What the heart likes to do

I am so happy about the opportunity I had to give an old bike away to a friend who needed it.  My friend’s son is interested in bike riding and actually rides to school (college) from home.   My friend told me the current bike was not functioning and how much her son enjoyed biking.  They needed a functioning bike and I happened to have my husband’s bike that has been sitting in our garage for far too long.  It’s really old (1993) and it’s a Schwinn when Schwinn was good.  Before I was married my soon to be husband had me believe that he would adventure on bikes, canoes, camping, etc.  That lasted maybe a handful of times.

I had to get new tubes and a chain for the bike (about $50) to get in into working condition.  The gear shift doesn’t work anymore, despite the attempt to flush the lines.  I was told they may start working, although admonished not to get my hopes up.  Still the bike is stuck on a comfortable riding gear.  With Houston being so flat, you don’t really need to shift gears anyway.  It will cost $40 to get new shifts and $20 to install on each. For this bike as old as it is, the $50 spent to get it functioning was well worth it.  A new bike now-a-days is at least $400 at the bike store.  Of course they have the latest and the greatest options.  This bike is steel and heavier than the carbon frames.

schwinn

My friend arrived with her son.  Which warmed my heart.  Now a days it seems that kids just aren’t as appreciative.  Not this kid.   My kids would never ride a bike to and from work or school.   I would ride to work back in the day, not to save gas, just for the exercise.   My friend’s son was so appreciative and told me about his riding paths.  Again, warming my heart that he has found exercise he enjoys.  It is so special to me that I can contribute something that fosters the desire to keep going on this path.  There is just not a better feeling.  I hate throwing things away.  Finding a purpose provides meaning.

Cycling has so many good purposes, traveling from here to there, good for your knees, exploring beautiful scenery, physical challenge, etc.  There are so many places to travel in the USA and ride.  Back in the day, I almost planned a trip alone to Martha’s Vineyard to cycle the island.  I may someday go back to that plan.  Just listening to the bike shop chatter, there are trails in the blue ridge mountains and in many other places that you can ride for miles. I can’t wait for retirement.  I can definitely see me on these trails.

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What the heart likes to do

Exploring the Buffalo Bayou

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” — John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”

Once a month Bike Houston a non profit organization holds a bike ride to explore the Bayous.  They meet at Market Square in downtown Houston on the first Sunday of the month at 8am.  This ride only maxes out at 40 people usually and they go about 25 miles. The website suggested that wider tires were necessary because the path would be about 60% paved.  I had to get mountain bike tires and discovered a hybrid tire.  It’s wide, smooth in the middle and nobby on the outside.  The cost is about $20/per tire and $6 for new tubes.

A storm was coming and looking at the radar I saw red and even heard thunder.  The group decided to head out and deal with getting wet.  If it got really bad the plan was to sit under a bridge until the storm passed.  As we headed out the rain started.  I thought, I’m doing this for fun and to me it’s not fun or safe in the rain.  I made the decision to turn back because I really thought the storm was coming and conditions would be worse.  After getting the bike in the car, the sky became clear.  I’m so mad I didn’t stick with it.  I was really looking forward to this ride.  You can ride the bayou anytime, no need to go with a group. However, because I am unfamiliar with the trails, I really wanted to go with a “guide”.

It looks like there is a north and south side of the Buffalo Bayou trail.  And they don’t look like the connect.  Further to the west is White Oak Bayou that is to connect eventually as a part of the  Bayou Greenways 2020 project.  If you live between the city loops on the north side, you can potentially ride your bike all of the way to downtown along the bayou.

So, on my own, I may decide to explore the White Oak Bayou trail and the Heights bike trail.  It’s not easy to get this info on the internet.  However for the Heights trail, I think you can park at 2799 Moy St, Houston, TX 77007.  Which seems to be in the middle of the trail.  I really can’t tell how long it is.  (Between 4 and 10 miles).  I’m not sure how safe it is either.  This is why it’s a good idea to ride with a group!

buffalo bayou ride

 

Exploring the Buffalo Bayou

Long Ride Prep

Almost 60 days until the 150 mile ride from Houston to Austin!  Team Wood Group requires everyone take the Group Riding Skills class.  It took a little over 3 hours for the class.  (They did feed you). It was about 2 hours in a classroom setting at the Wood Group campus and 1 hour in the parking garage on your bike.

About 20 people showed up and there are currently 47 on the team.  It’s weird to me that the 3 women there including me at the class are the only on the team.  Whenever you do an event like a triathlon or something like this, the more information the better!   For instance on the triathlon you could not draft which is to be within 3 bike lengths from the person ahead of you, on this ride it’s ok.  However, they advised not to align your front wheel side by side with the back wheel of the person in front.  This is kind of the blind spot effect in that any sudden change with the person in front of you will cause you to crash. Most of the two hours were tips like this.  So now I know the lingo and the etiquette.

The one thing that stood out on the garage portion of the class is how to use your front brakes in an emergency stop so that you don’t flip over the handle bars.  I actually saw a guy flip over his handle bars in a group ride doing exactly that, going down a hill and using his front brakes only (@ Critical Mass Houston).   I thought there is no way with clip in shoes will I be able to hang my butt off my seat and jump off the back after braking like the instructor suggested.  If you do plan to use your front breaks only, you can at least transfer your weight back so that you don’t flip  (probably more useful on a mountain bike without clip in shoes).

The instructor went over all of the things you need on your bike for a long ride.  I have pretty much everything and just ordered a Camelbak Rogue hydration pack.  I knew about these from spectating motorcycle enduros back in the day.  These packs are fancy now! You can carry the rest of the stuff you need that doesn’t fit (like sunscreen) with you plus 2 liters of water.

I didn’t get the detailed information on what to pack for overnight camp I wanted but the puzzle is starting to come together.  Hopefully the last purchase will be a pack-able cot.  Mine is so old and bulky.  I want sleek, easy to carry and setup. I have had bad experiences on air mattresses and besides you will be relying on generators which I am not bringing and don’t plan to use. There were no real details on leaving from the Wood Group instead of Rhodes stadium either.  The instructor asked some people about how fast they ride.  Thank goodness most ride 14-18 miles an hour.  So I can keep up with them for the 9 miles it will take to join the rest of the 13,000 people !

kestrel

Long Ride Prep

When the rain won’t go away…”listen”

The weekends are a time to recharge!  So what do you do when it rains and rains and rains? I had this great plan to go bike riding on Buffalo Bayou, of course for adventure, change of scenery and to hopefully inspire others to get out there!   I happened to catch that there is new public art displayed on the trail and thought it would be fun to find the words Explore, Pause, Reflect, Listen, Emerge, and Observe.  It’s a great mindfulness exercise and being present, which someone in my company could enjoy.   The plans changed constantly in an attempt to get out in a dry moment.   For $9 you can rent a bike at the trail for an hour which is a good amount of time to spend on the bike trail.   We only found three of the words, but the word I found “spoke” to me…

listen

To listen does not necessarily mean only words or sounds.  Today, I felt as though I needed to listen in a different way.  Sometimes things happen and you have to listen.  My plans changed a lot today.  I did listen and for whatever reason the time that we went was the time that was meant to be.  We took a tour that I never would have thought to take to the cistern that once supplied water for the city of Houston. It was built in 1926 and provided 15 million gallons of water to the city, it was decommissioned in 2007.  Even on the Buffalo Bayou’s own website the information about why it was decommissioned differs from what the tour guide said.  (which is kind of an important lesson).  The site says there was an irreparable leak which you can interpret the leak was the cause for discontinuing use. However, I do recall, that the city was sinking because of the use of the underground water, a change was made to use the water from Lake Houston, Lake Conroe and Lake Livingston all lakes created by dams and the lakes now supply the city with water.  Water is so important for life and it fascinates me!

cistern

To me this looks like something out of a Harry Potter movie…looks like a horcrux hiding place!

Downtown offers great restaurants and shopping.  My daughter likes the trendy vintage places in Montrose…”hipster” and she got some cute outfits.  I enjoyed the graffiti!.

character

What do you “hear” when you really listen?

When the rain won’t go away…”listen”

Jacob’s Well – A Texas Treasure

The time is finally here!  A reserved swim at Jacob’s well.  If you are going to make the journey from Houston to Wimberly, Texas you might as well plan on a few stops!   We could not believe the traffic on I10 between Houston and San Antonio, there were no accidents  and no construction, however the traffic was stop and go, which was very strange…maybe fourth of July weekend?  I was worried that we wouldn’t get to swim because we had a 12PM reservation and we were late! Hmmm, it is nice that they say swiming is for reservation only because it’s such a small place, there isn’t room for a large crowd, however I was completely shocked that there is no one policing it.  They don’t tell you, time to go.  And there is no lifeguard on duty which is also shocking.  You could jump from way up high, then mid way then pretty close and you are on limestone rocks that are slippy when wet.   They say no diving…um says who? jacobs well It is a 10 minute walk to one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen.  Being that it’s a state park I can’t believe there are no park personnel.   This is the beginning of Cypress Creek.  Which is murky in Houston, and CRYSTAL clear in Wimberly.  The water temp is about 68 degrees.  Here it’s a spring and it’s at least 120 feet down!  It’s like you are jumping into the abyss!

I talked to an adjacent property owner that walked by, he was an older man and said that in the 40s his grandfather built what appears to be a walk way around the well.  It definitely looks like it was made, and he told me it was because the well filled up with silt from flooding, they dug it out and took the material they dug out and built the platform that protects the well from filling up with material during flooding.  (It diverts the water around it).

jacobswell2

This is an amazing experience.  I could have stayed here longer, however my adult teen and her boyfriend were ready to move on.   Which is fine…I wanted to go to an Olive oil “vineyard”…you can’t not go, it’s only 3 miles from here.  So we went to Bella Vista.  A lot of their oils and vinegars are made in California.  I made it a point to get the one made here.  I tasted it and it was good.  They also make wine, however I didn’t try any.  Another gorgeous place.  (They have a tour, which I didn’t even look into considering my company).

We then went to lunch at a place called the Leaning Pear that my daughter picked out…which was really great!  The restaurant is on Cypress Creek.  I got an amazing pic…

cypresscreek

My crew was up for one more adventure. And I was happy to hear that my daughter’s friend had never been tubing down the river.  Wow!  What an experience!  The river today is a little faster with all of the recent rains, apparently the Army Corp of Engineers are going to let out more water after the July 4th weekend which means the river will close! However today tubing on the Comal river was nice!   They allow for people to drink beer or whatever on the river (police were definitely here today) and when you get out that’s it. We spent about $20/per person for a couple of hours and got a ride back to the car.  tubingcomal

I am the luckiest person on earth to be able to have a day like this!  ❤

Jacob’s Well – A Texas Treasure