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Cycling in Austin
by Sebastian Wren

For my 3rd birthday, apparently all I wanted was to have my training wheels removed from my bike.  My father was skeptical, but aparently I was adamant.  I got my wish, and started riding a two wheeler exactly 3 years after the day I was born -- no problem.  It is one of my first memories in my life, riding around the back yard with no training wheels.

That was 35 years ago.  And to this day, I can still ride without training wheels.  

Cycling is such an elegant sport.  Man and machine working together.  And not just any machine -- the most efficient form of transportation there is.  

And, for a bonus, cyclists get to dress funny.


How can you not love this sport?!  (Click here or on the navigation bar to the left to see more of my cycling photographs)

I love cycling, even though I'm really not built for it.  I'm over six feet tall, and I weigh about 220 pounds.  Most cyclists are small, light guys.  I have the build to be a good boxer or a football player.  But I love cycling.  I love getting away from everything for hours at a time -- clearing my head -- thinking deep thoughts.  There is something about the combination of isolation and exercise that lets me think with greater clarity.

I love the hills out West of Austin the most.  They're so pretty, and climbing a good hill gives a big guy like me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. 

By the way, if you are curious, here are my picks for the worst (toughest) hills in Austin.

Ladera Norte:  This is my pick for the toughest hill in Austin.  It is insane.  The lower slopes are steep and demoralizing, and then you get to the top, and it gets even steeper.  It's horrible.

To get there, go out Far West until it forces you to turn right on Ladera Norte and start climbing.

LaderaNorte Map
Jester:  This is everybody else's pick for the toughest hill in Austin.  It is a half-mile slog with a 15 percent grade.  It is quite challenging, I grant you, but Ladera Norte is worse.

Every year, there is a race up Jester called the "King of Jester."  It's a good bit of fun.

To get there, go West out 2222 past Loop 360.  Turn right on Jester and start climbing.

The back side of Jester is a street called Beauford Drive -- this is another VERY steep hill -- definitely more difficult to climb than Jester.

Jester Map
Mt. Bonnell: Start at Edgemont Drive.  The climb is about a half mile, and it is steepest at the top.  The descent on the other side going down to 2222 is a whole lot of fun.

Mt Bonnell
Spicewood Springs Road:  Start at Loop 360.  This road is very busy and does not have a shoulder.  It is not a long hill, but it is quite steep.

 Across the street is Bluegrass Drive, which is also fairly steep, and which has considerably less traffic.

Spicewood Springs Map
Mesa Drive:  If you come down Mt. Bonnell to 2222, you are in a good position to climb back out of the valley on Mesa Drive.  The climb is about a mile -- never too steep, but it does wear you down.

Mesa Map

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