Imagine this: You’re cruising on a bike trail that you’ve never ridden, and all of a sudden the trail ends. You have to find another route, ride on the sidewalk, or bike on the street without a bike lane.
Cyclists in Houston don’t imagine this; it is a daily occurrence.
What Houston is Doing
After years of planning and advocacy by the non-profit Houston Parks Board, the city of Houston took notice. Want more urban green space? Check. Interconnected bike trails? Check. The Bayou Greenways 2020 initiative will create 150 miles of connected parks and trails, which will be the largest urban park system in the nation!
SO… has there been any progress made on this initiative since it passed in 2012? Houston began the first stages of this transformation in 2013 with the construction of bicycle routes along Buffalo, White Oak and Brays Bayous. University of Houston Cougars who commute by bike will be glad to see the completion of the Brays Bayou trail, which is being expanded between Mason Park and UH. Will this now make biking a breeze around UH? Of course not, but hey, it’s a start.
Benefits of Biking
Why should we care about National Bike Month or any of these changes being implemented by the city? Why is biking green? We all know that Houstonians LOVE their cars, but biking is one of the most eco-friendly activities that you can do!
According to BikeRadar.org, it takes about 5 percent of the materials and energy used to make a car to build a bike, and a bike produces zero pollution.
Concerned about inhaling air pollution on your bike? Contrary to popular belief, you actually breathe less noxious gases while biking! According to a study by Imperial College London, passengers in cars, buses and taxis inhaled substantially more pollution than pedestrians and cyclists. Reducing both personal output and personal intake of air pollution sounds like a win-win to me!
National Bike to Work Day and Biking for You
Whether you bike to class, work or just for plain fun, it’s encouraging to note the progress that our city has made for a safer, more navigable biking environment. If you don’t own a bike, consider using a bike-share program like Houston B-Cycle. Happy riding!