City making headway toward becoming bike-friendly

Since moving to Houston in 1979, Bob Stein, a political scientist at Rice University and dean of its School of Social Sciences, says he has logged some 250,000 miles on his bicycle, mostly within the city.

Twenty-six years ago, a bicycle was an economic necessity because Stein and his family couldn’t afford two cars. Now he rides seven days a week, logging as much as 200 miles, much of it spent commuting the 11 miles between his house and the Rice campus.

His motives are good health, an aversion to what he calls a car-centric society, and the simple pleasure of riding. Stein, however, is realistic when it comes to biking in Houston and doesn’t readily endorse it for children or inexperienced adults.

“It’s not a city that’s immediately friendly to bicyclists. You have to plan the right way to get where you want to go for that time of day. Not every driver is your friend. They don’t move over. I’ve been driven off the road twice,” said Stein, adding that he once broke six ribs when a driver opened his door in front of him.

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