Glissette Rides A Bike: Multimodal

Image via flickr/Adam Baker.

This is the fourth installment of a week-long cycling series. Read the first, second and third installments.

I wanted to quit this challenge after my ride to — and not from — work. I just wanted to take my bike and ride trails for the rest of my life, without ever having to worry about dealing with road traffic. But, alas, I had a job to do. I had two tasks left, become multimodal by using my bike on public transit and going out at night. Based on my experiences on public transit, I decided to go multimodal and head off to AHH, Coffee! (Yes, this is the name of a real coffee shop on the outskirts of East Downtown.)

In order to try and get the maximum experience on a Sunday morning, I planned my route to include riding the bus, riding the MetroRail and biking to get to my destination. I left my apartment at around 10 a.m. and rode a half-mile toward the newly-sheltered stop for the No. 8 bus. It was a Sunday, so I was expecting the service to run a tad slower than usual, but the bus rolled around the corner about two minutes after I got to the shelter. I barely had time to catch my breath.

I grabbed my bike and guided it to the front of the bus, where an empty bike rack was waiting. Essentially, the rack unfolds and you can load the front tire of your bike into a slot and latch it into place. It took me a little bit to figure it out — I’m assuming it hadn’t been used in a while because the latches were a little tough — but I was able to load my bike on semi-efficiently and hop on the bus.

I rode a mile to the Fannin South Transit Station, watching my bike bounce up and down as the bus hit potholes and uneven road. My stomach dropped when I thought I saw my bike bounce all the way out of the rack, but that was just my imagination getting the best of me. When we pulled up to the station, my bike was safe and intact with no additional scratches. I unlatched it and walked to the platform for the Red Line of the light rail, ready to ride to the Central Station stop in downtown and then bike another half mile to the coffee shop. The light rail pulled up and I slowly made my way in to a portion of the tram reserved for disabled passengers and people on bikes. I settled my bike against the wall and held on to the hand rail as the rail started toward downtown.

The ride was nice. I was lucky and caught a rail that didn’t have many people coming in and out, so I didn’t have to deal with the dread of possibly taking up too much space. I got a view of the Astrodome and the Museum District before being dropped off at Central Station.

From there, it was a straight shot headed east on Rusk Street. Since it was a Sunday, the street wasn’t lined with parked cars and I was able to safely bike without the usual pit in my stomach I still get when I ride on the street. I did notice I was ultra-aware of my surroundings, checking three or four times before crossing an intersection, fearing a car might run a red light.

I passed under 59 and pulled up to AHH, Coffee! on my right side. I parked my bike in the rack (without a lock because I haven’t bought one yet) and opened the door to head inside. I ordered my coffee while keeping an eye on my bike outside. I looked at my watch. 11:30. Great timing, good coffee and a safe ride — a win in my book.

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Glissette Santana

Glissette Santana is the web and social media editor for the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

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