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Old 06-01-09, 09:27 AM   #1
yeamac
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Houston Zoo - Where to park tandems/kid trailer?

I am looking to ride a pair of tandems and bike trailer to the Houston Zoo with the family (2 adults + 3 kids, from SW Houston, coming E on Braeswood, north on Brompton and then past Rice University on Rice Blvd).

Does anyone have any experience locking up bikes at the Houston Zoo and could tell me where to park the bikes? Are there any bike racks near the entrance? I have a couple cable locks -- is that good enough? This would be my first time to lock up and leave the bikes, as all the other riding I do I never leave the bikes.

If need be, I may just stay with the bikes while the wife and kids go in for a couple hours.

BTW - this would be on a Friday morning as soon as the Zoo opens (9 AM) and then we would leave by lunchtime.

Last edited by yeamac; 06-01-09 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 06-01-09, 08:12 PM   #2
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I know there is a bike rack by the miller, I have locked mine there several times no problems not sure about securing a trailer maybe an additional cable lock.
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Old 06-01-09, 09:00 PM   #3
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All the info I've ever read recommended beefy U-locks over cable locks for anything more than a couple of minutes.
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Old 06-01-09, 09:43 PM   #4
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A few dozen feet from the entrance on N Macgregor there are some 3-foot high cement poles that are connected together by a metal chain. You can use a U-lock to lock a bike to a few of the poles.
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Old 06-02-09, 08:59 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I was looking to park the tandems and locking them a lot closer to the main entrance off the parking lot. The Macgregor entrance is closed on Fridays, and Miller theater is also a bit of a hike to the main entrance. I have noticed a lot of unsavory characters in the Herman park area in the past, and parking and locking "off the beaten path" would make the bikes more susceptible to crime, would it not? (giving criminals more privacy and time to work).

Also, our trailer converts to a stroller, so I can attach the front wheel (which folds out of the way for cycling) and then push it as a stroller around the zoo with us instead of locking it up. Then I would just have the two tandems to lock up. I assume I want to remove any and everything easily removable, like velcro strap mirrors, bike computers, water bottles, and even bring helmets in with us. Didn't think of all that. I'm a park and lock noob. Maybe staying with the tandems is still the best alternative.

If I couldn't enjoy my time in the zoo wondering about the safety of our bikes I think it would be best to just stay out with them.
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Old 06-02-09, 11:01 AM   #6
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I'll try to stop by this evening (the zoo is only about 10 mins. from my house) and do a quick look around the front entrance to see if there is a good place to lock.
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Old 06-02-09, 02:30 PM   #7
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Thanks, Aaron. I know just to the north of the front entrance and toward the train all that area was recently remodeled. I have been there once since they removed the construction fencing, but I parked in the main lot by the gate and was watching 3 kids so didn't pay much attention to it.

I know there is that iron fencing on the south side of the main parking lot marking, but I don't know how suitable that is to lock up there or if the zoo staff would appreciate me locking up there. That is a visible location, and far enough off the sidewalk that people shouldn't be messing with the bikes there.
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Old 06-03-09, 08:42 AM   #8
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I dropped by front entrance of the zoo last night and there are no bike racks per se, but there are literally about 30-40 street sign poles with handicapped parking signs right at the front. I believe there is enough space to lock your bike on the sides of the poles nearest to the vehicles so that you won't be blocking the pathway for wheelchairs. On the sidewalk there are an additional 15-20 handicapped parking signs. Many of these are sufficiently far away from the sidewalk so you could lock to them and not worry about impeding traffic on the sidewalk.

Both the Museum of Natural Sciences and the Zoo really need to install some real bike racks. That area is probably one of the most cyclist-friendly places in Houston and I'm really surprised that there is little to no bike parking available.
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Old 06-03-09, 10:41 AM   #9
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Sorry, can't help you out for a good location around there, but I too carry the kids around in our trailer and haven't had a problem (yet) with locking everything up in other places. Typically, I'll just pivot the trailer around so that it sort of "folds in" beside the bike--this way, I have been able to use the same cable lock to secure both the bike and the trailer, especially if you can fit whatever you are locking to in between the bike and trailer.

Granted, I don't think I've locked up the trailer in the city limits, mostly in the 'burbs and Galveston, so people maybe aren't as interested in anything related to biking. But the way I look at it, if someone really wants to steal something, they'll go for the bike due to resell value. So a good U-lock on the bikes and cable for the trailer (and bike if possible) should be as safe as locking your car in the parking lot.

O, and yes, remove detachable items from the bike. I typically take the lights and computer with me.
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Old 06-03-09, 10:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
All the info I've ever read recommended beefy U-locks over cable locks for anything more than a couple of minutes.
I meant ulock in combonation with a cable, sorry I left that out. I don't know if you could ulock the trailer attached to the bike with one ulock though maybe 2 ulocks. I have no experience with trailers or tandems at that so I recant all statements.
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Old 06-06-09, 01:53 AM   #11
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Don't have a map in my mind about route you stated in OP, but when I want to get to Hermann Park/Zoo area I just ride Braeswood until the golf links, then take the dirt path in the golf links (there's construction of bridge across the Bayou and also construction of rails, I think they are expanding METRO Rail route).

Soo Friday is over, how did you manage with the visit?
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Old 06-06-09, 09:36 AM   #12
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I did not go this past Friday. I meant some Friday this summer, whenever we can get our schedules to work out for this.

As far as riding Braeswood all the way down, do you mean on the street, or the hike and bike path? Once the path drops down along the water, it gets a little narrow in spots to haul a double wide trailer behind a tandem, not to mention my wife who is on the other tandem with my son indicated she did not want to ride down by the water. Saturday mornings on city streets are pretty calm, but still going to look for some back roads once we get past Buffalo Speedway (hence, taking Brompton) instead of riding on a road like Braeswood.
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Old 06-08-09, 12:10 PM   #13
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Another option to get to the Zoo via Brompton is to take Brompton al the way up to Rice Blvd, then go east on Rice and then cut through the Rice University campus. I usually make a right at the parking lot entrance across from Wilton, immediately after the Shepherd intersection (nice and wide, should be plenty of space for 2 tandems and a trailer).

Then you can cut through campus and exit at the MacGregor / Main intersection. From there I take the sidewalk on MacGregor a few hundred feet and then ride through Hermann Park on the bike / ped paths to the Zoo.
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