Good evening everyone,
Three years after arriving in Dubai my company is now moving my family and I to Houston, Texas. We move mid-July and I’ll be based in the Energy Corridor (likely living in Cinco Ranch) and I’m wondering whether anyone on this forum can share any car free training routes, and a club to join?
I ride anywhere from 7-12h a week, mostly solo with TrainerRoad workouts synced to my Wahoo on a dedicated, 120km car free bike track here in Dubai. When it’s too hot to go out I jump on my Kickr or the rollers, but much prefer being outside. I have found a few routes around George Bush Park but wonder whether these are okay for training (VO2 max, SS etc.)? Is there much (foot) traffic on these routes?
Any help/guidance would be much appreciated.
Welcome to Houston! You’re not going to find routes without traffic here. Check in with Cool Cat Cycles. They’re right by GBP and the owners ride a ton and live in the Cinco Ranch area. Ask for Katya. They tend to focus on Gravel and Bikepacking, but I’m sure they can help with routes in the area and I know they have Saturday shop rides.
Also close by is Handlebar Cyclery. They’re a bit farther away, but do a lot of rides in the Katy area and have a shop team.
Finally, there is a new shop called Spindle. I haven’t been there, but have a friend that uses them.
There are tons of shops in Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, etc., but I think these are the closest to you and should all be able to help.
Also - you’re pretty close to the Alkek Velodrome, where Lawson Craddock (current US National TT champ) trained on his way up.
Sorry. Forgot to mention, foot traffic in GBP is VERY heavy and lately cops have been running radar on cyclists. Not conducive to training. Hopefully Katya or her husband can help with a workaround.
Strava heat maps could be your new best friend. Lots of good roads on the west, northwest, and north sides of town, but you’ve got to get out a ways to leave the traffic and stop lights behind.
Heat maps can help, but your best bet is calling the local shops and finding other riders like you who can advise on what works and doesn’t. When you’re coming from Dubai where you can ride for 30 miles without a single car, Houston is going to be quite a change.
There’s a lot more open road riding on the west side of Cinco Ranch, especially as you go toward Fulshear. I used to ride with groups in that region and we always went away from the city.
Also, George Bush Park might sound enticing, but definitely don’t count on it for a good training space. There’s too many people and it’s easy to get into an accident.
Hi - I have live in Katy, near Cinco Ranch and ride with a club called South West Cycling Club (SWCC). We ride very Sat and Sun and do around 60-70 miles. Great club and very welcoming. We are on Strava and if you post a request I will make sure one of the club organizers gets in touch.
Thanks all for your help and advice. Much appreciated. Sounds like GBP is a no-go for what I would want to achieve so may have to perform those sessions on the turbo, and save the outdoor riding for the weekends. I’ll reach out to some of the bike shops recommended for ideas, routes and riding partners - safety in numbers and all that.
Will also reach out to SWCC to enquire about joining, thanks!
With regards to traffic, are they considerate towards cyclist? Do they give you much room as they pass?
[Reviving the topic]
Now I am the one who is moving to Houston for a couple years on February. I’ll probably be located around Memorial / Briarforest / Energy Corridor
Let me know your thoughts and lessons learned ! it will be helpful.
I used to live around that area and there’s still a group that meets around the old Bicycle World/HEB parking lot on the corner of Dairy Ashford/Memorial. It’s kind of unofficially run, but lots of people from the ILC crew that used to be affiliated with Bicycle World. Typically Saturdays but other riding happens throughout the week depending on interest.
If you want to PM me your email, I can forward your info to the ride leader get you linked up.
Same recommendation I made above to contact Cool Cat Cycles. They’re located very close to George Bush Park (which will be in your back yard) and organize rides. I don’t normally ride in that area because it’s very high traffic, but the owners will be able to give you routes and get you in touch with ride leaders. http://www.coolcatcycles.com/
Hey welcome to Houston. Agree on talking to Katya at Cool Cat Cycles. Not only is she a shop owner but great advocate cycling in the Cinco Ranch area and she’s also a badass when it comes to slogging miles on her gravel bike. There a lot of paved and I paved trail around the George bush park area and I would disagree about doing interval along the levee. I do most of my outdoor workouts along the dam and backside. But you have to pick your time. After work can get crowded and same with the weekends unless you get out there early. Good luck and welcome to Houston
Just to add, Katya (the owner) DOES focus on gravel personally, but they also do road rides out of their shop.
Welcome to Houston! I moved in Mid-July last year and can share some of my experiences:
- I visited about four or five bike shops within the first two weeks of arriving in the area and settled on Cool Cat Cycles. Great owners and the shop ride on a Saturday morning is fun. They tend to split into an A and a B group and ride the same route weekly (approx 65km).
- Roads here are okay. I grew up in The Netherlands, and arrived with a stop in Dubai for a few years so it took some time getting used to the traffic and dogs. In a group you’re fine around the Katy area (and Westwards).
- I don’t ride solo, and never would here. Rather spend 3h on my trainer than go out on those roads on my own, particularly if it is wet. There are at least two, usually three who ride from Memorial through the park to get to the shop ride.
- I had a couple of intro rides with one of the biggest clubs in the area and they were great, good people and very welcoming, just not really my thing. They had a fair number of crashes towards the end of last summer which really put me off riding with them.
- Gravel is a big thing in the area, but with the exception of GBP you have to drive to get to the starting locations. Lots of groups travel out of town on a Sunday morning to go ride gravel to the NW and N of Houston. Gravel isn’t really for me so haven’t joined any of those rides, but I hear they are a lot of fun. They also usually ride on Wednesdays and Fridays around the levee at GBP.
Bottom line is that you’re better off on your indoor trainer for structure (too many stop signs and lights to get going here), and go out on the weekends to enjoy the local routes within the safety of a group. Be warned though, I ride anywhere from 160-200km on the weekend and usually total about 50m of elevation… it is flat!
Let me know if you have any questions once you arrive.
As per your experiences, it seems pretty similar to where I currently live: crowded group rides with fair number of crashes, and dangerous traffic that forces you to ride 99% of the time indoors.
Tho my background is triathlon and i`m only bringing my TT bike with me, I really wanted to try graveling, so i guess Cool Cat Cycles would definitely be the place to approach.
Thanks for the feedbacks. I`ll let you know once i’ve settled.
good luck down there; red light city. Here’s some info I passed on to another athlete from a road/gravel guy in town. might help you out
I listened to that podcast with Lucas, was super validating to hear him talk about the Houston struggles.
I dont know James but checked his Strava page after I made the below list, it looks like he lives out on the west side and not actually downtown so yeah intervals during the week should just be in George Bush or Bear Creek. I guess options 2, 3 and 4 might be silly to ride to for him but they are the closest to actual downtown if he works in the area or something. He’s actually about an hour closer to some decent roads than I am.
So that screen shot is George Bush Park it has a bike path goes around and into a retention area, it’s the best place to do intervals in the city during the week and also has a gravel road that runs along the top of the levy, I can also give a couple of other options I use from time to time as well.
Bear Creek park is all regular roads just on the other side of the highway- They do practice crits there on this loop in the spring but you can string together all kinds of loops in there- Bear Creek Loop | Strava Ride Segment in Houston, TX
Memorial Park Picnic Loop- This one kind of sucks for high end stuff but works ok for tempo type stuff if you can take the boredom- The Loop | Strava Ride Segment in Houston, TX
Smack down Loop- this is the closest place to actual downtown, I dont like it all and it’s not convenient for me but a lot of others seem to like it and there’s a week day group ride that does a few loops on it-Karbach Dirty Thirty Loop around Buffalo Bayou | Strava Ride Segment in Houston, Texas
And this last one is the loop I use that’s closest to me for weekend stuff- Tidwell Loop | Strava Ride Segment in Houston, Texas
Wish I had better to offer but it’s slim pickings in the city, all the decent riding is out West and South of the city but if you live in the center it really just isnt feasible in the week and is a long haul to just to get there on the weekends. That being said I think he’s about 30 minutes to an hour further West than me, so for longer rides he’s got stop light free roads probably within a 30 minute ride.