February 2007


Turned out to be a nice day for a ride on Sunday the 25th and Kem and I both wanted to get in a nice long ride. As it turned out, so did Nat and Charisse, so they joined us. We took the drive up from Austin to Bertram and parked at one of the quicky marts to do a route from Bertram to Lampasas. Check out the details here.

The route is one of the better ones in central Texas. Rolling hills, nice long vistas of open country, cattle, goats and mesquite. The traffic on this particular occasion was light to nil. On occasion you can get a fair bit of pickup truck traffic but they’re usually very gracious about sharing the road. I did have one occasion last year when I was purposely run off the road by someone on this route but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

Keep an eye peeled for dogs.  While I’ve done this route and never encountered any dogs, twice now I’ve been chased down and had to outrun them. Such are the hazards of cycling far from the maddening crowds. But on the upside the views and fresh air usually make up for it.

The route’s 25 miles up and 25 back for a nice rolling 50. Lampasas is at the 25 mile mark of the ride and a good place to fuel up with water and other things if you didn’t bring enough along. There’s no place at all to stop otherwise. No cattle guards, but the road surface is the type of asphalt made from small stones. On a road bike sporting 100psi+ tires, plan on feeling plenty of road surface.

I haven’t been doing the best job of keeping this ‘blog up to date. But, I was thinking, maybe I should start keeping track of some of the bike routes I’m doing here.

Here’s a map I snagged from Gmaps Pedometer of a route I did last week. The traffic around Austin is kinda nasty so I try to find rides outside the city. This is just part of a route I did many years ago on an overnight ride to Salado from Austin.

I drove up to Florence and parked in the ‘downtown’ area of Florence. That’s where I started the ride. There’s not much to Florence hence the quoting of ‘downtown’. There’s a handy little grocery store in the main part of the downtown area though (on main street) so a good place to start from. You can pick up water or other stuff there. It’s the kind of grocery store you really only find in really small towns like Florence.

The route from Florence to Salado isn’t very heavily trafficked. Part of it (the part in Williamson county) has a shoulder. But that doesn’t last long. Most of the route is in Bell county and there is no shoulder. But there wasn’t much traffic. About 19 miles out you hit the I-35 frontage and from there can make your way over the overpass and into Salado. Salado‘s a cute little town and when the weather’s hot is a good place to pick up another bottle or two of water.

The ride back to Florence seemed more up hill than I would have expected, but part of that was due to the fact that I had a 10-15mph headwind. At least that’s what it seemed like. By the time you’ve gone over and back and meandered around Salado, you’ll have ridden 40 miles if you do this route. As a someone that used to live in Minnesota, I still marvel I can do this ride in February.