It can feel impossible to see the expansive metropolis of Houston, whether you’re visiting from out of town or if you grew up here. Tour de Houston is a great way to explore the city while getting fit. Good for the body, and good for the trees, Tour de Houston is a fundraiser that benefits Houston’s Reforestation Program. Last year saw bikers heading to the Northeast corners of the city, but this year things are taking a more Western slant. The March 15, 2020 bike tour makes it way through Downtown Houston and, depending on the route you choose, heads to the suburbia of Spring, Texas. 

Cyclists can choose the 20 mile route, the 40 mile route, or go the distance with the 60 mile route. Like Russian nesting dolls, each larger route encompasses the smaller ones. For more densely packed parks and historical landmarks without the distance, the 20 mile route is ideal, but if you like calm residential views and want to keep biking, the 60 mile route is a better choice. 

The routes start next to Hermann Square, Downtown. After passing a few historic buildings, like Houston Public Library and the Julia Ideson Building, wind through Sam Houston Park, where the biker can take a peek at Old Place Cabin, the Baker Family Playhouse, and Nichols-Rice-Cherry House, courtesy of The Heritage Society.

 From there, a journey through Fourth Ward means riding by Buffalo Bayou kissing the southern stretch of Eleanor Tinsley Park, Tolerance Piensa Statues, the Gus S. Wortham Fountain, and the Waugh Drive Bat Colony. On the Southern side of the route, the Historic Oaks of Allen Parkway and the Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens beckon. 

Bike through Memorial Park, a green forest enveloped in cityscape. From here, the route heads to the Spring Branch Area and ends in a turnaround, unless you take a longer route. From this point, cyclists will venture into quiet residential areas before turning around and seeing the sites of Houston all over again.

Care to add a friendly wager? Tour de Houston’s Bike Contest winners will be prized with a Cannondale CAAD Optimo Claris Road Bike and a photo op post race. For the Raising Cane’s Contest, enter to win a variety of paraphernalia from key chains to combo meals. Don’t worry if you’re not the best biker, these prizes are given to two lucky winners each, drawn from the figurative hat filled with applicants. No matter what your reason is for signing up, Tour de Houston gives the rider a chance to fully experience Houston in all aspects, from its verdant parks to its longstanding history.