Rice University Running Trail of the many Houston Trails is a beautiful, tree covered loop surrounding the Rice campus, and adjacent to the medical centers.
The trail running rubric shows a score of 28 on my personal rubric I use to evaluate my experience running with my stroller on the trails in the surrounding area.
RICE UNIVERSITY RUNNING TRAIL - HOUSTON TRAILS RUBRIC:
|1 low quality||2 average quality||3 best quality||Score|
|cost||expensive, charge per individual||small fee||free||3 - free public space|
|trail length||requires laps to get adequate workout||1 mile minimum||loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum||3 - loop about 3 miles and just turn around to adjust the distance|
|trail material||broken sidewalk cement, grass||gravel, dirt, sand||paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc)||2 - loose gravel, like running on sand|
|trail width||hardly large enough for single||single but easy to pass||double wide, easy to pass, side by side||2 - passing possible, occasional departure from trail to pass oncoming runners|
|bugs||doused in bug repellent and still leave itchy, mouth closed breathing||carry bug spray, could get on with out it, possibly leave with a couple of bug bites||like being indoors, a pretty butterfly would be a treat||2 - small cluster of micro flies in a couple of areas|
|view||grimy, no greenery, no tree cover from sun and wind, no visual appeal in the distance or directly near by||visual appeal either in the distance or directly near by, some greenery, some tree cover from sun and wind||visual appeal both in the distance and near by, green, seasonal foliage, tree cover from sun and wind||3 - beautiful trees and foliage, campus and neighborhood architecture,|
|crowd (quantity)||too many people to maneuver as desired||some passing required but doable||comfortably populated||2 - some crowded passing|
|crowd (culture)||hobo community directly off path, rude or abrasive individuals||people keep to their self, not negative and not positive interactions with individuals||friendly individuals on and off the trail, smiles of encouragement, helpful if needed||3 - mostly runners concentrating on the run, some smiles|
|cleanliness||nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell||trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics||spotless, clean||3 - very clean|
|safety||not getting out of the car, too dangerous||share trail with bikers, some risk due to wildlife, surprise dark and scary and secluded tunnel or bridge, poor upkeep of trail material or signs||minimal risks, visible security/police, well maintained trail material and signs||2 - tree stumps with faded orange paint, a lot of parking lot intersections w/ posted yield to cars|
|parking||sparsely spots available in trail lot, street parking, may have to hike to trail, charge to park||adequate parking in trail lot, some hike required to get to trail||adequate parking in trail lot, no hike to trail||2 - charge to park on campus, but free parking in adjacent neighborhood|
|amenities||not encouraging the hanging out in any way||limited water, limits to any desired amenity||toilets, benches, workout section, water||1 - no toilets, one water fountain location|
The Rice University Running Trail of the Houston Trails rubric does not account for a few issues I wanted to mention. Parking on campus does have a fee, but a couple of blocks away from the university you can find neighborhood street parking with no restrictions. While pushing my stroller I found the trail difficult due to the width, and the tree stumps, and the narrow ramps between drive way parking lot intersections with the trail. I would occasionally scoot a bit off the trail while passing oncoming runners and double stacked walkers. This seemed to be encouraged based on the breakdown of the edges of the trail, like it was extended outside the trail perimeter to allow for some unofficial widening. I also saw some individuals stepping off the path as they passed me. From my view it did not appear necessary to pass safely, but I suspect my double wide stroller looks intimidating in comparison to the trail width.
Also, I would like to stress the value of staying on alert due to the many intersections where cars cross the path of the trail to enter and exit the parking lots surrounding the university. Consider going at off times, to reduce risk, the cars have the right of way, not the pedestrians, signs are posted as a reminder.
I have this quirky mindset, where if I don't have a water bottle on my person, I begin to panic I might die of thirst, and start contemplating sucking the last few drops of fluid out of puddles on the ground...SO...I always pack multiple waters into my stroller before I set out. However, located on the Rice University Running Trail of the Houston Trails; there is the convenience of a water station for those on the trail working up a thirst. But, there is no bathroom facilities located on the trail, which is a bummer, because it takes me some time to get to the Rice University running trail, and I personally prefer to have access, just in case. I guess; if one became desperate for relief, one could use a near by business, or seek out a restroom on the university. I imagine that would be frowned upon, but when a person is in that situation of urgency, the power of persuasion or obliviousness or indifference becomes a trait.
I really enjoyed the urban nature experience I found on the Rice University Running Trail of the Houston Trails, I think everyone should try it; stroller, sprinter, dog walker, really EVERYONE! I do feel the trail culture was primarily runners, healthy, fast pace runners, that actually lapped me while I took my walk and stopped to take pictures. I, at no point, ever felt like I was unwelcome, I never saw a scowl, nor heard a groan, because I was crowding the trail with my stroller on what might have appeared to be a leisurely walk. There are walkers, people with backpacks, people waiting for the bus, and I did see a couple of moms with strollers or older kids walking on the trail. But, I am not sure this trail suited me, I would go back of course, and I would recommend it to others. It is awkward to attempt to describe, and as a blogger, it probably seems silly that I am at a loss for words to adequately describe why; but this trail is just not a good fit for me and my stroller. Let me know if you want to know more about the trail, I have tons of great pictures of the grand trees and the sights on the trail I will share more if comments request I do so. I would love feedback about your experience on the trail or what you think about the rubric, or how I scored the Rice University Running Trail. I am happy to answer any questions you may have and I look forward to hearing from you!
Happy trails (running) from stroller running Mama!!