• September 10, 2023
  • Lauren Critzer
  • 0

Pedal Your Way Through Austin: Your Ultimate Local Guide to the Best Cycling Routes

Whether you’re a weary traveler seeking a unique way to explore the Great City of Austin, Texas, or a long-time resident itching to break out of your usual cycling loop, this local guide to the best cycling routes in Austin will help steer your journey. Trust me, these paths and the scenic rewards they offer, you wouldn’t want to miss.

Before we get the wheels turning, let’s check the prep box!

Gearing Up: Pedal Ready in Austin

Before you saddle up, ensure your cycle is in tip-top shape. Austin, as a thriving cyclist community, presents a plethora of bike shops for every repair, maintenance, and rental need. Two standout favorites among locals are Barton Springs Bike Rental and Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop.

Barton Springs Bike Rental

Named after Austin’s beloved pool, you’ll find everything from mountain bikes to tandem bikes in their vast assent. They even offer guided tours if you’d prefer company on your ride. Some of their services include:

  • Bike rentals starting from $7.50 an hour
  • Guided tours of Central Austin and Lady Bird Lake
  • Bike sales and repair services

Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop

This shop—founded by cycling legend Lance Armstrong—is a full-service bike shop and a delightful community hub for cycling enthusiasts. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Wide range of bikes: road, mountain, electric and more
  • Expert fitting, repair, and maintenance services
  • Regularly hosted rides and events for local bikers

All geared up and ready to roll? Let’s dive into your guide to the best cycling routes in Austin.

Veloway Trail: The Cyclists’ Reserved Route

Roaring down our list is the Veloway Trail. If you’re a beginner, searching for a safer, car-free road, or a proficient cyclist seeking a charming afternoon ride, Veloway is your answer.

At about 3 miles long and 23 feet wide, this paved trail is solely reserved for cyclists and rollerbladers. No worries about cars or pedestrians here! Located within the Slaughter Creek Metropolitan Park, the track curls through scenic fields and wooded areas – keep your eye out for local wildlife!

Highlights of Veloway Trail include:

  • Vehicle-free, safe environment for beginners
  • Lush green landscape frequently visited by local deer
  • It’s free to the public and open from dawn to dusk

Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail: Nature Meets Urban

Next up is the pulse of Austin’s outdoors, the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. With downtown views, cityscape, and serene lake-side trails, it’s a slice of nature right in the heart of Austin.

This 10-mile trail winds scenically along the water’s edge, often informally referred to as Austin’s “jewel in the crown.” From cyclists to dog walkers, it’s a favorite spot for all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts.

The highlights of Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike trail include:

  • The Boardwalk offering photogenic views of downtown skyline
  • Sculptures, art installations, and murals along the way for art enthusiasts
  • Drinking fountains and restrooms available at various points around the loop

Shoal Creek Trail: A Trip Down History Lane

Amp up your ride with a splash of history on the Shoal Creek Trail. This 4-mile urban pathway strokes through several parks and historic districts in Austin.

It’s a preferred bicycle commute route, and its accessibility from downtown makes it a beloved choice among recreational riders as well. Fancy a longer ride? Shoal Creek trail is your entry pass to the extended Southern Walnut Creek Trail.

Some notable features of the Shoal Creek Trail are:

  • Views of significant historic sites like the Settler’s Monument
  • Excellent downtown access for travelers – good connectivity with other paths
  • A refreshing mix of urban and natural landscapes to enjoy while pedaling

Southern Walnut Creek Trail: Your Countryside Escape

Escape into the countryside with the Southern Walnut Creek Trail. This 10.5-mile journey is paved and wide, welcoming cyclists of all experience levels.

As you pedal down the smooth asphalt, enjoy the quiet charm of the Texas countryside. Open fields, towering trees, and the charming countryside certainly make this route stand out!

Here are some highlights of Southern Walnut Creek Trail:

  • Flat, smooth surface – great for beginner cyclists
  • Several bridges and underpasses ensuring a continuous ride
  • Free parking at Govalle Park for easy access

Brushy Creek Regional Trail: The One for Every Adventurer

Turn your cycling trip into adventurous fun with Brushy Creek Regional Trail. Set out in the suburbs of Austin, this 7-mile trail uncurls a unique blend of natural splendor and urban views.

Multiple trail surfaces range from crushed granite to concrete, catering to various cycling preferences. It’s one hell of a ride that holds its uniqueness in every section, so make sure to choose your path wisely!

The highpoints of Brushy Creek Regional Trail include:

  • Scenic views over Lake Brushy Creek
  • Props for fitness activities along the trail
  • Designated areas for picnics and restrooms in Champion Park

Our Austin Cycling Nuggets: A Few Essential Tips

Before you pedal your way to Austin’s best cycling routes, here are a few nuggets of wisdom to enhance your cycling experience:

  • Safety first – wear your helmet. Austin laws require helmets for riders under 15 years, but it’s advised for all.
  • Stay hydrated – take water and snacks, especially for long routes.
  • Plan – explore trail maps and get familiar with the route suitable for your skill level.

Wrapping Up Your Grand Austin Cycling Adventure

There you have it! An insider’s local guide to the best cycling routes in Austin, straight from an Austinite. Austin’s cycling routes cater to everyone, from casual enthusiasts, nature lovers, or hardcore cyclists looking for a challenge.

With stunning scenery, a variety of terrains, and ample facilities, you’re in for an unforgettable experience. Enjoy the vibrant diversity in every landscape of Austin, and I guarantee you’ll be back for more. Happy pedaling, and remember, sometimes the journey can become the destination!

Disclaimer: Some routes might temporarily close or have restrictions due to COVID-19 protocols. Always check the respective websites before you head out for your cycling exploration. Safe travels!

Lauren Critzer

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and after college, I moved to San Francisco to explore new opportunities and broaden my horizons. I fell in love with the city's vibrant culture and unique atmosphere, but eventually, I moved again, this time to Austin, Texas.

As much as I loved living in different parts of the country, having a baby boy brought me back to my hometown in Charlottesville, where I now live with my husband, our little one, and two furry friends. I enjoy going to wineries, taking my pups everywhere, and spending quality time with my family.

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