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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-31-09, 01:15 PM   #1
texasdiver
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Houston area?

Any Houston area bike commuters here?

My wife is not 100% happy with her current job and is looking at some offers in the Sugar Land and Katy areas around Houston. I'm a HS science teacher so I'd be looking for teaching jobs in whatever location we would land in.

I've looked at some of the big master-planned communities in that area....especially Cinco Ranch in Katy and they seem to have endless sidewalks and paths for riding. But they don't particularly seem to go anyplace but around in circles. And I don't see many cyclists in the streets.

One assumes that if I found a teaching job within the same local community or subdivision where we live then biking or even walking to work would be an option. I'm curious what it would be like if the bike commute involved longer distances and the need to ride on sections of the larger feeder roads in those areas. Do people do it? Are there adequate shoulders? Is it insane?

Luckily as a teacher I'd be missing the peak heat and would be doing most of the riding in the fall, winter, and spring. I'm just wondering if suburban Houston is at all doable for bike commuting.
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Old 07-31-09, 01:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
Any Houston area bike commuters here?

My wife is not 100% happy with her current job and is looking at some offers in the Sugar Land and Katy areas around Houston. I'm a HS science teacher so I'd be looking for teaching jobs in whatever location we would land in.

I've looked at some of the big master-planned communities in that area....especially Cinco Ranch in Katy and they seem to have endless sidewalks and paths for riding. But they don't particularly seem to go anyplace but around in circles. And I don't see many cyclists in the streets.

One assumes that if I found a teaching job within the same local community or subdivision where we live then biking or even walking to work would be an option. I'm curious what it would be like if the bike commute involved longer distances and the need to ride on sections of the larger feeder roads in those areas. Do people do it? Are there adequate shoulders? Is it insane?

Luckily as a teacher I'd be missing the peak heat and would be doing most of the riding in the fall, winter, and spring. I'm just wondering if suburban Houston is at all doable for bike commuting.
Houston commuters exist. I'm one. I'm in Spring Branch and I commute to Texas Southern University.

The hot areas for the biking lifestyle are the Heights, the west side of the inner 610 loop, and the Medical Center. My part of Spring Branch (North of I-10) also works fairly well for carless/car light living.

Most of the "Master" planned communities around here are automobile centric; consequently, what sidewalk/paths for non-motorized transit go nowhere and are for recreation not transportation.

Last edited by Sirrus Rider; 07-31-09 at 01:41 PM. Reason: additional content.
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Old 07-31-09, 01:57 PM   #3
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That looks like a pretty good haul from Spring Branch to TX Southern

Yeah...I haven't really sat down with a map and tried to figure out where the bike paths go in places like Cinco. But it did seem like they weren't transportation-oriented like the bike paths one might find in places like say Portland or Denver.

Fortunately or unfortunately my wife will be driving our choice of location should we decide to move your direction. She is a physician and earns MUCH more money than me. And she'll want to be very close to whatever clinic group/hospital she decides to work at. Especially because she does a lot of OB work and can be on hospital call at all hours. If she decides to take a position in Katy or Sugarland then we'd want to move close to her work for her sake. We also have 3 young daughters ages 3, 6, and 11 so easy access to good local schools would be a huge factor. Especially schools they can walk to or take the bus.

My commuting situation is going to come in a distant 3rd to my wife's and my kids. Luckily science teaching jobs are pretty easy to find in TX so I'm guessing it will be possible to find teaching opportunities close enough to any of those communities.

Right now I only bike once in a while even though I'm set up pretty well for it. The reason being that I generally have to pick up all 3 girls from 3 different schools each afternoon and can't do that by bike. Once they are a touch older I'm hoping to bike all the time.
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Old 08-03-09, 12:24 PM   #4
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i grew up in a sugar land subdivision. when i left i vowed to never live in suburbia again. i will leave it at that.

i see cyclists occasionally when i go home to visit. the streets are not laid out very well for cyclists or pedestrians. the trails and walkways you see are for exercise and not so much for a car-free lifestyle choice.
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Old 08-04-09, 01:49 PM   #5
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Some Additional thoughts on commuting/car free in Houston

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Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
That looks like a pretty good haul from Spring Branch to TX Southern

Yeah...I haven't really sat down with a map and tried to figure out where the bike paths go in places like Cinco. But it did seem like they weren't transportation-oriented like the bike paths one might find in places like say Portland or Denver.

Fortunately or unfortunately my wife will be driving our choice of location should we decide to move your direction. She is a physician and earns MUCH more money than me. And she'll want to be very close to whatever clinic group/hospital she decides to work at. Especially because she does a lot of OB work and can be on hospital call at all hours. If she decides to take a position in Katy or Sugarland then we'd want to move close to her work for her sake. We also have 3 young daughters ages 3, 6, and 11 so easy access to good local schools would be a huge factor. Especially schools they can walk to or take the bus.

My commuting situation is going to come in a distant 3rd to my wife's and my kids. Luckily science teaching jobs are pretty easy to find in TX so I'm guessing it will be possible to find teaching opportunities close enough to any of those communities.

Right now I only bike once in a while even though I'm set up pretty well for it. The reason being that I generally have to pick up all 3 girls from 3 different schools each afternoon and can't do that by bike. Once they are a touch older I'm hoping to bike all the time.
One thing you have to keep in mind is the climate. Winters are mild compared to other parts of the country; however, summers are scorching. This does impact shopping activities as perishable items will have to be iced down in a cooler which means either a trailer for a conventional bike or a trike like a Worksman or a Schwinn Meridian/Town & Countr.y

If you plan to be completely car free plan to have more than one bike. Groceries for a small family is going to take more than a full set of panniers to carry home (Unless you make grocery shopping a family activity and have everyone carry part of the load.. Not a bad concept, but once you have teenagers it would be like herding cats.) So you may need a cargo bike or trike. I'd also look for neighborhoods close to schools (for the kids) and have at least one grocery store within 5 miles and be fairly close to a hospital with an emergency center.

The Spring Branch/Memorial area around Memorial City (including North of I-10) works well due to it's proximity to Memorial Herman Memorial City and the Spring Branch Medical Center. Plus a fair number of grocery stores within a 5 mile radius. Kroger at 2400 Gessner, HEB at 10251 Kempwood and at I-10W Feeder and Bunker Hill.

Also ensure there is a route to you intended workplace. Westview which runs the length of Spring Branch is residential with intermittent bikelanes that runs East-west that puts your right at the 610 loop and a short distance from downtown (via run south on N. Post Oak and then east through Memorial and Tinsley parks) or even to the Med Center via Shepherd drive .
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Old 08-06-09, 11:15 AM   #6
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cinco ranch is not that bad for cycling, just ride on the sidewalk, & if you're going to teach at CRHS then you'll be faster than anybody there with a car, when I went there it had heavy traffic right after school but if you waited twenty minutes it was pretty empty. Since it's a residential area (full of kids) I don't see much of a problem with someone riding on a sidewalk or even on the street. You could walk to your job but since it's pretty hot until end of october I don't see why you would want to. If you move there you'll be in a really nice area.
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