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Routes:
Austin to Elgin
October 2006
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Routes | Maps

by John Anderson

I ride to Elgin every weekend.

Head out Loyola lane, cross Cross 3177 and it becomes Decker Lake Road.

At 973 take a left. Unfortunately your shoulder runs out after a quarter mile or so, but you'll be taking a right on Hog Eye Rd about half a mile later.

Hog Eye becomes Nez Perce Trace, abd will take you to Taylor Ln. You can cut back though most any of these streets but this route is what I take:

Right now the new SH130 is a big pain in planning cycling routes out East as it's not on any maps yet. But the route above will take you there just fine.

One problem (I have) with Eastern routes is getting back INTO Austin. Loyola sucks westbound, as you're going up a hill at a long light, in a single lane, with a long line of cars trying to do the same thing. My new favorite way back in it to catch Blue Goose road, Palmer, or Yager and take the popular Sprinke-Rd to Ferguson, then Wall St. through the industrial park. A short stint on Cameron (go under 183) and you can take Berkman (under 290). You can also take Springdale all the back if desired. I've found 51st street the best I35 crossing.

For a round trip, this works fairly well.

by Kevin Corry

The options from central Austin to Elgin aren't great. The big obstacle is Walter Long Lake. Going around Long Lake to the north means you'd definitely need to take 290 for at least part of the route, but that particular stretch of 290 is a mess with the TX-130 construction. So if I were to leave from central Austin, I'd might take MLK, or something roughly parallel - maybe Manor Rd to 51st and get back on MLK near 183. MLK becomes FM 969 and goes south of Long Lake. It's not a spectacular road, but I know they've recently added shoulders east of FM 973. After you get past the 969/973 intersection, there are a number of routes to Elgin using lightly-travelled roads. Here's one possibility.

Another possibility would be to take Manor Rd to Loyola and go east, which eventually becomes Decker Lake Rd and goes just south of Long Lake. Then take 973 up to Manor and take Old Hwy 20 and some other back roads over to Elgin.

However, 973 isn't really any better than 969. There's very little, if any shoulder and the pavement sucks on a bike. And you have to go through the TX-130 construction near the lake. But, the trip from Austin to Long Lake may be easier than the above route.

by Patrick Goetz

Austin to Elgin is one of the last truly enjoyable rural rides left in this area; soon to be ruined by SH130. The ride described below includes three SH130 crossings, hence might very well be in shambles at this point. But if not:

Starting at the intersection of 183 and MLK (how you get there depends on where you're starting from):

1. MLK east to Johnny Morris Rd. -- TURN LEFT on Johnny Morris

2. Johnny Morris north to Decker Lake Rd -- TURN RIGHT on Decker Lake

3. Decker Lake Rd east to FM-973N -- TURN LEFT on 973

4. FM-973N north to Hog Eye Rd -- TURN RIGHT on Hog Eye

(This will be the second place you can make a right turn, the first will be just prior, and both after a loooong downhill)

5. For this stretch, there aren't really any street signs, just follow your nose. For the record, Hog Eye to Gilbert Ln to Decker Lake Rd. Now you're out in the country. Yay! Decker Lake will end at Taylor Lane, so you can't miss the left turn.

6. Decker Lake Rd to Taylor Ln. -- TURN LEFT on Taylor

7. Taylor Ln. to Lockwood Rd. -- TURN RIGHT

(Taylor will basically turn into Lockwood Rd., so nothing to worry about here.)

8. Lockwood Rd turns into Hog Eye Rd.

9. Hog Eye Rd to Bitting School Rd. -- TURN LEFT on Bitting School Rd.

(it will be near the top of a hill with a fake flower covered mailbox on the right side of the street)

10. Bitting School Rd. to Littig Rd -- TURN RIGHT on Littig

11. Ride Littig Rd until it ends at Upper Elgin River Rd. --

TURN LEFT on Upper Elgin River

12. Ride about another mile underneath 290 and you're in Elgin, hoss.

On the way back I like to mix things up a bit by going further north on FM-973N to Bloor Rd. (TURN LEFT on Bloor) and then completing the loop around Walter E. Long Lake back to Decker Ln., Decker to Daffin Ln, Daffin to Daffan Gin Road, Daffan Gin to Old Manor Rd., and then Old Manor down the hill until it runs into the intersection of Springdale/Manor/183. Where you go from here depends on where you're going.

This is my favorite ride in Austin. Don't ruin it by littering, blocking the road, or otherwise annoying the kindly folks who live out there.

If you look at a map, you can see there are a lot of alternative routes once you get on Hog Eye after Lockwood. I'm partial to the monster thigh-killing hill on Bitting School Rd.; your tastes may vary.

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