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About the Author

Mark Cheater is senior editor for Rails to Trails magazine and a one-time resident of Houston.

Destination: Houston, Texas
by Mark Cheater

oes the thought of a journey on yet another idyllic, pastoral rail-trail bore you? Do you live in a city that bends over backward for cyclists and pedestrians, and want to see how urban dwellers in the other 90 percent of the country navigate on two wheels?

If you answered "yes" to either of these questions—or if you're just longing for a unique escape from the winter doldrums—grab your helmet and your bike gloves and head to Houston.

Houston? you ask. Rated one of the worst cities for cyclists in the country a few years back by Bicycling magazine? Also ranked as the ninth-most-dangerous metropolitan area for pedestrians in a recent report?

Indeed—but these days "Houston Is On A Roll." That's the motto of the city's bikeway program. Its coordinator, Dan Raine, proudly points to the
supporting evidence: more than 700 bike racks installed on city buses since 2007, and more than 300 miles of completed on- and off-street bikeways (with 30 miles of new trails in various stages of development).

Among the most interesting developments are several new rail-trails near downtown Houston. These trails—the Columbia Tap, the Harrisburg-Sunset and the MKT/SP—provide a total of 11 miles of wide, well-maintained pathways that can easily be navigated in a day. Riding them will give you a unique perspective on the culture and history of the nation's fourth-largest city, and perhaps even some newfound respect for it.

Read the complete article by Mark Cheater online:

 Destination: Texas (PDF/605KB)

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