Published Somedays

Austin TX riding ~ a new video by SBA

(updated: Jan 1, 2011)

So this was back around Thanksgiving when we went to Austin TX to visit my brother. I lived in Austin for 8 yrs from 1990 - 1998 and went back in 1999 for the summer. It's changed a lot since then, to say the least, namely a building and population boom that is still ongoing. It started with semiconductors, then computers, software and the internet. Loads of money here now - the old wealth from the oil days and the nouveau riche from the semiconductor revolution. Either that or it's the least worst city to live in in Texas. I don't know. All I know is that Austin is one of those cities that got rated very high in some best places to live ranking and everyone decided to move there, thereby sealing it's doom.

What I found most positively shocking was the increase in cyclists and cycling culture. There are bike lanes and bike shops and all kinds of bike friendly areas. People biking at night with lights even...holy crap! Scads of young people and Lance Armstrong, who lives in Austin, probably had a lot to do with it. But I'll tell you what, when I lived there I didn't have a car for years, and I biked everywhere when not many people did. I was one of the pioneers. It wasn't easy to get around safely, but with all the bike lanes they've added now, and drivers getting used to seeing cyclists everywhere, it's gotten a lot better.

If it can be done in Austin, it can be done in Wilmington, despite the fact that Wilmington is full of older retirees and some close-minded leaders.

So I put together a video of the rides I did while I was there - Walnut Creek Park, City Park, and a road ride - all on the same bike, the amazing Niner Air 9 Carbon, a 19lb featherweight. I call it my ridiculous bike, because everything is just taken to a ridiculous level to save grams. For example, the rear cassette is machined out of a single 12kg block of steel. I mean, that's just ridiculous.

So one day I took it on a road ride with my brother and a couple members of his race team, and on another rode it at the City Park Motocross Trails, which has some of the most technical riding anywhere and where I cut my teeth mountain biking back in the 90's. I still can't clean a lot of those sections and you'll see some ride-arounds that have popped up.

Anyway, here's the video...


Riding in Austin TX 2010 from Sir Bikes on Vimeo.

If video above is no longer available, click here.

The music I chose seemed appropriate given the ever expanding asteroid belt of development surrounding the city. Here are the lyrics:


Arcade Fire:Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

They heard me singing and they told me to stop
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock
These days my life, I feel it has no purpose
But late at night the feelings swim to the surface

'Cause on the surface the city lights shine
They're calling at me, come and find your kind
Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small
That we can never get away from the sprawl

Living in the sprawl
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there's no end in sight
I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights

We rode our bikes to the nearest park
Sat under the swings and kissed in the dark
We shield our eyes from the police lights
We run away, but we don't know why

And like a mirror, the city lights shine
They're screaming at us, "We don't need your kind"
Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small
That we can never get away from the sprawl

Living in the sprawl
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there's no end in sight
I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights

They heard me singing and they told me to stop
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock
Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small
Can we ever get away from the sprawl?

Living in the sprawl
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there's no end in sight
I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights


This is my ridiculous bike, the bike I used for all of the rides in the video. It is lighter than many road bikes, yet strong enough to handle gnarly trails with its rigid carbon fork. It is amazing. Got lots of "nice bike" complements too, from random people.


A mountain bike that thinks it's a road bike?


The 360 bridge. That's my brother in front.


Near Mt. Bonnell. Lake Austin on the right.


You'll find these in town now. Awesome.


And lots of these...including people using them. If you build it they will come.


Near Bull Creek.


The high end areas of West Austin.


City Park (Emma Long Motocross Park). They only allow motorcycles and bikes, no walking, hiking, or trail running.


City Park is filled with rocky ledges. It doesn't matter which way you go, it is very challenging to try and clean everything. They are running it in the opposite direction from the way I used to ride it. Maybe they reverse direction every so often.





Walnut Creek Park. A lot tamer than City Park. And just like many parks in cities, people have made numerous trail spurs, alt routes and shortcuts so trails go everywhere.


Large berm.






Filed Under: Ride Reports > Texas > Austin



6 COMMENTS:

1. Michael said...

Thanks for sharing. My mom lives in Naples, FL.,a retiree haven, and they worked real hard to try to earn the "Bike Friendly" designation from the L.A.B.. Although they fell short of earning the recognition, the city now has an amazing network of bike lanes and pedestrian crosswalks making it easy to get around without a car. Not quite as nice as Hilton Head's network of paths but way better than it was. Funding for these projects certainly requires a ton of persistence but having leadership with the energy and some foresight is definitely key. If the leaders won't lead then hopefully they'll at least cooperate so the rest of us can get stuff done!

Jan 2, 2011 @ 7:23 AM


2. Peter said...

One cannot compare Austin with Wilmywood. The per capita income is vastly different in terms of people interested in sports that require human energy. In other words, Austin has a more affluent youth where Wilmington has a wealthier retired community. Wilmington is too provincial to be progressive.
You must have gorilla wrists to be riding those rocky trail drops on a full carbon rigid.Kudos on that and for hanging with that underclass of shaved legged roadies.

Have a great New Year Erol.

Jan 2, 2011 @ 3:09 PM


3. brinker said...

Great video, Erol. If you could keep up with your bro and his posse with the niner, that says a lot about the bike...and you (my lungs hurt just thinking about it).

Jan 2, 2011 @ 7:57 PM


4. Gregb said...

Nice stuff!

Jan 2, 2011 @ 8:09 PM


5. Michael said...

Are you riding this bike on the next FAC ride, Erol? I have a feeling that this ride will be much more painful than the last! The Orange Blur!

Jan 4, 2011 @ 6:16 AM


6. Jonathan said...

The city park trail reminds me of the first mountain bike trail I rode. It's the HQ trail in Vedauwoo recreation area in the medicine bow national forest just outside of Laramie, Wyoming.

Jan 5, 2011 @ 12:02 AM


 

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