Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Awesome, Austin, TX
Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Interloc Impala, ParkPre Image C6
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The scene is quite vibrant...just not as big from a population perspective. Fewer riders, fewer clubs and fewer events. Still...if you're looking for group rides, there's no shortage. I primarily ride solo since I have limited riding time available, so I generally pass on the group rides.
The best thing about the Bay Area is the variety of terrain that's available to all levels of riders. You can ride shallow hills and flats all day, and then when you're ready for a challenge, you head for the hills and you're immediately faced with great, long climb opportunities. Austin, at least where I live (10 mins west of downtown), provides challenges the second I leave the driveway. I never thought I lived on a hill until I started riding from the house more and realized there's no way to get back home without a short steep climb somewhere close to the house. I always walk in the back gate huffin' and puffin'. I would never take a beginning cyclist on a ride from my place unless it was just around the block. Many of the popular loops also involve a lot of "Highway" riding. Think Foothill Expressway with a 60 MPH speed limit and a shoulder that's about twice as wide. Some of the exits are off-ramps, so those can be quite exciting.
The thing I love here is the opportunity to climb for 30, 60, 90 minutes straight. Most of the "long" climbs in Austin are 10, 20 and 30 minutes with a lot of rolling terrain (think Canada road between Farm Hill and 92...except more turny). It's great for interval work.
Oh yeah...then there's the weather. When we first got here in the beginning of September, my first few rides were during your "heat wave", when temps were in the mid to upper 80's. My brother couldn't believe I went out for rides. Most rides in Austin, from May through September, start at 75 degrees at 7am and reach 90+ degrees by the time you finish up in the late morning. I've ridden in 100+ heat but these days, generally pass if it's that hot. It's crucial to drink often and replenish your bottles once they're drained. Then just as those days end, it's quickly into the 40's at night with temps in the mid-50's during the days. I generally don't ride below 50 degrees...too many warm days.
And then there's the scenery...holy cow. Austin's prettier than most places in TX but it just doesn't compare. The view from the dirt part of Montebello, looking west, the other day was magnificent. The ride out on the coast, Tunitas Creek, Hwy 1, was spectacular. I was born and raised here for the first 35 years of my life...and I was reminded of how beautiful it was and how lucky people are to live here.
2014 Specialized Roubaix2003 Interloc Impala2007 ParkPre Image C6 (RIP)