Tag Archives: Houston Proud

First Twenty-Miler!

After a couple of weekends deemed by yours truly as too cold and/or wet to ride, we were blessed with beautiful weather here in Houston last Sunday. I had a lot on my plate, so I wasn’t sure whether I would ride or not – that is, not until I logged into my Fitbit app all 1,221 calories of my James Coney Island Sunday lunch – two coney dogs and a pile of chili-cheese fries. At that point, there was no doubt that my Schwinn was going for a ride and I would be on it.

As I left the house, I decided I would re-embark on the Barker Reservoir trail with my goal being to surpass the turnaround point on my last ride. As I rode west along the reservoir, I faced a stiff breeze. I wondered if the breeze would be multi-directional as it seemed on my last ride but I pressed on. As I turned left to head north from my previous turnaround point, I was pleased to enjoy a nice, smooth trail right through the reservoir. I really appreciate that nature is so close by and accessible.

Of course, cycling through nature is not without its hazards. As I approached this day’s turnaround point as Westheimer Parkway, the “pop, pop, pop” from the nearby shooting range grew increasing louder. I was also thankful for the sign reminding me not to swim in the brackish water and to keep my eyes peeled for alligators.

As I turned around at Westheimer Parkway, I noted that I had ridden 11.3 miles thus far. And I was pleased to note, as I turned east between the reservoir and I-10 that the wind was at my back. My ride home was a piece of cake.

I leave for London this Saturday, so I will lose the next couple of weekends to travel. I continue to enjoy my new hobby, and I look forward to daylight savings time allowing me the option to hop on the bike a few evenings a week.

Ride stats:

Cumulative miles 2019: 76.8

Happy Cycling!

Soli DEO Gloria!

(c) kellertxdad.net 2019

Energy Corridor Short Ride

January 12, 2019 – What a beautiful morning! As I prepared to depart on my ride the sun was shining and the temp was a cool 61 degrees. This is the perfect morning on which to attempt the 22-mile round trip around the Barker Reservoir. Or so I thought. As I headed up our street towards Memorial Drive, the more-brisk-than-I-realized breeze blew into my face and hindered my progress. And the effects of a late night out presented themselves in royal fashion. No, today is not the day for that longer ride. It’s OK; plans can be changed.

As I rode up Memorial Drive towards Terry Hershey Park, I pondered my options. I could do the loop trail and go home, but that would be too short. Then I remembered an access point into a neighborhood adjoining the park. I decided to explore that, and see where the roads would take me. Lo and behold, they took me to work!

I could bike to work if I wanted to…

I know a few coworkers to ride their bikes to work and back. We are blessed to have a workout facility at the office, complete with showers and changing space. So I could do it, if I wanted to. Something to ponder…

I rode up Enclave Pkwy to Briar Forest, turned around and rode back to Hershey. From there I headed back up Memorial Drive to the comfort of home. Not exactly the ride I envisioned as I prepared to leave, but I’ll take it given the circumstances. The Barker Reservoir trail will be there when I’m ready to tackle it.

Ride stats:

2019 Cumulative Miles: 54.4

Happy cycling!

Soli DEO Gloria!

(c) kellertxdad.wordpress.com (2019)

Barker Reservoir Trail (Partial)

January 6, 2019. After having walked a portion of this trail I’ve looked forward to exploring the rest of it on my bike. Beginning at Terry Hershey Park to the east, the trail is roughly 11 miles long to its end at South Fry Road. The weather was, again, perfect for a ride: temps in the los 70’s with partly cloudy skies and a nice breeze. As I mounted my bike to begin my journey, the saddle-soreness from yesterday’s ride immediately dictated that this would be a partial exploration of this trail.

Our home, along many others, was flooded after Hurricane Harvey when the federal government opened the flood gates at the Barker Reservoir with no advance notice or warning. Seeing those gates now still brings back the memories of forced evacuation and significant property loss.

The section of trail I rode is unshaded, and follows the berms that form the reservoir. As I rode north and then turned west towards Barker Cypress road the breeze was in my face and I looked forward to a nice tail wind on the ride back. Reaching my turnaround point near West Houston Audi on the Katy Freeway, I snapped pics of the section of trail to be explored next weekend (left) and looking back over the route over which I have come (right) as I enjoyed my water break.

As I retraced my route eastbound, I was surprised that the breeze in my face was stronger than it was headed west. How in the world does that happen? Ducking my head to the wind, I persevered, soon arriving back at Terry Hershey Park. I couldn’t help but capture a few pics of an over-full Buffalo Bayou before heading home.

Having ridden two days in a row, my body is telling me it needs some rest, and I’m happy to oblige. I continue to enjoy my new hobby and look forward to hitting the trails next weekend, weather permitting of course!

Ride stats:

2019 Cumulative Miles: 44.8

Happy cycling!

Soli DEO Gloria!

(c) kellertxdad.wordpress.com (2019)

Swollen Bayou, Firefighters & Dead-End

January in Houston offers some outstanding weather for hitting the cycling trails and today was absolutely perfect. I pulled out of the garage late this morning, greeted by a sunny sky and beautiful 64 degree temperature. My goal: Ride the bayou trail to Gessner Road and back. More on that in a bit.

We had a lot of rain this past week, and the bayou was overflowing its banks as a result. Many stopped to check it out, including this family.

As I approached the Sam Houston Tollway overpass, I was excited to pass this previous turnaround point for me. Proceeding under the bridge, I came upon several of Houston’s first responders practicing fast water rescues and maneuvers in the bayou. How cool is this??

Continuing on, I rode up a slight rise headed east towards Gessner Road when it happened. Dead end. The trail continued through a locked gate at a very nice looking apartment building. Best laid plans, I guess…

Well, what could I do? I rode up to the tollway and took a quick tour through an adjoining neighborhood, hit the trail and headed west towards home. I’ll be checking out the Houston trail maps, as I still intend to ride downtown and back by end of this year.

It doesn’t really matter, though. I ride for fun. I enjoy the weather and the scenery. Today’s ride was excellent. My new Schwinn is performing beautifully, and I’m enjoying the Strava app. I like that I see other Strava users marked in the app but haven’t found any local Strava friends yet. And the app calls me an “athlete” – that by itself makes it a keeper.

Ride Stats:

2019 Cumulative Miles: 31.0

Happy Cycling!

Soli DEO Gloria!

Hurricane Harvey: Evacuation

Monday, August 28, 2017, 11:30 AM. The boats on which we rode out of our flooded neighborhood dropped us off at the main entrance to our subdivision. Coast Guard helicopters hovered in the sky above us. Clutching two kitchen trash bags hastily stuffed with clothing and our cell phones, I along with my wife, my son, four dogs, and one cat stood trembling with wet cold on Memorial Drive, which was becoming somewhat of an island among the rising flood waters. The transportation to shelter we were told would be waiting was nowhere to be seen. Although the guts of Harvey had departed our area, it was raining. We were wet, we were cold, we had four animals with nowhere to go and no way to get there. How did we wind up in this perilous situation?

IMG_1131Sunday, August 27, 2017, 6:45 PM. As I sat in the family room completing my fantasy football draft, the power suddenly went out. I was surprised; so far, Harvey had passed with no power issues in our neighborhood. As the evening wore on and the power remained out, my surprise transitioned to concern. We began to see chatter on Next Door (nextdoor.com, a website on which neighbors can commiserate on items of interest in the neighborhood) and other social media apps that the US Army Corps of Engineers would begin opening flood gates on nearby Addicks and Barker Reservoirs sometime during the night, and that water would soon begin to enter adjoining neighborhoods. The chatter included assurances that the releases would be controlled and we in the path of the coming floods would have ample time after daylight to safely leave our homes.


Power out, monitoring Internet for news and information. 8.27.2017


Flood waters rising, early morning 8.28.2017

Monday, August 28, 2017, 5:45 AM. We awoke at the crack of dawn with flood waters already halfway between our front door and the street. There was no way we were driving out. Overcoming our initial frustration, we began moving non-perishable food items and other storm survival essentials upstairs, expecting to remain up there for a day or two until the flood waters receded. I pulled our cars as high up in the driveway as possible. As the morning wore on, the waters continued to rise. We began to see people walking out of the neighborhood towing kayaks, pool floats, and even a large inflatable duck. Soon powered watercraft were cruising the street. Jet skis and bass boats operated by volunteers were joined by the red boats of the US Coast Guard. As the Coast Guard was loading up my next door neighbors, I walked over in ankle-deep water that lapped against the front of our house. I noticed the Coast Guard helicopters flying back and forth across the sky over the neighborhood, the thump-thump-thump of their rotors reverberating in my chest. (It was at this moment that I truly understood what the word “surreal” means. This was it.) “Sir, if you want to leave, you’ve got to leave now,” the young man on the Coast Guard boat said as he helped my neighbors climb aboard. “Seriously?” I asked, somewhat incredulously. “Sir, the flood gates are open and you will soon have six feet of water, maybe more, in your home and it will be here for at least two weeks. If you want to go, we will come back for you after we evacuate these people.” We really had no option. “Okay,” I said, “we’ll get ready. Where will we go?” He responded that there would be transportation waiting to take us and our animals to an evacuation shelter at the nearby British Petroleum office building. “Pack light and hurry,” he said.


Early evacuees walked out with aid of kayaks and other small watercraft. 8.28.2017


One of many volunteers who aided evacuation efforts. My wife took this pic as they navigated down our street. 8.28.2017

Monday, August 28, 2017, 11:00 AM. As we rushed to gather our pets and a few belongings, the boat arrived at our front door. This was a very nice fishing boat piloted and manned by local volunteers. As we worked to corral our confused animals, they offered calm reassurance. “Don’t rush. We’ll get you out. Take your time. We’ll be fine.” Offering limited capacity, we loaded my wife, son and four dogs on board. As they pulled away from our house, a volunteer on foot towing a canoe approached me. We loaded the pet carrier holding my daughter’s cat and my trash bag full of clothes onto the canoe and began walking down our street. As we walked the water increased in depth until it was up to my chest. A red coast guard boat (different from the one that picked up my neighbors) came around the corner and picked us up. The young man piloting the craft told me they were with the Coast Guard unit from Memphis, TN. He was 24 years old. I was impressed at his maturity and his ability to pilot the boat amongst the submerged mailboxes, shrubbery and other obstacles. Pulling up to Memorial Drive, we offloaded and I was reunited with my family.


My wife took this photo of our poodle held by our son as they pulled away. Our house is in the background. 8.28.2017

Monday, August 28, 2017, 11:45 AM. That, dear reader, is how we arrived in this perilous situation. It was raining. We were wet. We were cold. There was no transportation and no shelter at British Petroleum. A neighborhood security guard was parked at our subdivision’s entrance. I asked him about the promised transportation. “You’re on your own, man.” We had nowhere to go and no way to get there. Frustrated, we considered flagging down a boat and having them take us home. It was at that moment the beautiful, shiny black Cadillac Escalade pulled up alongside us.

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” ~ Psalm 56:3

(c) Jeffrey R Strege 2018

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