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Old 07-10-09, 08:13 AM   #1
Eatadonut
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New to Houston, trying not to get killed

I've been here for about a month, and finally got my bike down here. I'm on Dairy Ashford, just north of Westheimer. I have a bike rack, so it is a possibility for me to load up the bike and drive to where the good riding is. I know the best way to get to know an area is to meet up with the local bike clubs, but unfortunately I have an odd schedule. Most bike clubs have no interest in meeting between 9AM and 4PM, M-F.

Here's my big questions:

Apparently, the Terry Hershey Trail is a popular one, but I don't want to dodge kids and my roadie doesn't appreciate the idea of dirt trails.

Obviously, riding Westheimer is out of the question.

What I really prefer is well-paved, straight roads with polite/thin traffic, usually out in the country.

It looks like I'm pretty close to the George Bush park, and that has a paved route, but doesn't look terribly long.

So, to summarize (start reading here if you got bored earlier):

Should I take Briar Forest to the park, and then try to find my way to Barker-Cypress? Any bad neigborhoods up that direction?

OR

Should I hop in the car and drive out to Katy? It looks calmer out there, but I know that area even less than I do the area where I am.


Thanks in advance. My wife would KILL me if I got hit
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Old 07-10-09, 09:29 AM   #2
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Personally, I'm a big fan of George Bush Park. It's not as long as I'd hoped, but well-paved and used almost exclusively by cyclists.

If you start from Terry Hershey and connect to George Bush it tacks on a few miles each way, so lengthens your trip. You're right about staying out of most of Terry Hershey, though. Too many blind corners & opportunities for a collision.

Just a tip, make sure you refill your water bottles whenever you see a fountain. Those stretches in between can seem pretty long if you don't have some agua handy.
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Old 07-10-09, 09:36 AM   #3
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You have lots of choices - THP/GBP, Braes Bayou, Memorial Park/Allen Parkway, other bayou trails, and on road bike routes. Take a look at the City of Houston bike map, that will give you an idea of what is out there.

Good luck.
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Old 07-10-09, 11:07 AM   #4
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Lots of good routes here.

Have a good ride, take lots of water.
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Old 07-10-09, 12:14 PM   #5
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Welcome to the Houston area! I can't be more helpful than what has already been posted, though once I get some more base miles out of the way, and some "this old house" projects out of the way, I might be able to ride in mid-day. I am in Bellaire, which is close to Memorial Park and the Braes Bayou trail, and all its connecting trails. Keep in mind my 18th birthday was almost three decades ago.
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Old 07-10-09, 01:50 PM   #6
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The GBP trail is fine on a roadie. If you start at the parking area at briar forest and hwy 6 and ride to fry road and back, it is about a 22.5 mile round trip. If you want long straight roads with broad shoulders, the best area closest to you is the area around katy/brookshire/simonton/fulshear. I would NOT ride on Barker Cypress unless you have a deathwish, as there is no shoulder and LOTS of traffic. You can park at the Katy High School parking lot at FM 1463 and hwy 90 as a good starting point for rides down hwy 90 or fm1463, or park down in fulshear at the metro park and ride lot at fm 359 and fm1093. The loop from katy high down to fulshear and back, via hwy 90 to fm 359 to fm1093 to fm 1463 is about 30 miles or so and there are lots of add-ons you can do to push mileage up to 50 or more out in that same area. The conoco page is a great resource...they do routes all over the place.
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Old 07-10-09, 02:57 PM   #7
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The GBP trail is fine on a roadie. If you start at the parking area at briar forest and hwy 6 and ride to fry road and back, it is about a 22.5 mile round trip. If you want long straight roads with broad shoulders, the best area closest to you is the area around katy/brookshire/simonton/fulshear. I would NOT ride on Barker Cypress unless you have a deathwish, as there is no shoulder and LOTS of traffic. You can park at the Katy High School parking lot at FM 1463 and hwy 90 as a good starting point for rides down hwy 90 or fm1463, or park down in fulshear at the metro park and ride lot at fm 359 and fm1093. The loop from katy high down to fulshear and back, via hwy 90 to fm 359 to fm1093 to fm 1463 is about 30 miles or so and there are lots of add-ons you can do to push mileage up to 50 or more out in that same area. The conoco page is a great resource...they do routes all over the place.
Thanks, that's exactly what I'm looking for!
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Old 07-11-09, 01:42 AM   #8
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The GBP trail is fine on a roadie. If you start at the parking area at briar forest and hwy 6 and ride to fry road and back, it is about a 22.5 mile round trip. If you want long straight roads with broad shoulders, the best area closest to you is the area around katy/brookshire/simonton/fulshear. I would NOT ride on Barker Cypress unless you have a deathwish, as there is no shoulder and LOTS of traffic. You can park at the Katy High School parking lot at FM 1463 and hwy 90 as a good starting point for rides down hwy 90 or fm1463, or park down in fulshear at the metro park and ride lot at fm 359 and fm1093. The loop from katy high down to fulshear and back, via hwy 90 to fm 359 to fm1093 to fm 1463 is about 30 miles or so and there are lots of add-ons you can do to push mileage up to 50 or more out in that same area. The conoco page is a great resource...they do routes all over the place.

So you would park at 6 and briar forest and from there do you take westheimer pkwy to get to fry and back? If not I ride on terry hersey and I start off at that valero. if I were to go to fry would I go straight instead of making that right near the dam towards terry hersey?

To the op: I ve ridden terry hersey 4 times now and its pretty nice, the only downsides are: sometimes it gets pretty packed and theres some sand on the trail but it has hills so its a good workout.
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Old 07-11-09, 08:17 PM   #9
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So you would park at 6 and briar forest and from there do you take westheimer pkwy to get to fry and back? If not I ride on terry hersey and I start off at that valero. if I were to go to fry would I go straight instead of making that right near the dam towards terry hersey?

To the op: I ve ridden terry hersey 4 times now and its pretty nice, the only downsides are: sometimes it gets pretty packed and theres some sand on the trail but it has hills so its a good workout.
You park at 6 and briar forest, then hop on the trail right there heading north, this is the George Bush Park trail. It turns west when you get near I-10 and follows I-10 all the way to the cop station near Barkers-Cypress, where you have to actually hop on a road for maybe 1/2 mile heading south before you hit the trail again that goes about 3 more miles south where you will almost hit Westheimer Pkwy, but when you get to the parking lot there, head west again to Fry Rd (about 3.5 more miles). This is about 11.5 miles total one way, and 23 miles round trip.

There are mostly cyclists on this route, except when you get close to Fry Rd, you will see some walkers/runners. This route is WAY better than Terry Hershey. If its a weekend morning, you can always work in Westhimeier Parkway for some more miles along the way.

I use GBP during weeknights, and I head out to Fulsher/Simonton/Wallis/Brookshire from my house near Fry Rd/Highland Knolls.
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Old 07-13-09, 10:41 AM   #10
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So you would park at 6 and briar forest and from there do you take westheimer pkwy to get to fry and back? If not I ride on terry hersey and I start off at that valero. if I were to go to fry would I go straight instead of making that right near the dam towards terry hersey?

To the op: I ve ridden terry hersey 4 times now and its pretty nice, the only downsides are: sometimes it gets pretty packed and theres some sand on the trail but it has hills so its a good workout.
Yes, as stated above, if you start at the Valero at briarforest and hwy 6, keep going north past the turnoff to Terry hershey by the spillway. The path bends around the levee and spits you out onto the road by the police annex. Go to the stop sign and turn left (south) and follow the road until it dead ends back into the trail. The only time you have to worry about GBP is when we have alot of rain. If we get too much water in the reservoir there, it covers the path south of the police annex for days or even weeks. Other than that, is is usually wide open with very few walkers/joggers and is longer and straighter than terry hershey.
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Old 07-13-09, 02:55 PM   #11
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Just a heads up...I just got a message from a friend saying that beginning either this week or next week, KatyFit will have something like 300 runners out on the GBP/Terry Hershey trails on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I am not sure what time, but don't be surprised if you show up out there with a horde of runners around, although in my experiences, they are pretty good about making room once they get yelled at a time or two.
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Old 07-13-09, 04:02 PM   #12
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I went to THP this weekend (for the first time) and no complaints. Sure, there were some tight corners, a couple patches of sand, and needed to keep an eye out for others... However, the park setting, paved trails, and minimal exposure to cars was soooooooooo worth it.

It's about 40 miles round trip from Boheme and 8 to Fry Rd.

Someone mentioned it earlier but it's worth repeating. If your water bottle is more than 1/2 way empty, stop at a fountain and fill up.

PS - If anyone else was there Saturday from 830 - 1130, I was wearing a Shiner 100-year jersey and a Livestrong bib. I also said 'mornin to everyone I passed.

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Old 07-15-09, 01:19 AM   #13
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Yes, as stated above, if you start at the Valero at briarforest and hwy 6, keep going north past the turnoff to Terry hershey by the spillway. The path bends around the levee and spits you out onto the road by the police annex. Go to the stop sign and turn left (south) and follow the road until it dead ends back into the trail. The only time you have to worry about GBP is when we have alot of rain. If we get too much water in the reservoir there, it covers the path south of the police annex for days or even weeks. Other than that, is is usually wide open with very few walkers/joggers and is longer and straighter than terry hershey.
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You park at 6 and briar forest, then hop on the trail right there heading north, this is the George Bush Park trail. It turns west when you get near I-10 and follows I-10 all the way to the cop station near Barkers-Cypress, where you have to actually hop on a road for maybe 1/2 mile heading south before you hit the trail again that goes about 3 more miles south where you will almost hit Westheimer Pkwy, but when you get to the parking lot there, head west again to Fry Rd (about 3.5 more miles). This is about 11.5 miles total one way, and 23 miles round trip.

There are mostly cyclists on this route, except when you get close to Fry Rd, you will see some walkers/runners. This route is WAY better than Terry Hershey. If its a weekend morning, you can always work in Westhimeier Parkway for some more miles along the way.

I use GBP during weeknights, and I head out to Fulsher/Simonton/Wallis/Brookshire from my house near Fry Rd/Highland Knolls.
so going south I'll almost hit westheimer pkwy, once I hit the parking lot I make a right then hit fry rd, turn around then go back onto the trail or stay on westheimer pkwy. Gotcha

If staying on the trail it'd be 23miles

Anyone know how far the distance is if you take westheimer pkwy to 6 back to briar forest ? Sorry I don't have a cycling computer yet.
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Old 07-15-09, 11:03 AM   #14
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The part where the trail heads south then reaches the parking lot really is being made to sound more complicated than it is. The trail turns right, then spits you out into a parking lot. There is a road heading south from the parking lot that will go to Westheimer Parkway if you follow it. However, to keep going on the trail, just keep going west to the other end of the parking lot and the trail starts again. That trail will take you all the way to Fry Road. Not sure about the mileage if you go back on Westheimer and up hwy 6. Should be able to use mapmyride or googleearth to figure it out, but I don't have access to either here at work due to a firewall.
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Old 07-15-09, 03:00 PM   #15
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The part where the trail heads south then reaches the parking lot really is being made to sound more complicated than it is. The trail turns right, then spits you out into a parking lot. There is a road heading south from the parking lot that will go to Westheimer Parkway if you follow it. However, to keep going on the trail, just keep going west to the other end of the parking lot and the trail starts again. That trail will take you all the way to Fry Road. Not sure about the mileage if you go back on Westheimer and up hwy 6. Should be able to use mapmyride or googleearth to figure it out, but I don't have access to either here at work due to a firewall.
Westhiemer Parkway doesn't even enter the picture if you go north at the levee trail and follow it around the levee until you're headed west. Just after the constable station you turn south on the road called Barker Clodine for about a half mile when you hook up with the GBP MUP.

Another interesting choice is on Barker Clodine you can turn right (west) on Cypress Chase then left (south) on S. Barker Cypress until it turns right and becomes Kingsland Blvd. Follow Kingsland until you get to Westgreen Blvd and turn right (north) past I-10 until you reach Franz Rd. and turn left (west) and follow that until you reach Avenue D and turn left (south) which will take you to Hwy 90 and points west like Brookshire and all those routes.

This information caomes from http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Ryans-century-ride
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Old 07-15-09, 04:06 PM   #16
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The part where the trail heads south then reaches the parking lot really is being made to sound more complicated than it is. The trail turns right, then spits you out into a parking lot. There is a road heading south from the parking lot that will go to Westheimer Parkway if you follow it. However, to keep going on the trail, just keep going west to the other end of the parking lot and the trail starts again. That trail will take you all the way to Fry Road. Not sure about the mileage if you go back on Westheimer and up hwy 6. Should be able to use mapmyride or googleearth to figure it out, but I don't have access to either here at work due to a firewall.
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Westhiemer Parkway doesn't even enter the picture if you go north at the levee trail and follow it around the levee until you're headed west. Just after the constable station you turn south on the road called Barker Clodine for about a half mile when you hook up with the GBP MUP.

Another interesting choice is on Barker Clodine you can turn right (west) on Cypress Chase then left (south) on S. Barker Cypress until it turns right and becomes Kingsland Blvd. Follow Kingsland until you get to Westgreen Blvd and turn right (north) past I-10 until you reach Franz Rd. and turn left (west) and follow that until you reach Avenue D and turn left (south) which will take you to Hwy 90 and points west like Brookshire and all those routes.

This information caomes from http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Ryans-century-ride

thanks Im gonna take the route to fry on thursday hopefully Ive improved
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Old 07-15-09, 04:53 PM   #17
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http://www.mapmyride.com/route/us/tx...24769813250027
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Old 07-15-09, 05:00 PM   #18
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I realize your schedule is a little limiting, but if you would like to take in a club ride to get to know the area, you may wish to consider the Space City Cycle Club. We are down south in Clear Lake (a little drive) but probably worth it. We ride EVERY Saturday for the big ride (plus Sunday , Tues afternoon and Thursday afternon). Every Saturday we get about 100 or so riders; break up into 4 speed classes and head out for a 45 AND 65 mile for each speed class. Meet at the Bike Barn on Bay Area Blvd. Some really good bike friendly roads down there.....
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Old 07-20-09, 11:36 AM   #19
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Along similar lines as the OP - I am moving to Houston from Philadelphia. In Philly, I think the best ride - the one you must do if you are going to ride here, at least once anyway - is to go from Valley Forge to Center City. I was wondering if in Houston there are any must-do rides. I don't mean to hijack the thread, but just ask, which among these safer rides you guys have mentioned are the most enjoyable? What about going out to the space center? See some water? Get to know Texas? Etc...
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Old 07-20-09, 03:13 PM   #20
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What kind of riding do you want bstern? Are you willing to drive to the start or do you want to leave from your front door (and if so, where in Houston will you be? This city is WIDE)? Are you looking for 60-100 miles with rolling hills? A nice day at the park? Something in between?
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Old 07-20-09, 03:24 PM   #21
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Along similar lines as the OP - I am moving to Houston from Philadelphia. In Philly, I think the best ride - the one you must do if you are going to ride here, at least once anyway - is to go from Valley Forge to Center City. I was wondering if in Houston there are any must-do rides. I don't mean to hijack the thread, but just ask, which among these safer rides you guys have mentioned are the most enjoyable? What about going out to the space center? See some water? Get to know Texas? Etc...
If you don't mind spending a little money (between $20 - $30), I would suggest doing some charity rides around the city. We normally have one every other week during the summer, more frequently in fall and spring. They are fully supported and usually come with an after ride meal (and t-shirt, coupons, etc). You'll get a good idea of the city and the best riding scenery after a couple of rides. Here some links:

http://www.bicycletexas.com/houston.htm

http://www.teamcure.org/texascyclingevents.htm

http://www.nationalmssociety.org/cha...des/index.aspx

If you enjoy rolling terrain and greenery, I would suggest something in Montgomery County (ie Woodlands, Conroe, Magnolia).

edited to add: I rode the Continental Classic earlier this year. Really enjoyable ride; great scenery and some challenging terrain, though there is highway exposure. Would not recommend during the week but should be okay on the weekend. There are 3 routes (25, 47, and 67) and I did the 67-miles. Good times!

http://www.cocyclingclassic.com/Routes.html

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Old 07-20-09, 04:30 PM   #22
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My personal favorite for scenery (and hills) is riding some of the routes between and around Chappell Hill and Washington on the Brazos State Park. The best time is in spring when the wildflowers are blooming and the temperature is cool enough to enjoy it, but there is always something to see out that way.
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Old 07-20-09, 05:25 PM   #23
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What kind of riding do you want bstern? Are you willing to drive to the start or do you want to leave from your front door (and if so, where in Houston will you be? This city is WIDE)? Are you looking for 60-100 miles with rolling hills? A nice day at the park? Something in between?
50+ with hills. Having trained in Pennsylvania, I will miss hills, I think. I'm willing to drive somewhere for a nice ride. I noticed the roads weren't particularly cycle-friendly, so I suspect I'll have to lose the "don't drive to ride" attitude.

H-Bear, those sound awesome. I anticipate doing a lot of those!
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Old 07-21-09, 08:05 PM   #24
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Another area to look at is the north side of Houston/ Tomball/ Montgomery. I usually ride 2920 west, then 2978 north up to 1488 and then hit some back roads. Google maps will give you a good idea. Easy to get 40 - 50 miles in. A little drive though. I'm moving down to the Westheimer area next week so will do the drive probably a few times.
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Old 07-22-09, 07:11 AM   #25
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50+ with hills. Having trained in Pennsylvania, I will miss hills, I think. I'm willing to drive somewhere for a nice ride. I noticed the roads weren't particularly cycle-friendly, so I suspect I'll have to lose the "don't drive to ride" attitude.

H-Bear, those sound awesome. I anticipate doing a lot of those!
Several good ones here: http://www.conocophillipsbikeclub.org/train.html
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