I biked the “Stroker Road – Huffman” route with the intent to get close to 40 miles in. I ended up riding 40.84 miles averaging 16.0 mph. In addition to the miles I also wanted to check out the road work Harris County Precinct 2 did on Old Atascocita Road. These pictures show the work:
Looking from FM2100 east it appears the road was resurfaced shoulder to shoulder but about a mile or so east of FM2100 the resurface work was only about 4 feet wide from each shoulder with some areas both shoulders and others only one shoulder. Riding west on Old Atascocita the repairs fixed the road to a smooth ride from the dips and bumps from before. The east bound lane appeared to get less repairs and another ride will check that out.
Before I got to Old Atascocita Road I was on Ramsey Road which splits a number of grass farms. I noticed several sections of grass gone and the recent rains and heat probably caused the grass to grow. The way Saint Augustine grass is harvested is to skim the grass and roots from the dirt. Over time the land gets lower and lower requiring dirt to be added or grass not grown. One farmer had his tractor mowing some high grass in a field beside a house. I wonder if it will be baled for use.
Weather was hot with 87 degrees when I left home at 10:58 and 93 as I rolled back into the driveway at 2:14. The humidity has still not let up. When I stopped at the Huffman Chevron before I went inside I sat down with a bunch of paper towels to dry off some. The perspiration did not cooperate though until I got a cold drink, ate and sat there for 20 minutes or so. There was a light breeze under the gas pump canopy which helped to cool me down some. I did see one other biker on Fairlake Drive as I was going south.
81.11 miles this week
574.69 miles for July (141 miles left to reach July’s goal)
Some pictures from today’s ride to Splendora (Click on the image to enlarge it). One picture I didn’t take was of Archie’s grocery store in downtown Splendora. Archie’s has been there for many years. The round-about in Woodridge Forest reminds of the Tour de France. They are rare in the US. The photo at the back of Roman Forest shows the forest. For many years I did not know Tram Road went through to FM2090. The road surface is smooth and the dogs are behind fences.
The route went north from Kingwood through New Caney, Roman Forest and Splendora before riding south on the US59 service road all the way to Kingwood Drive. This was 40.26 miles with a 16.3 mph average speed.
Finally the weather is drying out some although early in the ride on Loop 494 two big rain drops hit my glasses and helmet. After that it was partly cloudy. I didn’t start quite as early as I planned leaving at 10:18 with 84 degrees (96% humidity) and returning at 1:30 with 94 degrees (91% humidity). There was no wind other than what I created by riding.
On the way back home I took a break at the Star Stop Exxon in Porter at FM1314 and US59. I haven’t stopped here in awhile. Over the years this station has had many designs. It started as a full service Exxon station, then that was bulldozed to make an automated Exxon station with no attendants. That must not have worked and they added a store. The store has had a couple of names: Tiger Mart and now Star Stop. I am afraid the Star Stop is a little ragged around the edges.
Last Saturday after the ride I noticed the chain was making some noise. I applied Chain-L No. 5 oil and it runs smooth and quiet. The one problem with Chain-L is it can be messy if you put too much on. For a few rides after an application I have to wipe Chain-L off the right chain stay. If I don’t use a clean cloth it swears which doesn’t look good on a white frame. The chain has about 2900 miles on it. I am thinking of changing it when I get to 4000 miles.
40.26 miles this week
533.85 miles for July (182 miles to reach July’s goal)
3909 miles for the year
Links to Garmin Connect and RideWithGPS.
Tomorrow’s weather: partly cloudy, 94 degrees, 20% chance of rain.
Huffman was today’s destination. I did not ride the usual Huffman route but an abbreviated one 27.33 miles long. Average speed was 15.6 mph. The weather was humid with 95 % at my home weather station and 65% at the IAH weather station. The temperature was 84 when I left home at 11:46 and 88 when I got back at 1:48. My stop at the Huffman Chevron was short because I needed to get back home. I stopped long enough to finish my water bottle and dry off some. No rain today so there have been two days in a row that I did not bike in the rain.
No unusual happenings on the ride. I continue to get compliments on my bike. While I was at the Chevron a young man came in driving an older Ford Ranger with a 4 wheeler in the back. When He walked inside the store he asked if my bike was expensive. I don’t have a good answer but I told him it cost twice as much as my first car. Later when I was in Town Center in Kingwood a young man by Mooyah Burger called out that he thought my bike was good looking. I have owned many bikes but this one has to be the one I have received the most comments about.
I waffled back and forth on today’s route. The reason is that US59 north bound is closed at FM1314 and I thought traffic would increase on Loop 494 as traffic tried to get around the closure at Community Drive and the Grand Parkway construction. I considered riding the grass farm route over by Huffman but after remembering the last US59 closure and the traffic I chose a north route. I wanted to get 40 miles or so but with a later start I knew I wouldn’t go too much farther.
Riding out of Kingwood through Woodridge Forest I then stayed on Loop 494 to New Caney. Loop 494 traffic started to get heavy when I reached FM1314 and stayed that way until FM1485 in New Caney. This wasn’t much of a problem since Loop 494 has a 4 foot shoulder most of the way. There was a dicey moment at the New Caney ISD bus barn stretch when a really wide load truck and trailer passed me. Fortunately there was no oncoming traffic and the truck moved to the left around me. The cargo looked industrial but I am not sure what it was.
At FM1485 the traffic returned to normal as I rode to SR242. I turned left onto SR242 riding to the Old Houston Road traffic light. If I had time to ride longer I would stay on SR242 to FM1314 but I took the Old Houston Road south to FM1314. This road has little traffic. Reaching FM1314 it was a 7 mile ride to the Stripes station at FM1314 and Valley Ranch Parkway where I stopped about 25 minutes to dry off some, eat and rest. At that point I rode 29 miles with a little over 11 miles to home. While I was a Stripes another customer walked over asking if my bike was one of the expensive ones. I said yes and he then asked about riding on my narrow saddle. I told you can get use to it and he asked if it took several years to do that. I answered probably 4 or 5 months. I don’t think he believed me. He walked back to his big Chevy pickup with his two sons. They were friendly as they backed out.
The route totaled 40.26 miles which accomplished my goal and I got home by 2:45 after starting at 11:33. Average speed was 15.9 mph.
After all the rain we had this week and before, today’s weather was unusual for July. It was 80 degrees (97% humidity) when I started and 82 (96% humidity) when I finished. The sky was mostly cloudy and the sun did not have much of a chance to warm things up too much. With the perspiration and moving through the light breeze it felt like a fall day. A couple of times I thought a long sleeve jersey would be nice. A note on the humidity: this is from my home weather station. The IAH weather station humidity at the end was 70%.
159.19 miles this week
466.26 miles for July (250 miles left to reach July’s goal)