Austin, Texas, has always boasted a highly active populace, and is often listed among the nation’s healthiest and most active cities. Cycling plays a huge role in this fitness-focused city, with an abundance of resources available to cyclists of every age and experience level. Austin’s unique landscape and close proximity to the rolling Texas hill country make it uniquely suited to both mountain biking and road biking alike, and enthusiasts of both sports flock to the city as a result.
Road biking is an extremely popular sport in Austin. Hundreds of cyclists pedal their way through Austin and its surrounding areas, taking in the scenery and the challenging, rolling hills that run for miles upon miles. Highway 360, which runs in a semicircle west of the city, is one of the most popular routes for road bikers, with its picturesque views, wide shoulders and bike lanes, and seemingly endless rolling hills. Within the city itself, there are a wide variety of beautiful, challenging road ways and routes that are dotted daily with road bikers. Mount Bonnel, located in the southwest central Austin, is a popular destination for cyclists and hikers alike, with stunning views, winding roads and steep climbs.
South Austin’s Veloway is another haven for road bikers (a paved loop several miles long that’s off limit to cars and runners); it offers unobstructed, safe riding, making it an ideal place for beginners to practice and families with young children to ride safely. Hundreds of Austin cyclists flock to the Veloway each weekend, and it’s often used as a starting point for group rides, classes and other cycling events.
Mountain bikers don’t have to look far to find a wealth of great riding throughout the city and its surrounding areas. The Greenbelt, which runs right through the middle of south-central Austin, boasts extensive networks of trails in all degrees of difficulty, from highly technical, professional-grade trails to simpler dirt tracks, perfect for an evening joyride, or even a nice hike. On the north side of town, Walnut Creek Park is another excellent option for mountain bikers of all skill levels. Miles upon miles of wooded trails weave their way through the park, with a variety of routes and skill levels.
Less than an hour outside of Austin, you’ll find Muleshoe State Park, another mountain biker’s haven. Muleshoe is home to a beautiful seven-mile loop of rocky climbs, narrow switchbacks, and steep descents. The shaded landscape is visually stunning, with deer bounding through the trees and dramatic cliffs edging along the trails. Another out-of-town cycling option is Milton Reimer’s Ranch county park. Though less shaded than Muleshoe park, Reimer’s offers just as much technicality, with miles of single track, treacherous rock gardens, and beautiful views of Texas savannah.
Regardless of your experience level, time allotment or desired degree of difficulty, Austin, Texas, and its surrounding areas offer an endless range of options when it comes to cycling. It’s no wonder, then, that Austin is home to one of the nation’s largest and most active cycling communities. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful evening road ride or an epic mountain biking adventure, you don’t have to look far to find it in Austin.