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People « PedalHouston
Mar 2013 07

Thanks to one of our readers and now a contributer, we have a great community corner post, which we haven’t had in a while.  Thanks Andrew for bringing a great perspective to riding in Houston vs other cities, as well as the lifestyle change that comes along with cycling.  Here’s the interview below:

Austin to Houston – Lady Cyclist in Motion

Lee is a 56-year-old Texas native and recent transplant to Houston. Struggling with health and weight issues, she’s discovered cycling’s benefits and has transformed herself into a daily 20 mile + rider. We interview Lee about the impact of cycling in her life and her experience as a lady cyclist in Houston.

Lee, welcome. Tell us about how you first started cycling.

Well I grew up in Austin with parents who were pretty athletic. They were always doing outdoors activities: rock climbing, running, and tennis. I guess in my own way I rebelled by not participating past my teen years. After college at the University of Texas, Austin, I married, started a career and a family with my husband. I had played tennis as a child, but never really got into the swing of my parent’s athletic rhythm. Lack of activity followed me into marriage and motherhood, especially with 3 little kids running around the house. When the oldest was old enough, we took him out to a cul de sac in Shady Hollow, where we were living at the time and taught him to ride his first bike. He took to it immediately and we couldn’t get him off the darn thing! I had an old rusting cruiser in the garage and I started going on short rides with him through the neighborhood. That’s how it all started.

So how did you progress as a cyclist from there?

Well my son and I would go on these casual rides, just a few miles through quiet back streets. He kind of grew out of it and when his mom wasn’t cool to hang out with any more, we gave it up. My weight increased dramatically during the next few years as the kids grew up and all of a sudden they were all in college, my nest was empty and I was sitting in a doctor’s office being told that I have Type II Diabetes. It was a frightening moment. As a result I had to dramatically change my diet – no more Texas-style BBQ’s, creamed corn, pies, cakes, I now have to strictly control what I consume and how I do it. I also was instructed to institute a daily exercise routine, at least 1 hour every day of light cardio. I tried local gyms, women gyms, and just hated them. It felt artificial. Except for the brutal summer months, Texas has gorgeous weather and I wanted to be outside. That’s when I pulled the cruiser out and began riding around Austin on casual rides by myself, just 10 miles here and there. It felt so good to be active on a regular basis that the rides became longer and my weight dropped steadily over a period of a few years.

What was it like riding in Austin?

Well this was just when cycling was taking off in Austin, it wasn’t the scene it is now, but there were certainly a growing population of folks getting out there for rides. We were just starting to get some recognition from cars that cyclists had a right to share the road. The culture came a little later on.

How did you transition to more serious riding?

I think my attitude towards cycling actually shifted dramatically with a short trip to London for my mother-in-law’s birthday just a few years back. She had recently purchased a Dawes Discovery lady’s bike from a UK shop, Bikes N Bits. She had just turned 78 and was excited to get out on rides! That was it. I knew that if my elderly mother-in-law could do it, I could take my riding to the next level.

When did you move to Houston?

We got back to Texas from London a few years ago and my husband was transferred to Houston. I was a little nervous because of Houston’s reputation as a “fat” city. According to the statistics it is one, if not the, least healthy cities in the country. But what I have found here is totally different than the stereotype: there’s a tremendous community of healthful individuals who are active in all kinds of ways. I hooked up with a group of lady friends from UT Austin living in Houston. Through sheer serendipity they had recently begun a cycling club, with rides every Thursday evening and Sunday morning. I bought my first road bike and joined them. I also started riding on my own, discovering the huge bicycle network Houston has developed. It was such an incredible surprise to find that Houston has invested in cycling infrastructure the way it has. Folks don’t think about Houston as the “Cycling City”, but it now has over 300 miles of routes that take you something like 500 miles around the greater Houston area. It’s an incredible opportunity to get out and see the beauty of this incredible city.

Tell us more about the impact cycling has had on your life.

My health is totally stable. I carefully control my diet, working with my doctor and nutritionist to ensure the proper balance for my diabetes. I still allow myself to indulge in the occasional BBQ or slice of homemade pie, but they’re the exception, not the rule. My drug now is riding. I ride 20+ miles 6 evenings a week no matter what’s going on. It’s calming, soothing, invigorating. I love riding with the girls or with my husband, but I especially love riding by myself. It’s become a lifestyle and I can’t imagine a better city than Houston to live it in.

Nov 2012 02

Hay Merchant is Pro-Bike, Pro-Beer, and Pro-Houston


This November, Hay Merchant is coming out in support of Houston’s biking community by offering a special on Karbach brews in honor of Houston’s bikers. On Monday, the fifth of November, Hay Merchant will be launching “One Less Car, One More Karbach,” a program offering a $3 Karbach from Hay Merchant’s great selection to anyone who bikes to the bar.

Hay Merchant is kicking off the program with a bike pub crawl in partnership with Karbach Brewery. Starting at Hay Merchant at 5:00 PM on the evening of November 5 and ending at Karbach Brewery (with a lot of great stops along the way), the ride will take in the unique sights and sounds (and drinks!) of Houston.

“Since it’s the day before the election, we thought this would be a great time to vocalize our support for Houston’s biking community,” said Hay Merchant owner, Kevin Floyd. “We’re all bike enthusiasts here at Hay Merchant. At any given time, there are more employees using the bike racks than the parking lot.”

Monday’s bike pub crawl is just the beginning–from Nov. 5 forward, those who bike to The Hay Merchant will receive the same offer. To receive the discount, riders just need to tell their servers that they arrived on bike. Whether you ride a half-mile or a half dozen to get to Hay Merchant, you’ll be able to enjoy one of Hay Merchant’s Karbach offerings for $3 for your entire visit.

The featured Karbach beer selection during the November 5 kickoff will be Karbach Hopadillo IPA. With its intense hops flavor and aroma, Pale, Medium Crystal, Dark Crystal, Munich, and Biscuit malts, and 6.3% ABV, it’s just the thing for thirsty bikers and beer enthusiasts alike.

“This is all about furthering Houston bike culture,” said Floyd. “At Hay Merchant, we’ve got bike builders, bike enthusiasts, and, in general, bike nuts. We want those in the Houston biking community to know that we salute you! And we’d like to get to know you, so come in for a Karbach!”

May 2012 06

Photo from Alkek Velodrome Facebook

Have you ever ridden for 24 hours straight?  Ever wanted to try a true test of self will?  Not to mention in a concrete loop that doesn’t go anywhere but where you started?  Meet Walter Dawes.  He did that this weekend for charity at the Alkek Velodrome track.  It’s a great story and it takes a lot of mental strength, endurance, mental toughness and a support system to keep you going.  Rex Knepp of the Examiner put a good article on the event.  It’s great to see something like this in Houston and hopefully brings awareness for Histiocytosis, cycling, the Alkek Velodrome and a man looking to accomplish his goals.

Photo Credit: Rex Knepp


Story continues here.

Follow Alkek Velodrome on Facebook.  Great people who love and are passionate about the sport run this place.  It’s amazing what goes on here.

Mar 2012 25

The great thing about having social media now is being in touch with the bike community and see what others are doing.  We all don’t have to be a part of the same circle of riders but it’s also good knowing that everyone is out and about riding.

from Sun and Ski Sports facebook page

from Northwest Cycling Club facebook page

This was just Sunday morning.  It’s great to just get a glimpse to see how active Houston has gotten as a city wanting to become more pedestrian.  As I told someone the other day that was concerned about cyclists on the road with cars because sometimes they don’t care that they are on the road.  It’s needed to make it aware that we are still pedestrians.  There’s still a person on that bike and to respect them as a rider.  If needed, what is a couple of seconds to yield and steer clear from them?

It’s crunch time for a lot of riders also gearing up for the BP MS150 ride on the weekend of April 21-22.  You’ll see a lot more riders especially on the weekend.  If you’re not on your bike joining them, cheer them on because that’s approximately 150 miles they are riding on their bike over a weekend.  It’s memorable and it’s for a good cause.

Enjoy the weather while it’s here and happy riding!


Oct 2011 17

Video done by Johnathon Tamayo

Have you heard of bike polo?  Well, you have now.

Houston Hardcourt – Check out the Facebook page for event info.

Oct 2011 11

It’s really great to see the bike movement spreading around Texas.  Cycling is recreational for the most part in a lot of people’s lives but in another sense, it’s starting to become part of the lifestyle in a city.  Here’s a great article from the SA Current:

Pedaling forerunners have already done the dangerous work of preparing SA streets for two-wheelers

By Scott Andrews


Last Sunday’s Síclovía, the mass ride that brought 15,000 people to bicycle, skateboard, and jog down a four-mile stretch of Broadway for four hours while autos were rerouted, was the first SA edition of the international ciclovía movement (Spanish for “bike path”), a fresh-air party celebrating fitness through human-powered transportation. In a town where more than 67 percent of residents are obese or overweight, the City-sponsored focus on exercise was as fresh as the new cooler temps by last week’s weather.

Appropriately, the event came three days after the City Council updated the bicycle/pedestrian master plan and mandated a “complete streets” policy that will require all new road projects to be considered through the lens of all road users — that’s pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, and drivers. Plans to extend our 210 miles of bicycle-friendly roads to 1,700 miles by adding bike lanes and shared-use paths still needs to be ironed out, and adequate funding to fulfill the new policies is yet to be obtained. And while the Council sent VIA back to the drawing board on an ambitious rail plan, Mayor Castro and the Council voiced support for rail. A mixed-transportation New Urbanism paradise will be hashed out in the details.

And while it’s unlikely many of Síclovía’s organizers have ever heard of it, it’s unlikely the event would have happened without nearly covert community actions like the 2007 San Antonio Bike Gang Summit. Billed as “The First official San Antonio Bike Gang summit since the 1940s,” when SA’s own Bandidos Motorcycle Club organized outlaw biker meets, the 2007 event brought together pedal-bikers in a night ride that culminated with a screening of the art-house film “Pandora’s Bike” on the banks of the San Antonio River Tunnel Inlet, now the site of the Pearl Brewery complex. Organized by downtown artist/provocateurs Justin Parr and Mark Jones, the ride definitely had a political-art spin, with participants dressed as their favorite felons in wry protest of the negative view that motorists often have of bicycle riders as rude, crude, and a general nuisance on city streets. The ride happened twice, but more importantly, it helped bring the spirit of the Critical Mass movement to San Antonio.

Photo: Photos by Michael Barajas, License: N/A
Photo: N/A, License: N/A


May 2011 19

Thanks Chris for the great story.  Share yours with us!  We want to hear your tales. e-mail us at ” contact [at] pedalhouston [dot] com ” or use the contact form.


Friday was my first serious ride since a back injury a few months ago, and my first commute home by bike of the year.  I have been longing to ride since the evening hours got a boost from day light savings a few weeks back. What a great ride it was.  The 23 miles flew by in way that makes me wonder why I don’t do this more often.  It was the kind of bike ride that leaves you smiling involuntarily and glad to be alive, with a strong urge to document the moment.  I love it when that happens.

Here’s a few things I found myself noticing on that ride:


May 2011 02

This past Saturday in Austin, a memorial was held for, Andrew Runciman, a cyclist who lost their life in a hit-and-run collision.  About 300 riders showed up to support and pay their respects.  There they post a “Ghost bike” at the scene of the incident.

Here in Houston on May 18th, the Ride of Silence will take place arranged by BikeHouston.  The quiet ride will be from Memorial Park to Downtown and everyone is encouraged to wear white.  More details will follow as the event approaches closer.

More news on the story after the jump:


Feb 2011 22

Thanks to a reader for the story.  Stay safe out there and cautious of your surroundings.

Link to original post:
Posts in Memorial Park may be danger to bicyclists

A bicyclist riding in Memorial Park last Wednesday is hospitalized and possibly paralyzed after he fell during his ride and hit a wooden post along the bike trail, reports KRIV-TV (Channel 26):

Memorial Hermann Hospital confirms (Berk) Clare is still hospitalized in critical condition. Friends say Clare, who is a member of the Woodlands Cycling Club, suffered a broken neck and a spinal cord injury. …

The wooden posts there in what’s called the picnic loop at Memorial Park are cemented into the ground. They are there to prevent cars from driving onto the grass to the picnic areas.

KRIV also talked to another bicyclist who had broken his neck after hitting one of the wooden posts in 2009.


Feb 2011 08

Portlandia 1

Posted In Blog,People

Recently got into this show, Portlandia, and Fred Armisen, formerly on SNL and Carrie Brownstein put some hilarious comedy sketches evolving around the lifestyle of Portland together. I’m sure BikePortland appreciates this.

It’s either this, “Put a bird on it!” or people living in the 90s = Portland.  :-P Hit the show up on IFC.

Haha, but in all seriousness – follow bike rules, be safe and cautious and remain friendly.

You’re a funny one, Fred.