed and then were off again.
Velton Hayworth is a local artist who blogs for his personal entertainment website iloveftw.com. He’s also a professional photographer who covers nightlife and entertainment for dfw.com and the Star Telegram. To keep up with Fort Worth nightlife or to be introduced to some of The Fort’s best hole-in-the-wall and mom and pop restaurants follow Velton at twitter.com/ilovefortworth