1. the lines painted on the road mean nothing.
2. curbs are merely suggestive of where to drive, but are by no means authoritative.
3. nobody knows where they're going until they're in the wrong lane at an intersection in front of me and the light just turned green (this happened 4-5 times in my short drive).
4. emission checks are obviously not required to get car inspected.
Ok, with that out of the way, I must say that the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve is an awesome bike trail. It is a moderately difficult trail with lots of speeding through creek beds and going up and over things. Once I'm more familiar with the trail, I'll probably be able to do it much faster than I did today. Plunging down 20ft in elevation into a creek bed should get you enough momentum to make it up the other side, but only if you don't chicken out on the way down and hit the brakes. There were several places where it paid to chicken out, since there were obstacles requiring much slower speed to negotiate. There was only one portion of the trail that I completely skipped. It was a very steep 20-something foot drop into a creek with bumpy rocks on the way down. I'll probably do that the next time I'm out there. I've had pretty good luck just doing stuff without worrying about wrecking.
OCNP is surprisingly close to home, with a leisurely trip down Inwood through the ghetto as it turns into Hampton. It's a little bit longer of a drive than to LB Houston, but is definitely worth it. Also surprising is how much of what I learned in car driving school works out on the bike trails. Braking strategy is similar (enter slow/straight, turn, exit fast), as is balancing center of gravity to maximize wheel grip and choosing a line around turns that optimizes the exit speed (and uses all of the available trail space).
Several times now (not today, specifically), my front fork suspension has saved my ass from a nasty fall. When I go over a tree root or log that I hadn't planned on, it just sucks it up. My fixed fork Canondale would have shaken me off the bike and/or would have tacoed the front wheel on a lot of the things I've made it past. The other day when it was really cold, I went off of a see-saw prematurely and, to my surprise, I didn't fly over the handlebars. Instead, the front shock sucked it up as I kept pedaling over. It was a cold day, and in the process of this landing, all the snot in my nose I'd been sniffling back just shot out onto the ground. I was shocked and amazed that I didn't fall as I laughed out loud about the snot parcel on the ground.
Aside from banging both of my knees on the frame a few times when I first got the bike, I haven't hurt myself much. I keep thinking I'm going to crush a finger on a tree but I never do. I've completely stopped myself by slamming a shoulder into a tree at speed, but I don't think I took on much damage from such encounters. Gonna find some wood to knock on...