If you’re going to be in Austin soon you need to bring your bike!
Austin, Texas has been a booming city for years. Whether you’re traveling there for business, taking a vacation, or joining the nearly hundred people moving there each day it’s easy to see why Austin keeps topping ‘best of’ lists, year after year. Best city for job seekers. Best city for millennials to live. Even best city for dating and the awards just keep coming. Oddly enough, however, Austin doesn’t even crack the top 20 list of America’s best bike-friendly cities (it’s 22nd). It could be the blistering summers, lack of bike lanes on new roads, or low numbers of bike commuters—but one thing’s for sure, there are still incredible places to ride and a thriving cycling community in Bat City.
Willow City Loop
This 13-mile route breezes out of the city and through wildflower fields which are lush with Texas bluebonnets from March until May. As the terrain changes throughout the loop you’ll transition from pastoral, rolling hills to rugged canyons and along expansive cliffsides in a matter of minutes. Bring a camera, you’ll be glad you did and make sure to stop for a cold beer and BBQ at Harry’s on the Loop, off Farm Rd 1323 about halfway through the route.
Recommended Bike for this route: BMC roadmachine RM02 105
Dripping Springs Loops
This route is perfect for beginners—or an afternoon too hot to push hard. It’s a mostly flat loop that snakes along Onion Creek before it dips under I-35. Bring plenty of water and snacks since the opportunities to stop are few and far between.
Recommended BMC Bike for this route: BMC teamelite 02 Deore-SLX
For a northern loop, try heading to Florence up Ronald Reagan Blvd. This 60-mile trek has a little bit of everything to offer. Fast sprints, grueling climbs, smooth downhills, and a couple of opportunities lengthen the route by adding Kaufman Loop on the way back into Austin.
Recommended Bike for this route: BMC granfondo GF02 Tiagra
Perhaps the most intimidating routes in Austin, Mansfield Dam Loop will have you speeding down the famed Tumbleweed Hill on 2222. However, if you’re not into taking your life into your own hands, it’s recommended to take Tumbleweed Hill Bypass—only adding about a mile to your journey. There are plenty of places to stop to eat and drink along the way, so don’t worry about packing heavy. While the most popular times are the weekend mornings, with less heat and road traffic than any other time.