Have you biked Brays Bayou bike trail?

There are a lot of nice bike trails going in around Houston these days. Awhile ago we tried the White Oak trail, and liked it. But we’ve always had the Brays bayou trail. Sometimes the asphalt crumbles into near nothingness. Sometimes there are people sleeping on the flat area under the Main St. bridge. There are little swarms of midges that will send you into a coughing fit if you inhale them.

How can I say something good about this scenic catastrophe? Why can’t we have something forested and unchanneled like Buffalo Bayou around Woodway? If this were in Tuscany, the banks above the flood zone would have lots of picturesque little vegetable plots, and tiny huts, not mowed grass. Well, this is what we have in my neighborhood. Biking home from the UT School of Public Health where I gave a talk today, I only passed 3 sewage treatment plants, West University, Houston, Bellaire.

We’ve seen the water come to inches of the bridge supports before, a brown, frothy flood that also backs up into the neighborhoods boiling out of the drains. Even a mild rainstorm can pull the water high in its banks. Sometimes they plant wildflowers along the slopes, but more often they mow them. In the other direction the trail and the bayou goes past the house my grandparents lived in when I was a child (see an earlier entry). The part of this trail with the most meaning for me is between Buffalo Speedway and Stella Link. Honest, those are the street names, and yes, they are odd. That is the stretch that I walked hundreds, maybe thousands of times in the 10 years I lived in Knollwood Village and had babies. My friends and I pushed those children in those strollers nearly every Saturday and Sunday. We just walked, no jogging, and talked and talked. We brought back goodies too, hunted down at 3 Brothers bakery.


The trail goes under the bridges, avoiding the traffic.


This is part of the stretch between Buffalo Speedway and Stella Link that I walked hundreds of times with Nan and Cecilia, pushing strollers.


Our goal was 3 Brothers where we erased any calorie deficit we might have achieved. Onion bialys were my favorites, but bagels worked well too.


Sarah, Anna, and Lisa, back from the stroller ride, no doubt, taken in the early 80s (recognize the style:)).


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
This entry was posted in Natural areas. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Have you biked Brays Bayou bike trail?

  1. Joyce says:

    Onion bialys, yes!

    It’s nice and everything, but without shops like 3 Brothers alongside it White Oak isn’t as useful (or fun) a trail. The swarms of midges and scary underpasses? Trail lagniappe.

  2. geo says:

    grew up in knowlwood village in the 50s-60s and it must be the advent of old age
    that am starting to remember things from the past, even though haven’t lived in Houston in 40 years.

    Was/Is brays bayou (we called it just the bayou since don’t even think we kids knew
    there were other bayous in town), does it carry open sewage in it, and that is what
    goes into the water treatment plants mentioned.

    or did the bayou carry just the runoff from street sewers only ?

    or is it just a bayou/creek that has had concrete poured for its lower banks
    and its just coincidence that the water treatment plants are near it ?

    or could it have been that since I lived near Buffalo and Braeswood, it might have
    been I smelled from the water treatment plant and that had nothing to do with the bayou itself ?

    I always thought, due to the strong smell back then, that it carried open sewage,
    and never thought any more about it or the above questions until a few days ago, when the thought
    came into my mind about it

    (actually there was a relatively more recent memory/experience of being on the bayou – about 20 years ago brought my wife down to Houston to visit and stayed in a hotel right off the bayou so we went walking on the trail somewhere off of Braeswood near Main or Kirby, were these city workers who suddenly appeared with big sticks, chasing these humongous rats, and poking and stomping on them.

    This “memory” of Houston has become sort of a family joke since due to illness, this was all of Houston she got to see, besides the prize winning steers who had their own luxurious tent in the hotel parking lot, since this was also the time of the Rodeo.)

    Anyway, when browsing google for brays bayou water treatment
    I came upon this blog as well as fairly recent articles about residents
    off of Kirby and Braeswood complaining about the smell from the
    water treatment plant since they cut down various trees and shrubs masking it from view.

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