Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking back on '09

Another year is upon us and I'm reflecting. This time last year I had so much ambition for cycle commuting that I was looking forward to doubling my 2008 mileage. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. My milage for the past year was only 957.52 miles which is 1175.53 Miles short of 2008's total.

What happened? Three things: Health, weather, and work. In 2009 I lost my race with type 2 diabetes. As much as I rode and exercised I could not get control of my blood sugar. Not until I was put on medication and a radical change in diet did it approach normal levels so for a time I just had no energy to ride. As for weather, the last half of the year had to be the wettest and coldest on record. Cold I can almost handle at least into the mid 50's; however, below that I simply don't have warm enough clothing and in sufficient volume to ride consistently. Add rain into the mix and riding became an impossibility. At work, around June I was given additional duty that stationed me away from my office and far across campus from the Rec Center were I have shower privileges. Plus, in order to ride I need access to a changing area before 6:30 am where I'm close to my bike and my temporary station did not open until 7:30 am. So my '09 ride season effectively ended at the halfway point

Monday, June 1, 2009

67° and dead routine.

Shooting for a minimum of three rides this week, today (Mon), Wednesday, and Friday. This morning was rather cool at 67°, but I didn't mind because it kept the sweat down. I also made a rare stop on my way in. I didn't really have anything at the house for breakfast or lunch so I stopped at Kroger's at Wirt and Westview and picked up two Antone's Po'boys and Cokes. Unfortunately, I discovered later that compared to the genuine article the ones I picked up were incredibly dry and tough to chew on; however, they are better than going hungry.

I didn't really come across anyone while transiting Memorial Park; however, just before making my turn on West Alabama I crossed paths with a young female bike ninja who went East onto West Alabama. The rest of the ride was pretty routine and enjoyed the sun rising and not needing to run lights.

The ride home was uneventful also until I got back to the 610 loop and Memorial Drive. I discovered there that as I made a left onto Memorial I had turned into a very extended pace line as I could see a commuter about 3 blocks ahead of me and just beyond him by another 3 blocks I could make out yet another cyclist. I never caught either one as I exited onto Antoine and both were well beyond that intersection.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

5/26 Warm Warm! 76 Degrees

It was a balmy 76 Degrees. A hot weather kit day. Ride was routine and observed 3 Rec riders on my way in. One smoked past me as I got to the Memorial Expressway.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The 5/20 ride 69 Degrees

I haven't been blogging much do to time constraints. Plus, compared to Noah in KC there just isn't much happening here in Houston. I can't really stop and take interesting photos and my bike handling skills in traffic requires two hands so so much for photos on the fly.

I road in this morning and when I left the temp was 69 degrees. It was just warm enough to wear summer wear (Sugoi shorts, Old style polyester Performance jersey, sweat cap, cotton socks, Fingerless gloves) but it was a little chilly starting out. By the time I got to the office the mercury hit 61. The ride in was routine. On Memorial Dr. I got passed by two rec riders who I could tell were marveling over all the gear I was hauling.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Safe Passing Bill At Risk


From BikeTexas:

Safe Passing Bill At Risk
Contact Your Senator NOW!

Today, Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) introduced the 2009 Safe Passing Bill (CSSB 488 / CSHB 827) on the floor of the Texas State Senate.

In a dialogue with Senator Ellis, Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) raised concerns about several aspects of the bill. Senator Ellis chose to withdraw the bill, pending additional discussion this evening with Senator Patrick to address these concerns.

BikeTexas had provided bill language and other information to all Senators' offices since the start of the session and had not been made aware of any concerns by Senator Patrick. BikeTexas staff are now preparing additional documents to submit to the offices of Senators Patrick and Ellis in preparation for tomorrow's session.

What you can do:

Please contact your State Senator no later that 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, April 8th!

Click here to find your senator, then:

* If you live in the district of an "Unconfirmed" Senator, including Senator Patrick: Call or email his office immediately to ask him to support Safe Passing. The list of senators is below.

* If you live in the district of a "Supporting" senator: Call or email his or her office immediately to express your thanks for his or her support for Safe Passing. The list of senators is below.

As always, please be sure to be polite and professional in your communications, whether your legislator supports or opposes CSSB 488.

Kip Averitt (R-Waco), Dist. 22
Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), Dist. 30
Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), Dist. 24
Chris Harris (R-Arlington), Dist. 9
Glenn Hegar (R-Katy), Dist. 18
Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-Mission), Dist. 20
Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville), Dist. 3
Steve Ogden (R-Bryan), Dist. 5
Dan Patrick (R-Houston), Dist. 7

Support Safe Passing
John Carona (R-Dallas), Dist. 16
Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), Dist. 10
Robert Deuell (R-Greenville), Dist. 2
Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock), Dist. 28
Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), Dist. 13
Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), Dist. 1
Mario Gallegos (D-Houston), Dist. 5
Joan Huffman (R-Houston), Dist. 17
Mike Jackson (R-La Porte), Dist. 11
Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville), Dist. 27
Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville), Dist. 12
Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), Dist. 31
Florence Shapiro (R-Plano), Dist. 8
Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso), Dist. 29
Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio), Dist. 19
Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio), Dist. 26
Kirk Watson (D-Austin), Dist. 14
Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio), Dist. 25
Royce West (D-Dallas), Dist. 23
John Whitmire (D-Houston), Dist. 15
Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands), Dist. 3
Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), Dist. 21

Monday, March 30, 2009

March 30

Morning Temp: 53 degrees

Head: Headsweat skull cap & Helmet
Torso: Old style (Thick polyester) performance jersey and warm up jacket
Gloves: Fingerless (no liners)
Legs: Sugoi polyester shorts (heavier than normal lycra), leg warmers.
Feet: cotton socks

Overall comfort: warm to warm enough to unzip the warm up near the end of the run.

Ride was routine

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Traffic Skills 101 coming up soon!

The Traffic Skills 101 course is only taught a few times per year. This is the course that teaches you how to mix it up safely with cars on everyday roads, not on the law-enforcement-controlled pay-ride routes.This is the one that you really need to have if you want to be a bicycle commuter, for example. Even if you are an experienced cyclist, you are guaranteed to learn something in this class which will make your investment worthwhile... and maybe save you from getting hurt! $60 is pretty cheap as opposed to hitting the pavement, or a car.



Traffic Skills 101 (formerly Road I) / Willowbrook area

Date: Sat May 16 10 am and Sun May 17 8 am
Instructor: Peter Wang
Location: REI Willowbrook, 17717A Tomball Parkway, Houston, TX 77064
Fee: $60 class fee (waived if hardship; family discount)

Description: Do you want to learn to cycle confidently and safely in the Houston area? Then this class is a must! Learn to communicate effectively with motorists and enjoy the ride. We'll discuss proper lane positioning, basic rules of the road, how to avoid obstacles, scanning, changing a tire, emergency turns, emergency stops, basic maintenance, and much, much more! Saturday will be all lecture (no bicycle needed) and Sunday will include parking lot drills and a group ride.

To register for this course, contact:

David Sims
Phone: (832) 237-8833 x206
Contact Email:
Signup required in advance? Yes
Special signup instructions: Please call the REI store to sign up for this class. $60 class fee

Equipment required: SAT: paper, pen, lunch or $ SUN: pen, bike, helmet, water, lunch or $

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sustainable Living Houston kicks off National Bike Month 2009!

On Friday, May 1, 2009, residents of Cypress, Texas, will bicycle from the Coles Crossing subdivision to the nearby METRO Park & Ride and transit oriented development. By riding bikes to the Park & Ride, and then taking the #217 METRO bus to their work locations, the residents will complete a long-haul, suburb-to-city multi-modal commute without the use of private automobiles.

METRO has recently installed bike racks at the Cypress Park & Ride, and these will be used to secure the bicycles. There is also limited space for taking a few bikes in the sub-floor storage compartments of the # 217 buses.

Residents will assemble at 6:50 am on Friday, May 1, 2009 at the Coles Crossing Community Center parking lot and depart at 7:00 am sharp. Use of helmets, front & rear lights, red rear reflectors and articles of reflective clothing will be mandatory. Residents will ride on the sidewalk south on Barker-Cypress Rd. to Jarvis Rd., whereupon the group will transition to riding on Jarvis Rd. in a vehicular cycling mode. The total ride distance will be about a mile each way, and the time to the Park & Ride from the neighborhood will be about 6 minutes.

The rain date for this ride is May 15, 2009.

There will be a highly recommended pre-ride safety briefing at the Coles Crossing Community Center parking lot on April 25th at 8:00 a.m. where helmets, lighting, bike commuter clothing, and vehicular cycling will be discussed, as well as a test ride of the route. This briefing will be led by a League of American Bicyclist certified cycling instructor.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The 1/27 Commute.

On Monday I saw that we were going to have one more warm afternoon with temperatures in the 70s so I decided to commute Tuesday morning. I almost hate saying it, but the morning run was routine there really wasn't anything to report. As a first leg of the ride though I was seven minutes off my "average" of an hour and 20 minutes. Like I said before though not bad for being out of practice. I was just glad to get some mileage in before the weather changed.

The ride home was truly wonderful as the temperature was right around 70 and I still had sufficient daylight left when I left the campus. This ride home was probably the most commuter filled I have ever seen to date. I know I saw at least three as I was coming down West Alabama. Two of those based on what they were riding in what they were carrying were true cycle commuters like myself. I even had the rare pleasure of bumping into a female cyclist as I was coming down Wesleyan; however, I did not have an opportunity to speak with her. As I arrived to Wesleyan I started noticing that the clouds were starting to build and the wind was starting to pick up. Consequently, I started picking up my own pace as the last thing I needed was to be caught out in the weather. By the time I got a third of the way down Tanglewood Road the cold front rolled in and announced itself with a nice hard gust against my front wheel and the temperature went from a nice balmy 70° down to 55 in the span of 15 minutes. Once I got onto Chimney Rock I started putting on the coal as it was then I started to lose daylight. I passed under I-10 and onto Wirt (same road as Chimney Rock, but gets renamed north of I-10)and somewhere around Wedgewood Lane I was passed by a southbound commuter who was riding on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, there was no time to really stop and chat, but we didacknowledge each other as we passed. I have no clue why he was on the sidewalk, but I'm guessing he was going to pull a left and did not want to contend with traffic. The remainder of the ride had nothing to report other than being a race against daylight. I did choose to use my NiteRider USB backup light instead of my primary Cyglolite for the ride down Westview. The Cyglolite is a bit of a pain to chargethat it has to be timed exactly to six hours due to a lack of power regulation/smart charging circuitry and I didn't feel like dealing with it when getting home. I found the NiteRider USB to put out sufficient light, but nothing to write home about. I definitely prefer the power of the Cyglolight; consequently that is why I use it as the primary headlight. I made it home right as it was getting completely dark and it felt good to have another 31 miles in for the year. The next couple mornings are to have morning lows in the mid 30s to upper 40s; consequently, I'm not feeling inclined to ride because I still lack good cold weather gear to contend with those temperatures comfortably.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The 1/23 ride report a couple days late

Yeah I know I'm late and I should have done this back on Friday or even Saturday; however, life tends to get in the way and I was still digesting a bit of insight from the ride. Anyhow, on Wednesday I saw the Thursday and Friday weather was going to be passable. Unfortunately I had a meeting on Thursday that I wasn't sure I would be able to ride to due to time and security constraints, but Friday was in the clear. So even though Thursday night I was half in the tank I gritted my teeth and got my gear together to ride.

The morning ride broke no records as I wasn't expecting to seeing that my last full on commute was over three weeks ago. It wasn't too bad though as I was about 7 minute off average and I saw some signs of cycling life as I made my way through Memorial Park. I saw a petalon of rec riders headed west as I had just cleared the park. Other than that the morning run in was dead routine.

The ride home was routine up untill the turn from W. Alabama onto Weslayan about a block from there I was passed by a mouthy little high school dropout/kid and his girlfriend who were absolutely convinced that all bikes belonged on the sidewalk. As they passed me this stupid kid flipped me the bird and yelled "dude, get on the sidewalk!" Unfortunately for them the light changed to red and I was able to catch up with them. When I looked in the window I told them, "under state law I am a vehicle;" however, it was wasted breath because no sooner than I had uttered it it occurred to me that these two kids were just brain-dead. Their only response to me was, "dude, get on the sidewalk." It then occurred to me that no matter what the law might be these kids just wouldn't care. The only thing that mattered to them is being inconvenienced by having to go around me and the only way that they would learn the lesson was if their provocation lead to a horrible accident. In a way I'm thankful to them because I made the realization that there's just some people that have no redeeming qualities and deserve whatever horrible outcome that these qualities bring upon them. Somehow, I shouldn't be surprised that I had this altercation. Every time I wear a blaze orange jersey as I was wearing one this day. I seem to have a conflict with a motorist. The rest of the ride was pretty much routine.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

BikeHouston Annual Meeting Announcement

BikeHouston Annual Meeting-January 27, 2009

BikeHouston’s invites you to attend the Annual Meeting on Tuesday, January 27, 2009, at 6:30 p.m., in the Houston Environmental Center, 3015 Richmond, 1st floor conference room. Please join them in their efforts to make Houston safe and accessible for cyclists. Food and refreshments will be provided by El Meson from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM with a meeting start time of 7:00 PM. The guest speaker will be Dan Raine, AICP LCI, who currently serves as the City of Houston Bicyclist-Pedestrian Coordinator. Dan will be speaking about the Houston Bikeway Program and the measures that the City is undertaking to improve our on and off street bikeway network. Dan Raine is a Transportation Planner with 15 years experience, a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and a League Certified Instructor (LCI) with the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). Prior to joining the City of Houston, Dan was the former Pedestrian-Bicyclist Coordinator with the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC). In addition, Robin Stallings, Executive Director of Bike Texas/ Texas Bicycle Coalition, Austin, Texas will provide a legislative update on bicycling initiatives pending before the Texas Legislature.

BikeHouston is a local Houston organization promoting bike access, safe bicycling, education, and public awareness of the personal and community benefits of cycling.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The First 15 of '09

Houston has had some mild weather for the start of the year. It was 64 Degrees when I left my house this morning. It was a thoroughly delightful ride to TSU. The only glitch (if you can call it that) is I believe I forgot to take my morning meds so I might not be very wakeful for the rest of the day. The ride itself could not be any better. Granted, it wasn't record time as I got to the back door of Hannah hall in an hour 20 minutes, but the senstations of the morning were worth the trade off.

Either we had some morning showers or a lot of sprinkler systems had run long, but the last portion of Westview and the north portion of Antoine were well soaked and I enjoyed the wet earthy smell of the wet street and felt very grateful the I speced out the '07 Sirrus with Planet Bike Cascadias as I would have been well striped without them. I also kept hitting chuck holes or seeing road irregularities that just turnd out to be shadows. Other that that, I came across a bike ninja on Hazard St. just after crossing Westhiemer and after Greeting him I warned him, "Dude! Get some lights!" I didn't hear any replies, but I found myself annoyed at him for his unsafe practice. Hell Even if he road with a flashlight in hand would be better than nothing.