Brian Barr, 21, Chemical Engineer Student

Brian Barr, 21, Chemical Engineer Student

Brian Barr, 21, chemical engineer student, works at Rice Bikes, the student-run bike shop at Rice University Brian moved to Houston three years ago to start his freshman year at Rice University. He came from Atlanta where he was not able to ride his bike that often because his neighborhood there was not very bike friendly. Luckily he could sometimes borrow the family car. Now a student at Rice, Brian has lost access to the car and finds his way on his bike or by taking public transit like buses and the metro rail. Houston is a 6: “I cannot afford a car, being a student at Rice is expensive enough, so having a bicycle is an essential part of my means of transportation. I am glad that I can use my bike around campus and that the lightrail is close by. Houston has a lot of potential as a bike friendly city because it is so flat and it stays warm throughout the year. Some neighborhoods are already very bike friendly and have easy access to off-street facilities such as the bayou trails, but other parts of the city still have a ways to go. For example if I need to go to the Galleria area or Greenway Plaza, although it is not far, I never take my bike. I do consider myself a strong and fearless cyclist. You have to be if you depend heavily on riding your bike for transportation. Overall right now I would give the city a 6 out of 10 but with the potential to be an 8 or a 9.” Houston Bike...
Meet Our New Communications Manager

Meet Our New Communications Manager

Name: Ivan Fuentes Age: 32 Title: Communications Manager Ivan Fuentes joined BikeHouston in October as our communications manager. We talked to Ivan about his new job and what he wants you to know about cycling in Houston. After a 10-year career in finance, what prompted you to take a job with a nonprofit? I was always curious about BikeHouston. When this position came available, I saw an opportunity to bring some new ideas and help Houston grow into a more bike-centric city. I have been in the social cycling community for some time now. I am so excited to have the opportunity to help all those people we got on bikes to now get the biking infrastructure they deserve. What are you going to be doing for BikeHouston? My job is to connect BikeHouston with the community. I’m here to make sure our members, supporters, volunteers and all transportation stakeholders know what we are doing to make Houston a cycling utopia. As part of that, I’ll be creating, coordinating and promoting fun outreach events that get more people on bikes. What is your first memory of cycling? My first memory of cycling was when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I was riding with my brother down our street when I hit a rock and lost control of my bike. It was an old bike so the grips were torn and the metal exposed. The handlebars turned and hit me right on my chin, causing a big cut that required stitches. The doctor said that if it had been an inch or so lower by my throat,...
How To Fix A Flat Tire

How To Fix A Flat Tire

Flat tires happen to everyone, usually at the most inopportune times. So we wanted to make sure that you have an idea of what to do next time you find yourself with a punctured tire out on the road (we encourage you to practice these simple steps at home). Here are the steps: Remove the tube. (While it is technically possible to repair a tube without removing the wheel, it is much easier to work with the wheel off the bike.) Make sure to inspect your tube for any debris. Locate puncture. Grab your pump and start re-inflating the tube—big holes will be obvious. If the hole proves elusive, hold the tube up near your cheek and ear. You should be able to feel and/or hear most small leaks. For really hard-to-locate holes, immerse the tube in water a section at a time and look for a tiny stream of bubbles. Some flats are caused by pinching the tube against the rim. This usually creates a pair of punctures, or a “snakebite”—make sure you find and patch both. Prep the surface. Most patch kits come with sandpaper, use this to rough up an area around the hole a few millimeters larger than the patch you are using. If you have a choice, select the smallest patch that covers the hole. If sandpaper isn’t available, a rock or any other rough surface can be used, just make sure there isn’t any debris left on the tube. Apply the glue. Apply a thin layer of vulcanizing fluid to the tube, enough to cover a spot a few millimeters larger than the...
#OptOutside More Than Just A Hashtag

#OptOutside More Than Just A Hashtag

Every year millions of people line up outside of the nearest big box stores the day after Thanksgiving as part of Black Friday. This year, join BikeHouston for something different by going for a bike ride. #OptOutside is a campaign by our friend and sponsor, REI, to encourage people to skip the lines on Black Friday and get outside. BikeHouston is opting outside by leading a ride for our members. We are heading to Sam Houston National Forest for the #OptOutside Adventure Ride. Although registration for this ride is already full, you can still burn off the turkey and go pedal with your friends. Go for a ride instead of waiting in line at Walmart. Even if you can’t make our ride, take the family to the park, go for a ride or walk. IF you absolutely MUST shop, take your bike there! You can get more information on our ride...
Confessions of a Bike Commuter

Confessions of a Bike Commuter

I won’t lie to you, I never thought I would be getting to work by bike. When I first moved to Houston my job required me to drive every day from the Heights to the Woodlands — what a terrible time that was. I eventually joined up with a van-pool with some like minded urbanites which did make things a little better. My bike stayed in the garage, reserved for weekend rides around the neighborhood or along a trail. It wasn’t until my commute was reduced to 5 miles each way that I looked at my bicycle as transportation and not recreation. The first month was hard. My back hurt and I showed up sweaty every day. But as I rode on each day got better. I got a bike rack and panniers. Went head first into bike-commute mode. Now I have two water bottle cages, a new head light, a backpack that can hook onto a rack, wider tires that accommodate my rough ride to work. As I made the switch to bike commuting something I never imagined happened. I started looking forward to my commute. I go for a bike ride, not sit in a car. I don’t even think about that dreaded word “traffic.” The time it takes to get into the office is roughly the same, but I am happier and healthier because of the increased activity. Start small. Take your bike to work once a week. Do it on the day you can give yourself a little extra time to clean up. I promise you will start looking forward to that day. I have...
Lamar Bike Lane Counts: it’s not perfect, but we need it…so let’s use it!

Lamar Bike Lane Counts: it’s not perfect, but we need it…so let’s use it!

We can complain about how it currently is not connected to other bike paths, we can also complain about the two-way bike lane on a one-way street, or we can celebrate that we have a dedicated bike lane. Me, I’m going to celebrate it and encourage the city to keep building more protected bike lanes. One way that I can help that is by being counted when I ride on it. From time to time the city will set up a counter in order to track the bicycle traffic along the Lamar Bike Lane. So if you find yourself riding around downtown and the Lamar lane won’t take you too far off your commute; go ahead and ride it, be counted, and show the city that there is use for these bike-ways. The city determines if a project is successful by the amount of use they get out of it. This way when there is new construction, road rebuilding, or the topic of creating better bike lanes comes up; they have positive data showing that the public is using them. This will show a return in their investment for the infrastructure we so badly want and need. This will get us closer to an actual network that could potentially make the Lamar Bike Lane even better. So I again encourage you to give the city a reason to keep building towards a better more bike friendly future for Houston. Take a ride down Lamar this week, this weekend, and throughout the months on your commute. You never know when you will be counted. If you lead rides, take them...

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