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May is National Bike Month: Houstonians discuss using their bikes for transportation during COVID-19 pandemic

HOUSTON – During the month of May, from coast to coast National Bike Month is celebrated. Promoted by the League of American Bicyclists, communities are encouraged to giving biking a try, showcasing the benefits of an active means of transportation.

Even though COVID-19 pushed the City of Houston’s Bike to Work Day to September, bike month is still in full effect.

KPRC’s Anavid Reyes took to the streets to learn more about how Houstonians felt about using their bikes to get from point A to point B. The list of reasons for not using their bike is long for some people- too much traffic, takes too long, just to name a few. But’s no surprise COVID-19 is changing some people’s minds about transit and what commuting looks like.

Jennifer Ostlind, with Bike Houston, is a believer. Ostlind’s wanted to bike to work for years, but she knows not everyone is big on the idea.

Ostlind was surprised when she decided to venture on her bike to work during COVID19, “...the streets are now empty, on my way to and from work, I’ve just been in awe at how few cars there are."

A benefit many Houstonians would appreciate since some said,

“I would generally, not ride on the city streets during the week, I just don’t think it’s safe enough.”

“...but that can be hard here in Houston because the roads aren’t great.”

For the past three weeks, Ostlind starts her two-mile commute on her bike from Woodland Heights north of downtown Houston.

Her route starts on, “...Ridge Street, Riding to White Oak, then Houston Avenue, down to Memorial Drive ending on Rusk," according to Ostlind.

She says it’s usually very busy, people can go fast, and sometimes it’s totally clogged up. But street improvements have made all the difference.

“They built a protected bike lane on Houston Avenue, from Quipman to the Spring Street Trail, so that is great.”

Especially important, since Houston Avenue connects, many people from the Height’s area to downtown.

Cyclists in our area told me if you can plan your route before you head out the door, that is the optimal way to have a successful ride.

A source you can use to plan this route is the Bayou Greenways map, found on houstonparksboard.org.

The City of Houston along with organizations like BikeHouston, have worked together to create more than 1,500 miles of bike lanes throughout the city--to date they’ve reached nearly 500 miles of completed projects to help create a safer more efficient way to bike through Houston.