interview by Kimberly Davis-Guerra
Houstonians are an eclectic bunch. With so many options to choose from on any given day, you might find one out jogging in Memorial Park, taking in a ballgame at Minute Maid Park, strolling through a museum or riding along one of our beautiful biking trails. This month is National Biking month so we sought out Dent Laney, an expert biker who is super familiar with the trails in and around Houston. As a dad and daily rider, he has offered some great tidbits of advice for anyone thinking about picking up this healthy habit or just interested in taking a leisurely ride through the park.
Of all the trails in Houston which is your favorite?
I’m partial to the Heights hike and bike trail as it is in close proximity to home. I can literally roll my bike out the front door of the house and check off as many miles as I care to for the day. The beauty of Houston’s dedicated hike and bike trails is that there is no fear of vehicular contention which allows all levels of riders to focus on riding, relaxing and enjoying their activity.
Which of the trails, in your opinion, is best for families?
From my observations while on the bike, I would have to say the most family-oriented trail would be Terry Hershey Park, http://www.pct3.com/Parks/all-parks/terry-hershey-park. The Terry Hershey trail follows Buffalo Bayou connecting Sam Houston Parkway and State Highway 6 for a total distance just shy of eleven miles. Along the route there is an abundance of wildlife to observe, a playground for the kids, exercise stations, restrooms and plenty (plenty) of space for a picnic.
For families just starting to ride, what would be your recommendation on how far/long to bike?
I’m going to suggest starting small (2 to 3 miles) and work up to a distance that is truly fun for the whole family. Too big of a bite too soon could result in an unpleasant experience and a not so fond memory (I’m never doing that again).
I’m told that by 2020, Houston Parks and Rec is looking to have 150 miles of biking trails available. What is it that you are most looking forward to?
That’s an easy one. Riding them all! Who knows, maybe one day all of the current and future trails will create a commuting network for the two-wheeled Houstonian?
Is there anything that you would like to see added to the biking trails?
I’ve watched them evolve and they continue to do just that. Bicycle rental stations are available, water fountain locations here and there, mile markers are in place on most trail systems allowing a good point of reference for those with a more structured ride in mind. As for adding anything to the trails? I’ll go with harmony and etiquette amongst all users.
When you go out for a ride, what are your must have items you bring with you?
Water, water and more water in that order of importance. I also like to ensure that I have my helmet, my phone, a spare inner tube and an air source for the occasional flat tire, and of course SPF.
Any tips or tricks for new riders?
Always wear a helmet. Always carry water. Never try to out pace your partner; ride together, stay together and enjoy together.
What is your favorite all time ride you have been on?
That’s a tough one… I’m going to have to go with my wife’s inaugural ride on her single-speed mountain bike because she may very well be reading this article. If not, then I’d have to say one of the many epic trails of Colorado and/or Utah.
What is on your bucket list to ride?
Road bike: Any leg of the Tour de France
Mountain bike: 6-day race in Breckenridge, CO (Brek Epic)
Why do you enjoy riding?
“Let me count the ways.” To me riding is simply the greatest escape from the everyday grind. A quick solo ride after a day at the office melts away the stress of the day and invigorates you to put your best foot forward on the next. The friends, the competitive edge, the health benefits, the miles and of course the smiles. This is why I enjoy riding!
May is National Bike Month, here are some ways to get your family pedaling this month…Happy trails!
Bike to Work Day
Friday, May 17, 2019
Bike to Work Day, part of Bike Month, www.h-gac.com/pedestrian-bicyclist-planning is celebrated across the U.S. to encourage everyone to get on your bike and explore the city, whether you ride to work or just around the neighborhood.
Houston Bikeways Program
Valuable information to help Houstonians and visitors navigate all of Houston’s bikeways and become better cyclists. www.houstonbikeways.org
A non-profit bicycle advocacy group working to create streets that are safe and accessible for bicyclists. www.bikehouston.org
Did you know about Bikes on Buses?
Bikes are allowed on both local and Park & Ride buses, and METRORail. For information on loading a bike onto a bus, visit www.ridemetro.org