Monday, November 12, 2007

The Woodlands

Although there are many different routes to ride out in Fulshear to the west of Houston, repeating those routes over the course of the spring and summer can be monotonous at times. So when Coleman volunteered to lead a ride out of the Woodlands north of Houston I thought it was a great idea. I've never ridden up in the Woodlands before and it sounded interesting.

The Woodlands was the brainchild of developer George Mitchell. Beginning in 1974 Mitrchell and his partners developed approximately 24 square miles of timber land into a modern planned community utilizing many of the concepts and environmental design principals found in other well regarded new communities of that time. While the Woodlands is now primarily a bedroom community, it also contains several large corporate campuses, a shopping mall, six golf courses and the Cythia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, a reginal concert venue.

We met at the Woodlands Mall at 8am Saturday morning and were rolling by 8:20. Since none of us knew the roads, Coleman was kind enough to have printed out detailed directions for the whole 40 miles. This is where having a stoker came in handy. While my recumbent comrades struggled to ride and read their directions, stoker Aimee was able to easily monitor our progress and advise me of the next turn ahead.

We had a slow start during the first few miles. Z was riding his Barcroft for the first time and had to stop twice to adjust his seat. Then Aimee and I had a major drivechain derailment that took a few minutes to straighten out. With these problems out of the way, it was smooth sailing for the rest of the day.

If there was one disappointment in this ride it was the traffic which was, in a word, brutal. Coleman tells me the traffic is never this bad when he rides. The Rennaisance Festival is in town nearby so this may have accounted for the congestion. It's hard to enjoy the scenery when you're nervous and preoccupied watching cars and trucks.

Thanks to Debbie for her complete photo coverage.