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classiquesklassieker
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So I am considering relocating to Houston for work. The workplace is in the SW, Stafford/Sugar Land area, but I am considering living closer to the city. I am moving there from Boston.

What's the riding like in Houston? I understand that I may have to lug my bike in my caaah and drive somewhere to get to a decent riding area, but how bad is it really?

I would also love to hear recommendations on where to look for housing. The company that I may end up working with has lots of experience in moving people around the world, but I'd love to hear comments from the cyclists. I hear that there are some really fast crit-type riding even in the city itself, although I am a road racer myself.

I'd also love to hear recommendations on bike shops that do decent-to-high-end road bikes, and club/teams to get to know and ride with.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations!
 

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OJ:

Most of the riding that our club does is out west of Houston starting in the town of Fulshear. I live out in Katy (north of your work place) and I have 32, 45, 55, 75 mile loops from my house, on good roads. I think they still conduct weeknight racing in Memorial Park (inside Loop 610).

While I'm on the subject of Loop 610, when you look at a map of Houston there are increasing concentric loops around the city:
1 - Loop 610, has downtown (Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center), Memorial Park, River Oaks, Med Center, Museum District, etc. Lots of things to do, coming from a city like Boston, this probably would feel like inner city neighborhoods. Can ride your bike in some parts of this area.

2 - Beltway 8: Toll Road, you need an EZTag (https://eztagstore.com/). Suburbia proper starts in this area between Beltway 8 and Loop 610. Still pretty neat, Galleria.

3 - Highway 6: Suburbia. Many business out in this area, mostly Oil and Gas companies.

4 - Grand Parkway: Suburbia, farm lands, country roads for riding. Velodrome.

So to get you started, I don't race, however here is the local org that conducts the races:

http://www.txbra.org/home/index.asp

Go to the site and they have all of the Texas Cup races outlined

Here is our club site:

http://www.slbcycling.com/news.php

The Houston Bike club Site:

http://houstonbicycleclub.org/Pages/HomePage.aspx

Some bike stores:

http://bicycleworldandfitness.com/
- Located on Dairy Ashford (between Beltway 8 and Highway 6)
Litespeed, Seven, Felt, Giant

http://www.westendbikes.com/
- Located inside the Loop not far from Memorial Park, and some great MTB trails
ibis, specialized, Kona

http://www.acmebikes.com/
Located on Mason Road (Between Highway 6 and Grand Parkway)

Dependent on your needs (schooling, access to parks, etc), I can probably outline some places for housing.

This is kind of unorganized, but when I saw your post, I started info gathering.

Let me know if you have any questions.
 

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Ah finally a post I can reply to...

Cycling inside Houston itself is fairly bad, there are few dedicated bike routes and some bike lanes but all the bike lanes I have seen are in such disrepair that it would be more dangerous to ride in them then it would be to risk it with the traffic and to add to that most of the roads in Houston suck as well, I have no idea what the Public Works department does here but they don't seem to keep the roads in good repair.

However there are plenty of places you can ride within the city it is just a challenge to find them sometimes, for example there are a lot of bayou's (basically an open storm sewer) that for some reason were determined to be perfect places to have shared foot/bike paths along them that can provide decent mileage but you need to get out there earlier as otherwise they get clogged with every man, woman, child and their dog and cycling becomes a frustrating exercise.

If you are careful you can also plot routes through the city itself that are relatively safe but best travelled within a group for better visibility.

The best place I would say to live for a cyclist at least within Houston proper would be somewhere near Memorial Park, there is a short loop (about 2 miles I think) there that a lot of cyclists use for training and it is where the weekly crits are hold on Wednesday evenings during the summer, which should be starting up in June I think.

For doing serious miles for training most people head out to the west of Houston to a place called Katy and from there ride the country roads to Fulshear, for examples of some routes you can look here. There should be other maps on that site but I coudln't see them at a quick glance.

As for bike shops my LBS is Daniel Boone Cycles and I highly recommend them especially after some of the stories I read here about people not getting fitted properly or getting charged for them to fit cleats to your shoes and generally getting screwed around where at Boone's I don't experience any of that.

If you have any other questions then let me know.

As for clubs I can't really help out there but I am thinking of joining one myself as I am only just now getting more serious about road cycling, I know there are a few weekly rides departing from various bike shops, I just need to look them up. I have also contemplated starting up a ride that departs The Museum District, as that is where I live and also where Boone's is located so when I get some time I will look into that.
 

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A bit of background first: I am a recent transplant to Houston from the upper midwest, and I'll tell you that I miss riding up there greatly. I'll echo what each of the previous posters have said, basically riding inside the city is less than ideal, though with all the traffic lights you get natural interval training in (a potential silver lining?!). Riding outside the city is, however, actually pretty nice though very flat. I've done a bunch of group rides from Clear Lake (SE of the city) and from the west side of the city. Additionally, riding further outside the city is quite nice, hills and country roads can be found here. Riding from Sugar Land is definitely much better than riding inside the city.

Shops that I've visited that I recommend:

West End - as previously mentioned, it is a nice shop. In addition to the brands mentioned by the previous poster, they also carry a few lesser known brands like Moots, IF, and Castellano. Pretty neat place.

Boone's - Damn, this place has a lot of beautiful bicycles; tons of eye candy (Colnago, Bianchi, Specialized, Seven etc.). Their shop is also nice and I've been able to track down a few obscure parts that I needed in their shop drawers.

Bike Barn - a large chain type Trek dealer, but the owners are nice people and they give back lots to the local cycling community.

Trivantage - as implicated by the name, a triathlon shop, but they have some nice road bike cycling stuff too. Additionally, they are equipped to do lots of cycling specific physiological testing.

Anyway, I hope this helps.
 

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classiquesklassieker
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the great responses, guys! I did spend a summer in Houston a few years ago as a summer intern, although at that time I wasn't into cycling at all.

I'd love to hear suggestions on where to live for a single 28-year old male. If I were to come to Houston, my workplace will be in Sugar Land, right near 59/90. Stevers, you mentioned Loop 610/downtown. How long is the commute there? Sounds like I'll be reverse-commuting, and I'm a very early morning person. I will even consider showing up super-early to get a short ride in some mornings.

Thanks again, guys! This has been very, very helpful. And persuasive ;-).
 

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For singles I would say somewhere in Midtown would be best as that is a big up and coming area with lots of good nightlife and restaurants. I'm told the commute to Sugarland shouldn't be too bad as you'd be going against most of the traffic, it is the reverse of that commute that is the bad one. Midtown is inside the loop, a cross street you could lookup would be Bagby and Gray St.

From Midtown you can make your way over to Allen Parkway, which has a decent shared path you can ride along and from there you can make it to Memorial Park without too much hassle, I used to do that a lot but now I have a live-in girlfriend and dogs I moved over to the Museum District near Hermann Park.
 

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EuroCrash
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As you get north of Houston you actually have some really nice rolling terrain, as you have to drive anyway it shouldn't be discounted driving time will not be that different. If you race and are interested in joining a club, let me know (pm) and I'll give you a breakdown of the scene.
 

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Commute Times

As an example, My office is located @ Richmond and the Beltway. If I need to get downtown at PM rush hour (against the flow) it would take me all of 25-20 minutes traveling at the flow of traffic :D.

If your place of business is at 59 and 90, you would have to consider the following choke points:

1 - 90 and 59. 90 is the historic EW access route prior to I-10, and with the build up of business and developments has a lot of stoplights. Be aware that a few accidents have occured on 90 with traffic attempting to enter and turn either right or left onto 90.

2 - 59 and 610 loop. This is always a back up and will continue to be one, regardless of time of day. You just have to learn that when you approach from the east (i.e. going to work) stay to the left and when you approach from the west (i.e. going home) stay on the left.

3 - 59 and the Downtown spur. I've seen this back up at times because of activity downtown in the pm (Astros game etc.).

Again, this will depend on where you live. I have the US average 2/2/1 (2 cars payments, 2 kids, 1 house payment) out on the Katy prairie, so I would have to defer to the others on inside the loop (Loop 610) / downtown housing, but since the Super Bowl the downtown area is coming back and making a resurgence.
 

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Im from the Heights area of Houston (just northwest of downtown about a mile) and i don't find much trouble riding in the city. Im sure upon just moving to houston, knowing your way around is a bit tough, but you find that everywhere. I ride about 150 miles a week almost entirely inside loop 610 when im in town. West end cycles does rides every tuesday and thursday night that are alot of fun. The fast group (averages about 23) leaves at 6, the slower group (averages 18-20) leaves at 6:30. There are crits in memorial park during the summer that are fun as mentioned before, and generally memorial park is swarming with bikers. Lots of good riding out near katy too, pretty flat and the wind can be nasty. I would reccomend midtown, the heights, and montrose. The heights is an old historic neighborhood, with lots of character, montrose is funky with great coffee shops and music stores and restaurants, and midtown is condos for mostly young professionals.
Been going to school in san antonio for 3 years now and like it okay, lots of GREAT riding within an hour or so, but in town the roads really suck. Still love riding in houston though. Lots of really fast crit style riding to be done. Contrary to what most people have said, biking here isn't bad at all, and unlike most places in the country you can actually ride year around!
 

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Where to ride in H-Town

travis.dubose said:
Im from the Heights area of Houston (just northwest of downtown about a mile) and i don't find much trouble riding in the city. Im sure upon just moving to houston, knowing your way around is a bit tough, but you find that everywhere. I ride about 150 miles a week almost entirely inside loop 610 when im in town. West end cycles does rides every tuesday and thursday night that are alot of fun. The fast group (averages about 23) leaves at 6, the slower group (averages 18-20) leaves at 6:30. There are crits in memorial park during the summer that are fun as mentioned before, and generally memorial park is swarming with bikers. Lots of good riding out near katy too, pretty flat and the wind can be nasty. I would reccomend midtown, the heights, and montrose. The heights is an old historic neighborhood, with lots of character, montrose is funky with great coffee shops and music stores and restaurants, and midtown is condos for mostly young professionals.
Been going to school in san antonio for 3 years now and like it okay, lots of GREAT riding within an hour or so, but in town the roads really suck. Still love riding in houston though. Lots of really fast crit style riding to be done. Contrary to what most people have said, biking here isn't bad at all, and unlike most places in the country you can actually ride year around!

I live at about the intersection of Voss and Westheimer. If I want to go to the heights or the montrose area to ride, is there a route you suggest to get there that isn't as horrid as Westheimer? I haven't been riding long, but I am training for a century-ride with the LAF in October and my workout plan has me riding two or three (or more) hours on certain days, but I just don't know WHERE to ride...especially where I can get some experience with the hills I am going to be facing in Austin. I have no hills to ride here on my road bike, and from what I hear there isn't much hope for a road bike on the ones @ Memorial. Any ideas would be much appreciated.
 

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Check out this bikeway network map, it looks like you can take Fountainview, which has a bike lane most of the way down to Braes Bayou and there are paved trails that go along all the way to University of Houston Downtown. You can get off the bayou trail at Morningside and then take the quiet roads that are signed for bike use and get into the Montrose area. The Heights is a bit of another story and I don't have a safe route yet to cut up there from the bayou.

As for hills I know there is one bridge the name of which escapes me, which I believe is to the south that offers the only real incline. The other alternative is drive up to Katy and do the Fulshear loop as that will give you plenty of time with a headwind and that is good training for hill climbs as well.
 

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To get to the heights/montrose area, get to memorial park, take the paved trail as far east as you can, then take a left (north) and cut a block or two over to blossom. Take blossom all the way down (past west end bikes which has awesome rides tuesday and thursday nights at 6 for the fast group, 6:30 for the non racer types), continue on blosson until it dead ends, go north no more than 5 blocks and cross washington. Continue east for 2 or 3 blocks and you should hit waugh/heights blvd. I ride from my house in the heights to memorial park alot, it takes about 20 minutes, and thats from the farthest side of the heights. For longer rides just go out to katy. I promise if you go out to katy mills mall on a saturday or sunday morning between 7:30 and 9:30, you will see a bunch of bikers, just introduce yourself and ask if you can tag along with them, thats the best way to go if you don't know anyone. To get some hills you are going to have to go further out, atleast as fast west as sealy (45-60 minutes away). If you can get up early there are some great, pretty tough rolling hills just north of columbus. Its not like the texas hill country, but its the closest you've got. Hope this helps.
 

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travis.dubose said:
To get to the heights/montrose area, get to memorial park, take the paved trail as far east as you can, then take a left (north) and cut a block or two over to blossom. Take blossom all the way down (past west end bikes which has awesome rides tuesday and thursday nights at 6 for the fast group, 6:30 for the non racer types), continue on blosson until it dead ends, go north no more than 5 blocks and cross washington. Continue east for 2 or 3 blocks and you should hit waugh/heights blvd. I ride from my house in the heights to memorial park alot, it takes about 20 minutes, and thats from the farthest side of the heights. For longer rides just go out to katy. I promise if you go out to katy mills mall on a saturday or sunday morning between 7:30 and 9:30, you will see a bunch of bikers, just introduce yourself and ask if you can tag along with them, thats the best way to go if you don't know anyone. To get some hills you are going to have to go further out, atleast as fast west as sealy (45-60 minutes away). If you can get up early there are some great, pretty tough rolling hills just north of columbus. Its not like the texas hill country, but its the closest you've got. Hope this helps.
I've been using this route now for about a week and it is great. Your directions were spot on. Thank you.
 

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No problem, glad i could help.
 
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