I have lived in Houston since September, but it was only in March that I took to the streets on my trust steed, Cleopatra, in any serious way.
A few months back I rode my bike alongside the Pasadena freeway, for 14 miles each way, to visit the San Jacinto Monument and recently explored the stretch of Westheimer from Highway 6 to a few miles beyond the Harris County line, but other than a few short rides, on not so busy streets, to run errands, I’d not begun to explore Houston proper.
I decided that, one day at the end of March, it was time to start.
What better way to begin than to introduce myself to the longest, busiest, street in town, Westheimer?
It runs from Bagby Street in downtown Houston, all the way out to Westpark Tollway on the southern edge of George Bush Park, west of Highway 6. At this point “Old Westheimer Road” soon becomes the FM 1093 feeder road for the tollway, at the county line.
The street was named after Michael Louis Westheimer, a German immigrant and flour salesman, who came here before the Civil War. The road itself was born in 1895.
The width of the road is as varied as what one can see while traveling it, but when one only views it from the windows of a crowded, moving, bus there is simply no time to stop and smell the flora and fauna, or experience anything else.
1230pm, Houston, March 28, 2013:
I began my ride at the intersection of Bagby and Westheimer and, after 3.75 miles I reach Weslayan/Willowick Streets and took stock of the journey so far…
It had been a bumpy ride on a two-lane street past small business, many in very old buildings you can find anything from arts and antiques to bookstores, restaurants, and a few things in between. There is Lamar High School and St. Luke’s Methodist Church.
Then there are the streets; narrow and bumpy ain’t the half of it! The inside lanes, aside from being as narrow as the outside, is made up of old, bumpy and cracked, presumably repaired, pavement as not. There are 2 choices for the cyclist: Enjoy a bumpy ride that is less than friendly to your wheels, or take the lane in that part that is damage free.
When you take the lane, traffic behind you will either have to stay behind you or, if impatient, go around you.
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