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  1. #1
    Junior Member dveit84's Avatar
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    Commuting in Houston

    Hi there-

    So I'm considering taking a job in Houston located near the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Because I do not have a license I will have to commute by bicycle daily. I've been hearing from many people that getting around in Houston without a car is simply not possible. Are there any of you on here who commute in Houston (or even better, specifically this area of Houston)? Is it just unbearable in the summer heat?

    I'm trying to locate an apartment around that area but most (read: all so far) of the apartment complexes have a maximum income restriction. Because of that I'll probably have to rent a small house.

    Dan
    "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." -H. G. Wells

  2. #2
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dveit84 View Post
    Hi there-

    So I'm considering taking a job in Houston located near the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Because I do not have a license I will have to commute by bicycle daily. I've been hearing from many people that getting around in Houston without a car is simply not possible. Are there any of you on here who commute in Houston (or even better, specifically this area of Houston)? Is it just unbearable in the summer heat?

    I'm trying to locate an apartment around that area but most (read: all so far) of the apartment complexes have a maximum income restriction. Because of that I'll probably have to rent a small house.

    Dan

    Hi Dan,

    I'm a little south of George Bush IA in Spring Branch specifically and I work at University of Houston Central campus. To answer your question, it ranges from difficult to impossible to commute 100% by bike; however, there are pockets in this town where it's doable.

    As for the heat it boils down to planning. Allowing for plenty of time to get to your destination and to cool down. Shower facilities are helpful but not essential. Typically, I shower the night before and when I get to UH I'm reasonably clean and odor free for an 8 hr shift..

    It also helps to commute before the sun comes up and drink water like a fish..
    Riding 19 Years of Specialized Sirrus Tradition.
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    1988 Specialized Sirrus, 1989 Alpine Monitor Pass MTB, 2007 Specialized Sirrus 700C hybrid, 2007 Schwinn Town & Country trike, 1970 "Resto-Improved" Raleigh 20, 1970 "WIP" Raleigh 20, and 1980 "WIP" Schwinn Town & Country trike

  3. #3
    Senior Member andyprough's Avatar
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    Hi Dan, you might find that one of the problems in Houston is the humidity. If you aren't used to high humidity you might need an adjustment period. Having access to shower facilities isn't a bad idea, and like Sirrus said, you definitely want to drink water like a fish throughout the day. The heat itself isn't really unbearable though if you are in decent shape. I bicycle commute in Austin where we normally have slightly higher temperatures but lower humidity than Houston, and the summer sun doesn't bother me.

    Welcome to Texas!

  4. #4
    bkj
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    Hi Dan,

    I commute every day in Houston, but from the west side to just north of downtown, so I can't comment on the IAH area. You'll do fine with the summer after an adjustment period. It is not unbearable. Give it time. You'll adapt much quicker by being outside than those that stay in the A/C all day. You'll love the winter!

    It's been a long time since I was in an apartment. I've never heard of a "maximum income restriction."

    Welcome to Houston. You will eventually get a car.

  5. #5
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    Hi Dan. I'm also Dan.

    My wife and I are about to start commuting by bike again (we have't since we moved to Houston in August). We aren't in your area either, but it will most likely just take some planning and exploring on your part. For our commute, there is a road that will take us straight to work, but it is very busy, especially in hte morning and evening, and it's 'bike lane' is more of a faded line debris field. It's completely unsafe. So instead I mapped out a route through the neighborhoods between our apartment and work. It's got a lot of turns and crosses 3 busy roads, but it's infinitely more safe than taking the 'main road.' I would get on google maps, and see what lies between your apartment and work.

    As for the apartments with maximum income restriction, I'm not surprised. This usually happens in more depressed areas of a city (I lived near such a complex when I lived outside of Washington DC). It's made for specifically for people who have low incomes.
    IAH is also in a kind-of sketchy area, and very close to Greenspoint - also lovingly referred to as Gunspoint. So I'm not surprised. It's not the safest of areas from what I hear so I'd be very careful where you're biking.

    Are you working for Exxon? I know they have a campus up there, but are eventually relocating to the Woodlands. Haliburton also has a campus right on the other side of the beltway from IAH as well.

    Good luck!

    Start saving for a car. I know we all want to bike everywhere, but it's not feasible in Houston. It's just the reality.
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  6. #6
    Junior Member dveit84's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input all. The company is actually Baker Hughes, located off Rankin Road. It's not a matter of not having enough money for a car, unfortunately I got arrested for a DUI so I will be without my license for some time. I think I'm going to pass on this job as most people say that it's unfeasible to commute year round, especially for that area (Gunspoint).
    "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." -H. G. Wells

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    Sounds like a reasonable choice. Chevron has a major presence in Danville, CA, which is a great bike commute area, and you get to watch the Tour of California go up Mt. Diablo each year. Also an easy BART ride into San Francisco and you might want to try an S24O (Learn About Bikes with Rivendell Bicycle Works) with the Rivendell gang in Walnut Creek.

  8. #8
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dveit84 View Post
    Thanks for the input all. The company is actually Baker Hughes, located off Rankin Road. It's not a matter of not having enough money for a car, unfortunately I got arrested for a DUI so I will be without my license for some time. I think I'm going to pass on this job as most people say that it's unfeasible to commute year round, especially for that area (Gunspoint).
    Been there and done that. About to get my Intoxalock taken off.. (Then the 2 year wait to have my record expunged.) (I'm in the Divert Program)
    Riding 19 Years of Specialized Sirrus Tradition.
    Live in Houston? Come to http://bicyclecommutehouston.blogspot.com/
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  9. #9
    Junior Member dveit84's Avatar
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    Sorry - I'm from Virginia and am not familiar with Intoxalock but it sounds like the "interlock" we have here in Virginia. Basically a breathalyzer in the car. Good luck buddy and no more drinking and driving.
    "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." -H. G. Wells

  10. #10
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dveit84 View Post
    Sorry - I'm from Virginia and am not familiar with Intoxalock but it sounds like the "interlock" we have here in Virginia. Basically a breathalyzer in the car. Good luck buddy and no more drinking and driving.
    Same thing.. Also, if you have a DUI pending don't come to Texas. Thanks to MADD the courts will put a hurting on you.. I hear in Michigan the DUI is like a slap on the wrist.. Only way to beat it here in Texas is to be a first offender and be recommended to Divert.. And yes I quit drinking and will never drink again on a night on the Town.. Stone sober like Wyatt Earp for now on..
    Riding 19 Years of Specialized Sirrus Tradition.
    Live in Houston? Come to http://bicyclecommutehouston.blogspot.com/
    1988 Specialized Sirrus, 1989 Alpine Monitor Pass MTB, 2007 Specialized Sirrus 700C hybrid, 2007 Schwinn Town & Country trike, 1970 "Resto-Improved" Raleigh 20, 1970 "WIP" Raleigh 20, and 1980 "WIP" Schwinn Town & Country trike

  11. #11
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dveit84 View Post
    Thanks for the input all. The company is actually Baker Hughes, located off Rankin Road. It's not a matter of not having enough money for a car, unfortunately I got arrested for a DUI so I will be without my license for some time. I think I'm going to pass on this job as most people say that it's unfeasible to commute year round, especially for that area (Gunspoint).
    sorry you won't be coming to Houston now. It IS feasible to commute year round here, it's just going to be really hot in the dead of the summer afternoons. And like we said it depends on where you need to go.

    in other news, the wife and I are starting our commuting to work tomorrow!
    Twitter@theSurlyBiker

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    Just curious, how does the local Tea Partyin', ***-totin' Cruz lovin' crowd feel about pansy-a$$ed bicycle commuters? I'd think you'd be looked at a bit crooked-like, no?

    (by the way, that blocked out word above is "g u n". WTF??!!)

  13. #13
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt Farmer View Post
    Just curious, how does the local Tea Partyin', ***-totin' Cruz lovin' crowd feel about pansy-a$$ed bicycle commuters? I'd think you'd be looked at a bit crooked-like, no?

    (by the way, that blocked out word above is "g u n". WTF??!!)
    Well, as a Tea Partyin', *** toting Cruz admirer I'd say "Welcome to Texas" Don't put stock in the liberal party line it's likely between wrong and dead wrong.
    Riding 19 Years of Specialized Sirrus Tradition.
    Live in Houston? Come to http://bicyclecommutehouston.blogspot.com/
    1988 Specialized Sirrus, 1989 Alpine Monitor Pass MTB, 2007 Specialized Sirrus 700C hybrid, 2007 Schwinn Town & Country trike, 1970 "Resto-Improved" Raleigh 20, 1970 "WIP" Raleigh 20, and 1980 "WIP" Schwinn Town & Country trike

  14. #14
    Yogi on Wheels schiiism's Avatar
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    I'll put another nail in the "unfeasible" coffin. I lived in Houston for two years and, being a coastal California native, I never got used to the humidity. It's just miserable to go outside during most of the year, much less have to depend on an outdoor exercise to get to work every day.

    It's not impossible, but if you have other options, I would definitely consider a drier climate for a better quality of life considering your situation. The heat isn't really the killer, as biking in deserts like Arizona and Nevada is actually quite pleasant. But that humidity... ugh, I still have nightmares

  15. #15
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Want another option?

    I spent $500 and put an electric motor on one of my bikes. 25mph, 25 mile range, less sweat. That would be a good option, it seems to me. And, with Houston being so flat, you don’t need a very big motor. Adds about 10 lbs to my bike. Purchasing a complete bike like that would cost about $3,000.
    I think it is a great alternative. I’m selling my convertible because I would rather be on my bike.

    Personally I like the exercise I get from pedaling, so I most often am on the regular road bike, but taking the ebike to work is a lot of fun. 25mph on a bike is a pretty good clip, and no one knows I am on an electric bike (except for you guys here).

    I grew up bike commuting in Houston – just drank tons of water and sweated a lot!

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