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Old 02-03-03, 06:23 AM   #1
Da Tinker
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Houston cyclists fight back!

Houston, Texas has rightly gained the reputation as one of the most bicycle unfriendly cities in the USA. Rude, fast drivers, narrow lanes, crowded streets, heck, they even wiped out downtown bike lanes to make room for more car lanes.

But there is a ray of hope: http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory...olitan/1762178
It seems Metro is trying to default on their promise to but bike racks on city buses. They keep finding other things to spend the money on. Well, local cyclists have called them out on it.

And to think this place is the home of the largest bicycle charity ride around (10,000+ riders last year): http://www.ms150.org/ms150/
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Old 02-03-03, 05:48 PM   #2
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Someone I know told me that when he was in houston he didn't see a SINGLE person riding a bike, not once in the whole time he was there- a few days, but you'd think you'd see one bike. He didn't see people walking either. Everyone drives. And we wonder why houston was recently named the 'fattest' city in the US! Surprising, considering that the weather is nice, and Lance comes from TX- you'd think they'd pick up on that by now!
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Old 02-03-03, 09:52 PM   #3
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Don't forget that at one time, I don't know if it is true still. They had the worst air quality of any city.
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Old 02-03-03, 10:11 PM   #4
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I live in the Houston Area -

Have actually had empty beer can thrown at me from a bubba in a pickup truck that didnt think he should have to share the road with me!

That being said, for every A hole, there are 10 nice people who give us space.

I even had a flat one dark evening. The nicest (older) gentleman stopped and asked if I was okay. Stayed there with me for light while I changed the tube. Even said he was sorry he didnt know how to help.

I do however live in the "countryburbs" so things may be different. Other than riding the moonlight ramble, I dont ride in the city at all! (Except for the suburban part where my club rides start)

One thing to remember about Houston - a bike is not the ideal way to travel. I have friends who live in suburbs and are 40+ miles from downtown.
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Old 02-04-03, 04:12 AM   #5
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Houston's greatest asset is "Super-Tex" -- A.J. Foyt. Let's get him on a bike!
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Old 02-04-03, 06:58 AM   #6
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Having been to the Houston area many, many times in the past, I think that there may be several reasons why few people ride seriously there:
1) It's d@mn hot half of the year, and humid, too!
2) High crime in many city neighbourhoods-Houston has slums that make the South Bronx look good!
3) Lotsa broken glass on the streets-not only in said slums, but nearly everywhere (probably bubbas doin' it.....)
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Old 02-04-03, 07:26 PM   #7
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That's the impression I've gotten. The burbs are really far from the city and it's a huge sprawl, so why ride your bike in a crummy city with broken glass!!

I guess I should thank my lucky stars I live in Montreal, even with the bad potholes.
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Old 02-18-03, 03:38 PM   #8
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I live and ride in Houston, as much as I hate to do both. I used to live in Austin where I rode every day and most cars made room for ME to ride on the street.

Back to Houston, yes it is very hard to ride in the so called designated bike lanes as there is always construction occuring along these routes. Yes there is glass over most roads, even in the nicer parts of town. Drivers sure think that it's their right to honk and yell obscenities at me while I ride. Most roads are in piss poor condition I have a hard time driving down them in my Wrangler much less on my road bike. I have ridden through Downtown, but only on the weekends, which helps to add miles to my ride as I have to circumvent the construction on in order to bless us with a light rail system that will be of no benefit to anyone along the route it is being built on.

I mostly ride out by Lake Houston, in Humble, or in the Dairy-Ashford/Memorial area. Sometimes I hit the Memorial Park loop to work on cadence and sprinting. I stay off of the streets as much as I can, but that means that I have to utilize hike/bike paths where there are people that are more dangerous to me than the cars on the road. What with their walking four people across the path, or dogs running wild off of the leash, or children who do their best to move but in the path that I am trying to carve.

Then there is the poor air quality, which is tainted not only with smog and also the stench of so many drivers smoking in their cars. the weather is indeed hot and humid, but I have become acclimated and even though I should not, I do ride in the middle of the day during the summer. Others however cannot survive just walking outside to get the mail in some of the worst weather much less try to ride their bike.

I've had cigarette butts thrown at me, bottles thrown down and shattered in my path, and even car doors opened on me. Yet I still persevere. I do so only because I love this sport of ours so darn much.

You won't see a cyclist out and about unless you are in the right part of town. During the day there are a slew of bike messengers navigating downtown, or a ton of cyclists out at Memorial Park. You'll find a few cyclists on the farm roads outside of town but also a bunch out in the Clear Lake/NASA area.

So no, it is not easy to be a cyclist in Houston, although we do try.

Last edited by lonestarcyclist; 02-18-03 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 02-18-03, 06:07 PM   #9
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I could not have summed it up better!

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Old 02-18-03, 10:25 PM   #10
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Houston can be a challenge to ride in -- I should know, since I've lived in and around Houston for all of my 37 years. The problem isn't so much the people as it is the fact that Houston represents the kind of spread-out sprawl you get when a metro area has no zoning and no planning to speak of, and everything seems like it's a long way from everything else. Here, the car (or truck) is king and the needs of cyclists are really not given much priority.

Having said that, cycling around here is not a lost cause provided you are willing to travel a bit to your starting point, or if you live out in the suburbs and are close to some of the outlying farm-to-market roads. If you get out a bit to places like Magnolia, Montgomery, Conroe, Willis, Fulshear, Sealy, Coldspring and so forth you'll find some sweet roads to ride on and some nice trails for MTB action. As for riding in the inner-city areas, well, that's only advisable if you have a death wish.

As for the heat, if you keep hydrated and keep moving you'll do fine. It's no worse to deal with than the sub-zero torture that passes for weather in the northern climes -- tonight I went riding in 68 degree weather; how about y'all?
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Old 02-19-03, 03:58 PM   #11
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I knew there was a reason for not moving to Houston... LOL.
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Old 02-19-03, 04:07 PM   #12
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I'm sure there are thousands of reasons to not move to Houston. Now there's one more.....
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Old 02-19-03, 05:18 PM   #13
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My grandparents lived in Houston for twenty years. I'm sorry folks, but that is the nastiest place I've visited. The people are great, but the insects, heat, humidity and crime are tough to deal with.
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Old 02-20-03, 05:57 PM   #14
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Other things I've heard about the city:
-nary a pedestrian or cyclist even in the middle of the day downtown
- nearly impossible to get a pizza delivered after midnight but gun shops open 24/7. Guns aplenty.
- almost no public transit
-crummy radio stations

But the orange juice is supposedly amazing.
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Old 02-20-03, 06:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by wabbit
Other things I've heard about the city:
-nary a pedestrian or cyclist even in the middle of the day downtown
- nearly impossible to get a pizza delivered after midnight but gun shops open 24/7. Guns aplenty.
- almost no public transit
-crummy radio stations

But the orange juice is supposedly amazing.
Okay - I live here in Houston and really dont like the city, But...

I worked downtown and can say that there are always pedestrians downtown. We do have a pretty extensive tunnel system so many of the people are below ground. (Too darn hot here during the summer) As for cyclists - mainly messengers and UPS people. Not alot of commuters, etc.

We do have good radio stations though... I have trouble finding decent stations when I travel for work. I guess its just where you live is what you are used to.

Public Transit - who needs it! (just kidding)

Orange juice? Hmmmmmm? Maybe I am missing something here.
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Old 02-20-03, 06:50 PM   #16
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I feel for you Road Riders in Houston...it's one thing to push hard for trail advocacy with hikers and equestrians fighting for dirt trails - I can't imagine what it's like trying to work with car and truck drivers. You have my sympathy!
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Old 02-21-03, 03:59 AM   #17
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That reminds me of a large, neon sign I saw in downtown El Cajon, California circa 1979: GUNS AND LIQUOR! Believe it or not, it was a liquor/gun store (open 24/7 of course).
For those of you who haven't been in El Cajon, it is the convenience store capitol of the world -- every intersection has four -- one on each corner. El Cajon is also the entrepreneur capitol of the world -- you won't believe what craftsmen are making in the small industrial parks that dominate the area (Pioneer Ave.). Ride your bike along the back alleys some day as I used to do, and you'll see guys making gorgeous Ferrari replicas, airplanes, you name it. Here's to El Cajon, California!!!!
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Old 02-21-03, 12:38 PM   #18
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La Mesa, near El Cajon, also hides one of the best bicycle framebuilders and painters alive, Brian Baylis. His machines make Serottas, Litespeeds, etc., look like the shopping carts in front of Safeway.
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Old 02-21-03, 01:26 PM   #19
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His machines make Serottas, Litespeeds, etc., look like the shopping carts in front of Safeway.
Now don't you be lumping Serottas with Litespeeds, fella'
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Old 08-20-05, 11:40 AM   #20
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If you bike Fulshear:
The I-69 Trans Texas Corridor has been rerouted around Houston and will now go through either Fulshear or Sealy. The Fulshear route is along favorite bike route of 359, Winner-Foster road and through Fulshear. This is a huge project to bring NAFTA products to the US. TxDot will choose which route in the next few months. Public comments are due to TxDot by 8/29/05. This was only announced a few weeks ago so little time has been allowed for you to comment. Please see www.fulshear.com for maps, information, talking protest points, and links to TxDot for protest forms or on line comment form. The beautiful tree lined area Houston bikers love would be destroyed. Your comments do count, TxDot says recreational usage will help decide on Fulshear or Sealy. Protest section 408, Fulshear route in the next 7days!

Thank you
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Old 08-20-05, 12:03 PM   #21
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hey maybe they should push for bike lanes in the trans texas corridor - since gas, oil, trains, and everything else is going in.

would be great for some nice long centuries

http://www.keeptexasmoving.com/default.aspx
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Old 08-20-05, 07:27 PM   #22
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my bike was my transportation when i lived in Galveston - but when i went to Houson, i drove. too scary to try to ride a bike.

and there's been no reason to live in Houston since Clear Channel killed KLOL.
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Old 08-20-05, 08:07 PM   #23
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I have no desire to go near Houston, beyond all the crap I've heard about it.

As far as the TransTxCorridor - its cutting through my town; should be fun getting across compared to the ease of which I cross I-35 daily now.
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Old 08-21-05, 12:00 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcsanity1
That being said, for every A hole, there are 10 nice people who give us space.
Well, that's about all I need to know. 9% A holes is pretty frightening. Here in Seattle I would estimate about 1 in 1000. In Philly, maybe 1 in 100.
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Old 08-21-05, 02:07 PM   #25
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Trying to back out of promises made to bicyclists is exactly what happened in Boston.
After promising to make Boston more "bicycle and pedestrian friendly", Mayor Thomas "mumbles" Menino then layed off the just-hired bicycle coordinator. (Massbike's Tim Baldwin, I think. Middle-aged memory is creeping up on me.) Other promises included more bike lanes, and newer, more modern bike racks at public buildings. Some of those racks were to have been placed inside, where space permitted. This would have been great for security concerns.

What has happened: Nothing. Boston has mostly narrow streets that were laid out on cowpaths from colonial times. There are constantly gridlocked cars, and many drivers have an absolutely murderous attitude toward bicyclists and pretty much everyone else. (Not all drivers have this problem though. )

Area cyclists and advocacy groups are dedicated and trying, but I'm not optimistic.

Oh yeah, Mumbles did do something: He hired more parking enforcement officers. (i.e. Meter Maids) Funny thing about Boston: If someone owes parking fines, they will literally hunt that person to the ends of the world. This tells me something about their priorities.

I've sometimes wondered why they don't sell those Denver Boot things to the general public, as an anti-theft device.
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