Austin Bike MapMap of Austin, TX.
By Sara Young
I arrived in Austin just over a week ago. Roughly a week before that, I had started emailing bike shops about hosting a bike for me while I was in Austin. I received no response. When I arrived in Austin, I emailed again to several places which promoted themselves as “community-friendly," still, no response.
I began calling places, wondering if there was something wrong with my email. I got a lot of no’s, a couple people laughed when I told them about the 25 Days project, and some flat out did not ever get back to me though they told me they would.
Now, I realize we are all busy people. I understand that it is just coming into prime cycling season in Austin as the temperatures here have just started sinking below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But I can’t for the life of me understand why Austin is known as such a cyclists paradise. After all, I was able to secure a bicycle in San Francisco at the height of the tourist season there.
I have been riding a loaner bike into town over the last week or so, and it isn’t easy. I am quite a ways out, but I am still within the city limits, and it takes quite a bit of navigating, caution and luck in order to ride into central Austin. Additionally, the city is split into many little enclaves of neighborhoods, connected either by the large freeway system or incredibly busy boulevards.
I pulled up the biking map on the internet, and it stops short of the city limits. The place where I am couch surfing is not on the map.
I am not a wimpy cyclist. I have ridden year-round in Portland for many years over many miles of road. I have gotten lost in some of the best biking cities in the country, but I really cannot believe how challenging this has been.
I will continue for the next two weeks to discover the cyclist’s paradise I have heard about. When I find it, I will report it here.
Sara Young is a writer, artist, cyclist, amateur yogi and avid poetry appreciator. Originally from Chicago, IL, and most recently from Portland, OR, Sara is presently traveling the US, working on her project, 25 Days, in which she travels to 15 cities around the US, talking to people about their favorite places and bicycle commuting. She hopes to create a more bike-friendly society through advocacy, and a more peaceful world through listening.