If you’re new to Houston, your daily commute may take some getting used to. In 2010, The Weather Channel reported that Houston was fourth on the list of America’s top 10 worst cities for commuter traffic. The difficult commute is a trade-off for living in such an amazing city. Houston is home to more Fortune 500 companies than any city except for New York, and we have sports and cultural events happening every day. There’s a lot to do, and a lot of great places to be. One of our previous posts offered several ideas for making your commute easier (or eliminating the commute altogether), but one we hadn’t mentioned is bicycling. Cycling to work may not work for everyone, but for some, it’s a great way to ease the pain of Houston traffic while getting a great daily workout. Houston is home to an excellent system bicycle routes, and also to an active cycling community.
Three Bike to Work Days in 2012—Starting Friday, April 13
National Bike to Work Day is May 18 this year, but Houston is getting started early. On April 13, Houston will celebrate the first of three Houston Bike to Work Days. In the morning, Mayor Annise Parker will join cyclists in Memorial Park at after 6:30 am for a 7:30 am ride to City Hall. Cyclists are also encouraged to meet at bike shops throughout Houston and ride in groups to City Hall, where Mayor Parker will greet all cyclists and host a press conference from 8:15 am to 9 am. Afterwards, cyclists are encouraged to ride to work. Afternoon rides from work are also scheduled. You can learn more about this and the two other Houston Bike to Work Days (Thursday, May 17 and Friday, May 18) at the City of Houston’s Bikeways web site.
Taking Bikes on Houston Metro Trains
If your commute is too long to bike all the way, consider traveling by a combination of bicycle and public transportation. Houston METRO buses come equipped with bike racks, and Houston METROrail trains allow cyclists to bring their bikes aboard during limited hours. Visit the METRO web site here to learn how to bring your bike on a bus, and here for the rules for brining bikes on commuter trains.
How to Find Houston Bike Routes
Houston is home to over 300 miles of bike lanes, bike routes, shared lanes, bayou trails, off-road trails built by Harris County, and rails-to-trails (trails built where railroad tracks once were). You can download a map of all of these trails, or maps of trails in specific Houston areas, at the Bikeways web site.
The Rules of the Road
Blogger Cesema of Pedaling Houston has compiled this useful collection the Houston laws that affect bicyclists, along with a few bits of trivia about cycling laws around the country. For example, Colorado has a law specifically against throwing things at bicyclists, but Houston does not. Texas’ governor, Rick Perry, vetoed a similar law here, saying that such behavior was already covered under reckless driving laws. In other news, rude and ignorant motorists are sometimes a problem for Houston cyclists, as they are for cyclists everywhere. Let’s hope that more Houston cycling events and our active and vocal cycling community can better educate them.
Houston’s Cycling Community
If you’d like to connect with other Texan cyclists, learn about Houston cycling events, find local bike shops, and get cycling tips, Texbiker.net is a great place to start.
Posted by Melanie Belasco Levy on 04/05/12