There is another time, along this stretch, where things are difficult for the cyclist; where street parking is allowed cars take up most of the lane and, to avoid being doored, the cyclist must carefully take the outside lane as needed.
As I arrived at Weslayan, the street at last widened to three lanes and a left turn lane.
( Part 1 of my journey along Westheimer Road is here: http://www.madmacedonian.com/2013/05/the-cycling-dude-vs-westheimer-road-in-houston-1.html )
After another mile you reach the 610 freeway and start pedaling through the Galleria area. Soon, at Post Oak, Westheimer becomes 4 lanes each way, with an additional turn lane, in order to better handle the crush of traffic through, possibly, the fanciest, most expensive, shopping district in town. This one mile stretch is chock full of high-rise hotels and office buildings, highly expensive boutique stores in several strip malls and the huge Galleria shopping mall with so many floors and stores that one could easily get lost before going broke (though, with all the fancy stores you COULD go broke first w/o trying.). On my two visits to the place I stuck to the great food court and Macy’s.
From here, the 6 mile mark, on out, it is strip mall heaven all the way to Highway 6. All the fast food places are here; Burger King, Chic-Fil-A, Del Taco, Jack-in-the-Box, James Coney Island, McDonald’s, Raising Cane’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Whataburger, even Shipley’s Donuts.
Big Box stores, like Target and Walmart, pet stores like Petco and Petsmart, supermarkets like HEB, Kroger and Randalls, as well as Office Depot, Home Depot and Barnes and Nobles; In other words, all the
familiar comforts of suburban life.
At 11 miles I reach Beltway 8 and the Sam Houston Parkway feeder road beside it I am only a mile or so from home if I want to call it quits, which I don’t.
The road has long since smoothed out, leaving the lumps and cracks to the sidewalks, which is a problem just about everywhere in Houston, except those parts of town where the streets are practically one lane, leaving no room for a sidewalk, but that’s another story, for another time.
The further out I went the dingier some of the strip malls became.. I continued to pass gated apartment complexes and high end residential communities, as well.
At 13.25 miles I came to the Bike Barn, bicycle shop.
At about 15 miles some teens in a silver Nissan, kept yelling at me out their window; I just smiled and waved. At the next intersection I was behind them and they opened a passenger window, expecting me to pull up next to them as we waited for the light. I pulled up behind, smiled and wagged my finger at them. A young Hispanic stuck his head out, smiled and waved back.
At the next light a Sentra pulled beside me with a pair of well-dressed black ladies inside, they opened the passenger window and asked me about my shirt and we had a very nice, short, chat.