We cover only free rides frequented by cyclists who bike for transportation. We don't list sports/rec rides, or any rides that require registration. Those can be found on the Austin Cycling Association website.
See the sidebar at left for the complete list, and for the schedules. What's below is just more information about some of the rides.
Annual Moonlight Cruise
This is a huge, unofficial annual ride attracting several
hundred riders, and it's been happening since 1982 or
left-hand sidebar for the date and time.
Remember that a headlight and rear reflector or light is required by State law (and it's crazy to ride at night without lights anyway).
By the way, if you like the Moonlight Cruise, you might also like the Moonlight Ramble held in Houston every October. Like Austin's ride, it starts at 2:00 am, but their ride is much larger, with anywhere from 5000-12,000 cyclists. Also unlike Austin's ride, it's not free — there's a registration fee.
Critical Mass. While large urban rides are now commonplace, that wasn't always the case. It all started in San Francisco in September 1992, with hundreds of cyclists doing a group ride during rush hour on a random, spontaneous route, as an effort to assert their right to the road. This was an exciting idea for urban bicyclists who'd suffered for years of feeling marginalized, and the Critical Mass idea quickly spread to cities all over the world, including Austin (around October 1993). CM's heyday in Austin was the mid-90s, and that era of CM was featured prominently in the documentary Bike Like U Mean It. (See video clip.)
Over the years ridership CM in Austin dwindled (especially after the violence at the 9-28-01 ride; see video and commentary), and has largely been supplanted by the growth of other rides, such as the Thursday Social Ride, but CM still continues, leaving from the Univ. of TX West Mall (Guadalupe between 22nd & 23rd) on the last Friday of each month. Here's their Facebook page.
Other Rides. For other free urban rides favored by the bikes-as-transportation community, see the calendar in the sidebar at left. For other kinds of rides (like where you have to register and pay money and get a t-shirt), see the Austin Cycling Association website.
Bike Month & Bike to Work Day (Every May). In the mid-90's, Austin started having a Bike Week to promote cycling, with bike fairs, discounts at local stores for people who biked there, and a Corporate Challenge to see which business could get the highest percentage of its employees to bike to work on the designated day. By the end of the 90's, Bike Week had grown into Bike Month. By 2000, the City's Bicycle Program, which had done most of the organizing of the event in recent years, decided to no longer organize the event, in favor of devoting its resources to more pressing bike projects (such as putting together a Bicycle Commuting Packet to make available to major employers located on existing, usable bicycle routes). For 2000, local activists over organizing the events. For historical purposes, here are some of the events from Bike Months in previous years.
FrankenBike. Monthly swap meet for bike parts.
Calendar of Rides &
Events posted by our members
Want to get your event listed
below? Just post
on the web forum and it will show up here automatically
minutes later. Be sure to include the exact date &
your event in the title, so that shows up too. Don't
relative terms like "tomorrow" or "next Friday" because you
don't know when
someone will be reading your listing -- it could be long after
event has already happened. So use the exact, real
Tour de Cure (posted 10/1)
Spirit of Texas Ride-Wimberley, Sun.Oct.4 (posted 9/22)
Violet Crown Trail (posted 7/18)
La Loma Trail Clean-Up days (posted 8/10)
YBP celebrates its 18th birthday (posted 5/14)
WTF at YBP. (posted 5/9)
Mamma Jamma Ride Kick-Off Party (posted 4/22)
9/26/15: TX Mamma Jamma Ride Against Breast Cancer (posted 3/18)
Courteous Mass Bike Parade. [This ride was discontinued circa late 2002.] Riders wary of the sometimes confrontational nature of Critical Mass (see below) started an alternate monthly "Courteous Mass" bike parade in November 2001. The motto was "Play Nice". The ride left from the south side of the Pfluger Bridge (Lamar & Riverside) on the second Friday of every month. We started early to have some sunlight in winter months, but had a rendezvous point later for people who couldn't make it so early.
In the mid-90's we tried a similar idea, but it too died from lack of interest. There were so many people who always said, "I don't ride in Critical Mass because it's too confrontational and/or law-breaking. I'd ride if there were a 'clean' ride." But both times we started such rides, these people were nowhere tobe found.
Old events of note
Austin Bicycle Parade (1998) [Message sent Sept. 26, 1998 by Chris Symank]
Autumn Bike Parade a success! With roughly a hundred people doing the full parade, showing an awesome sense of solidarity and festive spirits, the parade went on with few hitches. There were many people in costume and decorated bikes as well as people looking awesome without any decorations. No kinetic bike sculptures yet, although altered bike frames and a trike decorated as a swan were there. There are already plans in the heads of a few of the riders to build some floats, and one just didn't get finished in time. People waved, smiled and seemed very impressed. Traffic was managed by the parade participants including our own Officer Smog complete with Texas ranger cowboy hat. Also present was the Goddess of Fall. A scarecrow, about 7-8 rollerbladers, a unicyclist, a cow pedaling a recumbent cargo trike with dog running beside it, lots of recumbents including the grand swan three wheeled recumbent, lots of smiling kids and the Yellow Bike front loading trike. The ride was said to be too short by most participants, and designed to be mostly flat and easy with no major uphill. Of course we will work to make a longer ride for next time and we will seek out donations for an post-ride picnic party. A t.v. news team taped the start of the ride and at least four people (including me) videotaped the entire ride to make a cable access show.
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This calendar is jointly maintained by us, Bike Texas, the Yellow Bike Project, City's Bicycle Program,
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The Austin Cycling Association didn't reply to our invitation.
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