Virtual Tour 41: Outer Downtown Houston

By 2009 I had graduated from a hybrid bike to a road bike. With the associated change in attire from baggy shorts and T-shirt to lycra. Thanks to the good folk at West End Bicycles.

They told me 1. that I had been sold a bike that was at least two sizes too small for me, and b. about the Tuesday and Thursday evening shop rides and the Sunday Taco rides.

Those rides were my introduction to longer rides and to what lay outside a 2km radius of where I lived.

There was not a lot of overlap between the weeknight and the Sunday rides. There was also a short and a long version of the weeknight rides so things didn’t get boring.

Tuesday / Thursday Long Ride
Sunday Taco Ride

The weeknight rides ran through the Museum District. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is one of the largest museums in the United States. The permanent collection of the museum spans more than 6,000 years of history with approximately 64,000 works from six continents.

The Holocaust Museum is the fourth-largest Holocaust museum in the United States. The cylinder represents the chimneys of the crematoria used by the Nazis to burn the bodies of their victims. The six columns at the entrance represent the six million Jews that were killed during the Holocaust.

Up against the Museum District is Hermann Park. One of Houston’s oldest public parks, Hermann Park was deeded to the city in 1914 by industrialist George H. Hermann. His initial deed of 285 acres of his property has since expanded to 445 acres.

The golf course designed in 1922 was the first public golf course in America to welcome all races.

Once through Hermann Park, you come to the Texas Medical Center. Over sixty medical institutions, largely concentrated in a triangular area between Brays Bayou, Rice University, and Hermann Park, are members of the Texas Medical Center Corporation, which constitutes the largest medical complex in the world.

Speaking of Brays Bayou, we ride on the Bayou Greenway trail for a bit.

Our mid-ride regrouping stop was at the old Arabia Shrine Center on the northeast corner of North Braeswood and Brompton Road. This Masonic temple was already abandoned when I was living in Houston. It has since been demolished and replaced with apartments.

River Oaks is a leafy upscale residential area with palatial homes. Many of the residents compete every year for the best Christmas lights display.

The Taco Ride started with a ride along Buffalo Bayou for a few kilometres.

We would traverse Waugh Drive at the Waugh Bridge over Buffalo Bayou. The Waugh Bridge is home to one of the largest colonies of Mexican free-tailed bats that reside in Texas all year. The bats emerge nightly to stretch their wings and feed on area insects.

Once across Buffalo Bayou at Shepherd Drive, we would loop back towards the Second Ward and Dona Maria for breakfast tacos.

The West End group were such good customers we had our own sign outside the restaurant.

When in Texas . . . .

5 response to "Virtual Tour 41: Outer Downtown Houston"

  1. By: gregblood Posted: June 30, 2020

    I studied the picture in front of the West End Bicycles shop. That’s you with the Jerry Garcia/Old Grumbleface beard, isn’t it?

    • By: Alchemyrider Posted: June 30, 2020

      Ha ha ha Blaine now works for the CA Park Service. He probably was/is a Deadhead.

  2. By: The Navigator Posted: July 2, 2020

    The Houston posts are very informative and looks like a lot of nice places to visit. The tacos on that taco ride look scrumptious. I’ve only been around Houston on the freeway, so it’s interesting to see what was in the CBD area. I remember pictures of the flooding from that hurricane but don’t remember building damage photos. And those fancy homes with Christmas lights look like where the set designer for the house in the movie Home Alone got his/her ideas.

    • By: Alchemyrider Posted: July 2, 2020

      I enjoyed living inside the Loop. I could walk to work. My colleagues all commuted for at least an hour each way.

      There was quite a bit of building damage from Ike. We were booked into the Doubletree downtown for the first two weeks of our time in Houston. We had to move to another hotel the day after Ike came through. The hurricane lifted the entire main entrance canopy and deposited it across the street. There was water streaming down the elevator shafts.
      The JP Morgan Chase Tower made the news because every window along one side of the building was blown out. A lot of the damage was caused by desks etc. being blown out of the building rather than the wind blowing the windows in.

      There was definitely some neighbourhood rivalry going on in River Oaks, both at Halloween and Christmas.

  3. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: July 2, 2020

    Nice to see a new city from a cyclist viewpoint. How do they fit a 10 gallon hat over there cycle helmet?

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