We’ve been in Austin, TX for the last two weeks and are enjoying ourselves immensely. After the rugged and remote beauty of West Texas we were completely stunned by the bustling, cosmopolitan and GREEN city of Austin. There are trees, an immense and beautiful green belt, rivers and streams. Along Town Lake, one of the large bodies of water in Austin people are running, biking and kayaking. It has to be one of the most physically active cities we’ve encountered on our trip. We find ourselves often forgetting that we are in Texas and not in the Pacific Northwest.

There is also an amazing bicycling culture in Austin. There is everything from road, mountain, fixed gear, bmx, recreational to utility bicycling. One of our homestay hosts took us to see a pump track in Austin where people were flying through the air effortlessly on their bikes!

We also partook in the Thursday night Social Cycling ride. From what we’ve been told, the ride regularly has hundreds of cyclists every weeks and can swell to over a thousand in summer months. For such a large mass ride which had a good amount of beer drinking, it was supremely well behaved and courteous. Designated ride leaders guided cyclists around corners and intersections. The ride leaders didn’t merely “cork” the roads but directed traffic as well, telling cyclists to stop for lights and make room for cars. It was sort of a Bizzaro Critical Mass where people followed road rules and weren’t angry and belligerent.

We also checked out their monthly FrankenBike event, a bicycle swap meet that takes place in different parts of the city. People brought boxes of bike parts and bike frames en mass to sell – a great way to clear out your box of harvested bike parts.

Not since Portland, have we really seen such a vibrant and active bike community. There are rides practically every day of the week, there are a multitude of quality shops around the city and the city is easy to get around in with a bicycle. It will definitely be hard to leave Austin when we have to get on the road again. But for now, you better believe we’re enjoying every minute we are here!