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Routes:
Austin to Bastrop
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MLK/969

MLK Street in Austin turns into 969 (a meandering country road), and this one road takes you 30 of the 32 miles or so to Bastrop from the center of Austin (MLK & Congress). After 30 miles you hit Highway 71, then ride another two miles on the shoulder of 71 to Bastrop. Bastrop has a number of motels, and you can camp in Bastrop State Park.

Though 969 is a country road, there's often a fair amount of traffic, including big trucks, and there's no shoulder. Your best bet for avoiding traffic is to ride during on a weekday during working hours (8-5) while most folks (and their vehicles) are at work, or to ride at night (after 10pm, Sunday through Thursday), lit up like a Christmas tree. I've ridden this route several times, day and night, and I've actually felt safer at night, since the vehicle traffic is dramatically reduced, and with proper lighting I feel MORE visible -- during the day it's very easy to blend in with the scenery. Just don't ride on Friday or Saturday night, when the drunks are out.

Some riders may prefer Highway 71 instead, because it has a very wide paved shoulder (see below). There's lots more traffic, of course, but they don't have to dodge you since you have your own lane, so you may feel safer.

If you choose MLK/969, here's what to expect

  • The first 10 miles or so has four lanes, usually no shoulder, lots of city traffic, and challenging hills.
  • After about 10 miles three things happen almost at once: the road goes from four lanes to just two, the traffic decreases considerably, and the hills disappear.
  • After about 11 miles there's a well-stocked convenience store along the road, in the middle of nowhere.
  • After about 14 miles you hit the town of Webberville, which I think also has a convenience store.
  • After about 18 miles there's a restaurant, Mexican, I think.
  • After about 25 miles you cross the Colorado River. The bridge has a shoulder.
  • After about 30 miles you hit Highway 71. Take a left and it's just two miles to Bastrop.
Highway 71
 
Highway 71 is an alternative to 969. There's lots more traffic, but you have a nice, wide paved shoulder, so you have a lane all to yourself and traffic doesn't have to dodge you to avoid hitting you. An added bonus is that it's also much flatter. The shoulder doesn't begin until past the airport so you'll need to either brave shoulderless traffic until you get to the airport, or join 71 from some other road....
 
Fred Meredith writes:
One way to get to 71 without passing the front of the airport is to go around the back way: come in from McKinney Falls and cross 183 where the old Speedorama was and take a left toward Moya park. You can cross just south of the airport and end up on 71 where there is a shoulder. The shoulder is pretty much all the way to Bastrop. The cars are going faster, but they are further from you. That's the way I go, but then I live in Manchaca and I just take Slaughter to Knuckles Crossing and Thaxton and up to McKinney Falls parkway and on over.
Michael Cosper writes:
On 71 to Bastrop, the shoulders totally go away on the bridges and overpasses. Good luck.

 

Mike Librik writes:
Fred Meredith's posting detailing how to reach US 71 while avoiding airport traffic got me to pull out my "The Roads of Texas" atlas to look over the suggestion. It revealed, interestingly, a denser network of small country roads, most paved, reaching from McKinney Falls out to south of Bastrop, all just south of US 71. Pearce Rd, Texas Hwy 21, Bastrop County 82, and Texas 304 all line up to take one into Bastrop.

Has anyone any experience on these roads? I imagine there are even fewer serviced than FM 969, but perhaps very little traffic. There a few oil fields out near Texas 21 (according to this very detailed Texas map), but I don't know how much truck traffic results from it.


May 2002

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