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Old 01-22-07, 09:36 PM   #1
tjh_bike
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Old Texas 20 route

Hi, yall! Sorry if this has been discussed before, but I had not heard of this until today, and a quick forum search didn't give any hits in the subject line. It appears that the Texas Bicycle Coalition (http://www.biketexas.org/content/view/843/71/) is trying to move forward with developing a route called Old Texas 20 for bicycle tourism. If the project is successful, then a 180 mile on-road bicycle route will be developed, or improved, between Austin and Houston on the Old Texas 20 route. In addition, several branches of this network are being considered to connect other areas of Texas.

In the above link it says the route is passable by "experienced cyclist". Anyone have any feedback on this route, and how it'd link in with San Antonio?

This route sounds like a good idea, which vaguely reminds me of how I could ride my bike in Germany from each of the small towns in the area where I used to live.
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Old 01-22-07, 09:49 PM   #2
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It would sure be nice if they could put up a map of the proposed route. Hwy 20 doesn't exist any more except in a few spots. I don't know how to locate Old Hwy 20. I'm sure a lot of people in Texas would be interested in trying to ride the proposed route in full or in part.
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Old 01-23-07, 05:56 AM   #3
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I've got an old pre I-10 Texas map and could not find Hwy 20 anywhere.
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Old 01-23-07, 12:05 PM   #4
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Here is the thread where Kf5nd announced the initial meeting. Texas Intercity Bike Route Meeting

Old Highway 20 got replace by 290.

I found out my wife's Aunt is part of the board. I guess you can say they represent Elgin. They were telling me that some proposals would be to have the route run along side to existing railroad tracks. If I remember correctly, the first steps were to connect the small towns. Then build out to ATX and Houston. I was also told of ideas for having camping and shower facilities at the park in Elgin’s downtown area.

Many people are starting to move out close to Elgin, yet still work in ATX. They talked to a developer at the initial meeting. He has plans for bike friendly development just outside of Elgin.
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Old 01-27-07, 02:12 PM   #5
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Old Texas 20

If you will call the Texas Bicycle Coalition in Austin and ask for Mark Stine he will be more than glad to update you on the route. There is a map at the office on east 6th street of the proposed route.
you can reach the office @ 512-476-7433.


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Old 01-28-07, 03:49 PM   #6
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Thanks very much, Durwood!
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Old 01-29-07, 11:24 AM   #7
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I find all the discussion about the biking trails interesting but will be much suprised if an 100+ mile long, trail, off the beaten path and away from highways, ever comes to fruition in my lifetime in the state of Texas. Granted that the proposed trail would be within the Dallas-Houston-San Antonio triangle where most of the state population lives, the time to acquire all the land will take years. Remember, there is very, very little public land in Texas. Unless a lot of it is donated from abandoned railroad right of way, then good luck on the timing.

If TxDOT maintains it there is a chance it might happen. If it ever comes under TPWD then it will take a budget cut and be gone. I'm under the impression that TPWD has moved toward the hunters and fisherman and the big fees to be collected there. Now they sponsor hunts all across the state, etc. I no longer deer hunt because to me its like shooting a herd that is pen raised, and in most cases it is.

Conversely, the LONGEST bike trail in the state, Caprock Canyons Rail Trail, has been shut down on one end (now about 25 miles) due to funds. The state park there, as well as Copper Canyons SP with its nice trails, is shut down during the week in the winters. For you mountain bikers and casual riders, these are some of the most remote canyon scenery in the state, but they are far removed from all the traffic and population areas. Still, rather than promoting them the parks department answer is to just shut them down.

Also, we need to be careful what we wish for when we talk of "multi-use" paths. There is a 40 mile MUP from Mineral Wells to Weatherford that passes by the state park and has several trailheads. MUP means horses, and bike riders must yield to them. Get behind 20 drug store cowboys with little kids on 16 hand horses and your ride is practically over. This is aside from all the horse turds that get dropped and splattered all over the trail. I don't enjoy the eastern part of that trail on a sunny Saturday morning. Some will let you pass, and some will basically tell you to stuff it. I've tried ringing a small bell from several hundred yards only to have them yell at me not to spook their horses, tell me to stay behind them, etc. I have to say I find it difficult to enjoy an MUP with horses, so I generally just give in to them and let them have it. You can't yield to them and still pass them unless they are willing to stop their horses. If they insist you walk your bike past them but yet won't stop their horses....what you gonna' do?

Sorry for my rant. Some of you folks think I live out in the boonies and that's okay. I did a 40 mile road ride this weekend and didn't see another bicycle. I had a 15 mile stretch of blacktop on which I only saw three cars. I'm not in need of places to ride without traffic. I have a 30 mile dirt road loop out my back door on which, somtimes, I'll see four or five cars in three hours.

But I wish there were more places within the state to enjoy a long bike path from one end to the other that would lend itself to overnight touring, such as the C&O canal path or the Katy (Missouri) trail. I'll welcome this proposed path if it ever happens, and I'll take a three day tour from Austin to Houston. I would welcome it.
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Old 01-29-07, 01:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Monoborracho
...I wish there were more places within the state to enjoy a long bike path from one end to the other that would lend itself to overnight touring...and I'll take a three day tour from Austin to Houston. I would welcome it.
I definitely agree.

I think I can see how a bike route between Austin and Houston could be pieced together with fairly quiet farm and county roads, except around Giddings and where you would have to cross the Brazos River. Giddings looks like a real problem point to me.

I'm curious what kind of solutions they might be talking about, but I guess I'm not curious enough to make an appointment and have a meeting with someone downtown so I can look at their map.
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Old 01-29-07, 01:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Platy
I definitely agree.

I think I can see how a bike route between Austin and Houston could be pieced together with fairly quiet farm and county roads, except around Giddings and where you would have to cross the Brazos River. Giddings looks like a real problem point to me.

I'm curious what kind of solutions they might be talking about, but I guess I'm not curious enough to make an appointment and have a meeting with someone downtown so I can look at their map.
I'm not sure what river you are referring to in Giddings. There isn't one. The Colorado will have to be crossed near Columbus, if a route starts south of the river in Austin. The Brazos would have to be crossed east of Brenham somewhere. A route from San Antonio to Houston would have to cross both rivers, plus the Guadalupe.

If its "pieced together" from old roads it probably won't be straight or low relief. Generally speaking, only a railroad right of way will give you very low relief path. If it is farm-to-market or county roads with vehicular traffic, then its really just a county road with biking signs on it.

I had some conversations with one of those original guys who biked from the Rio Grande to Louisiana on the old El Camino Real. I was less than impressed with his thoughts about where the whole thing was going. I gathered their plans were simply to publicize OSR and the route. I can see a few "Share the Road Signs" being put up.

When I asked him about one particular scenic, historic route in west Texas his response was "oh yeah, we're gonna bike that route too", along with an invitation to attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting 100miles away where he was going to talk about a bike route.
I think what you've got are some bike enthusiasts who have possibly figured out how to get paid by the state.

As far as obtaining enough land, particularly east of Austin....good luck!! Unless you take it from state highway right of ways, thereby precluding four lane expansion, I just don't see it happening within the next ten years. I doubt you will find the Lee county commissioners willing to give up county roads to promote the prosperity of Elgin or probably even Giddings, let alone Houston or Austin.

You'll have as much trouble piecing together land for a bike trail as Perry has had trying to sell the TransTexas Corridor, and he has the right of condemnation on his side. Sorry if I come across as a naysayer, don't mean to be, just pragmatic.
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Old 01-29-07, 02:08 PM   #10
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I don't know the current situation, but a few years ago Capital Metro (the Austin transit authority) bought the railroad right of way that runs between Giddings and Llano.
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Old 01-29-07, 02:31 PM   #11
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There is a ROW that runs from Austin to Llano...was originally built to haul the pink granite from Granite Mountain just south of Llano to the state capital during the construction 120 years ago. Sounds like Austin Metro plans to utilize the ROW to build out to the suburbs.
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Old 02-03-07, 08:58 AM   #12
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First post to this forum. Howdy!

I live along that railway near Llano and have been thinking about building a railbike since there is so little train traffic between Burnet and Llano. It's been a couple years since I last heard a train go down it. What makes it really tempting is the tracks run within 50 yards of a bald eagles nest. Hwy 29 is 150 yards from the nest, just out of range of my camera to get the really sharp shots (see example below).

http://buggytexas.com/images/eagle07b.jpg

Anyway, been entertaining the thought, but I'm afraid I would need a "Get out of jail free" card.
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