This piece is part of our FTWtoday Q+A series. Do you know someone we should interview? Nominate them here.
Avid cyclist and runner, Jennifer Grissom became the director of Fort Worth Bike Sharing in 2019 and has been working tirelessly to make Cowtown a bike-friendly city — in a fun, collaborative, sustainable way.
We asked Jennifer 10 questions about where she likes to ride, what’s coming up with FWBS, and the cycling future of FTW. Keep reading to help decide where new bike stations should be.
What is your ideal day in Fort Worth?
I usually get up and go run with friends early in the morning. Then my husband makes me a coffee with his fancy espresso machine, and we usually have a few minutes together. I walk a couple minutes to the bike station and get on a shared bike. As active as I am, if it was my ideal day I would take a nap. Then we would ride our bikes down to Salsa Límon and have our favorite tacos.
What is your favorite place in Fort Worth to ride one of the shared bikes?
I really like getting out to Airfield Falls lately. You can go through Trinity Park and see kids playing and families cooking out. You pass Crestwood it gets shady and serene. Then there’s a hill you can climb for some exercise before you get to the waterfall. You just pause for a minute and feel like you’re in a secret place.
What are the last three things you did locally and why did you enjoy them?
The last big thing we did was Arts Goggle. We were out there promoting bike sharing and we’re able to interact with adults and kids. It’s really fun to see families excited about bikes. A lot of the parents said, “the kids have bikes but we don’t.” Well, here’s a perfect solution for family fun.
We’ve also done the Tour de Foundry. We do different themes, and the last one we did was pickleball. We rode to the Foundry District, had muffins and coffee, played pickleball, had appetizers and drinks, and then rode back and had a flight at Maple Branch Brewery.
I haven’t done any races recently, but I’m about to do a triathlon out at Marine Creek Lake with Playtri, which is a Fort Worth triathlon organization.
Who are three local leaders that you might look to for either business advice or a positive influence on your life?
I was lucky to work with Lanny Lancarte of Righteous Foods. I learned a lot from him — not to just sit around and wait for everything to be perfect. You can adjust as you go. Our businesses are vastly different, but in the short time that I worked with him, I learned so much that I still apply to this day.
We are now a department of Trinity Metro, and I have a great leadership team here. I’m always able to ask for advice even though it may be someone who works on trains or buses. They’re able to help me flesh out some ideas or think of a new solution.
Then a third would be my family — my husband and my mom. They’re both really successful in their businesses and we are able to bounce ideas off of each other.
You became the director just before the COVID-19 pandemic. How did the Fort Worth Bike Sharing program change during that time?
I always feel guilty saying this, but it really was good for us because no one had anything else to do. Riding a bike was perfect because you’re six feet away but still kind of together + you’re outside. We kept thinking that it would slow down, but we just stayed busy. April was our second busiest month. I’m pretty encouraged by that and it’s exciting that’s our new normal.
How is Fort Worth Bike Sharing working with the city to make Fort Worth more bike-friendly?
We are definitely an advocate for the new bond that just passed. We keep in touch with city planners and the different organizations that have a say in true protected bike lanes. We really push the idea that these small, incremental improvements make a big difference.
There is a lot of gathering data and sharing that information. Most people are not opposed to bike safety — it’s just a matter of prioritizing it. I work to show how many people are riding and how people can stay safe.
Several new stations have opened in the last few months. What are your expansion plans going forward?
We have several 1.0 kiosks and we’re waiting till we get some more bikes to fill those stations out — particularly to the east and south of Fort Worth.
We are applying for grants to be able to add five new stations a year. It’s expensive, but that would include some new equipment and new docks that are a little more flexible. We plan to fill in areas with the new equipment and move some of these larger stations to the outskirts of town.
We have a survey going on right now so that people can give feedback on where they want stations. I know where we aren’t currently serving Fort Worth and I want to go to those areas — but I also want to place stations in areas where they’ll be widely used.
We have such a wide range of riders — people who ride for fun, TCU students who commute, and people who drive their car downtown and then ride around there. We also have people who really depend on our bikes as their form of transportation. I want to take into account all of those things when we place a station. It’s a lot to consider in addition to the bike safety of the area.
Do you have plans for when the regional bike trail is complete?
We work really closely with Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD), Friends of the River and Streams and Valleys and we are keeping a close eye on that project. We plan to follow the trail up through North Richland Hills and Grapevine. Our goal is to be out there when the trail is complete.
What do you think Fort Worth will look like in 10 years?
I think in 10 years we’ll see a lot more of the connected bike paths where you really can go from a neighborhood in the south all the way to the Stockyards or from east to west — both on the trail or using the bike lanes. The density of Fort Worth is growing and more public transportation makes sense for time, the environment, and health.
We have a great city council and mayor in place. We already are a fairly bike-friendly city, but we have a long way to go for it to be truly bike safe everywhere. I have this vision of specific bike lights and lanes that are painted green and kept up and with protective planters.
Do you have any events coming up soon?
We’re also doing the Roll or Stroll Weekend Fri., June 3-Sun., June 5. There are 25 Blue Zone-approved restaurants and if you walk or ride a bike to them, you are entered into a raffle with free eco-friendly swag — like reusable utensils and dry-fit towels.
Check out FWBS’s event calendar for details.
Bonus Question: What local menu item are you looking forward to having at Roll or Stroll?
I’m vegan, so I am a big proponent of trying plant-forward. I really love the tofu poke bowl from Righteous Foods — or the baby kale salad.