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Austin, Texas: A Cyclist's Paradise

Sep 5, 2008
Austin, Texas, is well known for its high rate of resident activity. In fact, Austin is often rated among the healthiest and most-active cities in America. With a wealth of outdoor activities to choose from (parks, lakes, and hiking trails abound) Austinites have access to an almost indefinite number of options when it comes to exercise.

In recent years, Austin's cycling community has grown exponentially, due to its commuter-friendly downtown area, its close proximity to the beautiful hill country, and its abundance of parks and trails. Both mountain bikers and road bikers alike flock to Austin for its wealth of exceptional, well-maintained trails, as well as its other cycling resources.

Bicycle shops abound in Austin, offering everything from merchandise, maintenance and service, to beginners classes and organized riding groups for every experience level.

With two locations, strategically placed on opposite sides of town, Bicycle Sport Shop (BSS) is considered by many to be Austin's home for all things bike-related. BSS boasts a full shop, offering bikes, parts, apparel, any and every type of bike gear imaginable (and if they don't have it in stock, they're more than happy to order it for you), and a supremely knowledgeable staff. They also provide service and maintenance, and even have a rental service, making cycling accessible to Austinites and visitors alike, regardless of their level of experience or commitment.

But BSS is far from the only option when it comes to cycling gear, apparel and service. Austin is home to dozens of bike shops, many of them local independent stores. Jack and Adam's, Southside Bicycle Shop, 360 Cycleworks, Hammerhead Bikes, Freewheeling Bicycles, Ozone Bikes, and Waterloo Cycles are just a few of the many homegrown cycling havens in Austin, with more stores opening annually.

Lance Armstrong himself opened a boutique shop, Mellow Johnny's, in Austin's popular downtown district in 2008. The shop features a custom line of gear and apparel, and Armstrong's many accolades and memorabilia decorate the walls. The shop even offers showers and lockers for commuters, in an effort to promote cycling over driving, an initiative that's growing in popularity across the city.

The cycling-centric social scene can be felt throughout Austin, with bike races, charity rides and other events being held here on a regular basis. Austin is, in fact, one of only six cities in the country to host the annual Urban Assault Ride, sponsored by New Belgium Beer (a Colorado-based company), and geared toward urging commuters to forego driving in favor of jumping on a bike. In fact, each year, hundreds of Austinites, young and old alike, come out for the city-wide cycling scavenger hunt, and many of the participants sign the New Belgium pledge to drive as little as possible for one full year.

With so many cycling events and resources available, and such cycling-friendly terrain (Austin boasts some of the best, and most versatile trails in Texas; more on that in Part Two of this series), it's no wonder Austin is widely regarded as a cyclist's paradise.
About the Author
Escapeso Austin is a small group of realtors in Austin Texas. They provide a map search of the Austin MLS along with general research on the Austin real estate market. They also graph recent stats on mortgage interest rates.
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