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The Military Budget as Cookies

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How to Not Get
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An illustrated guide for bicyclists. Might save your life.

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Austin Bike Maps & Routes

Maps

  • "Austin Bicycle Map" published by the City of Austin Bicycle Program. Covers about 315 square miles. Also has a zoomed-out view of the area outside of Austin, and a zoomed-in view of the MoPac / W. 5th / W. 6th St. intersection. A similar version of this map is available online, but you really should get a print version. Where to get it: Most Austin-area bike shops, or check with the City of Austin Bicycle Program.

  • "Bike Map" published by UT. Covers the central city (about 15 square miles). It's an awesome map for the central city, but unfortunately it's been out of print for years, but there are two online versions available.

Other Austin maps

Out of Town routes & maps

Routes

If the route you need isn't listed here, then I don't have a route for you. If I knew about the route you were about to ask about, it would be on this page already, since that's the whole purpose of this page. For routes not listed here, ask on the web forum.

List of available routes

Central

* Town Lake Hike & Bike Trail to UT
* Shoal Creek to Pleasant Valley & Oltorf
* Avoiding traffic light at Koenig

North (on a separate page)

* Central Austin to IBM
* Going north on 183 past the Arboretum
* Burnet to Metric, north of 183
* Central Austin to Pflugerville
* 620/Parmer to LCRA on Lake Austin Blvd.
* Arboretum to Downtown
* Avery Island (McNeil/Parmer) to Duval/Mopac
* Pflugerville to IBM (Burnet/Braker)
* Wells Branch to Dell
* Wells Branch to Rutland / Burnet

South

* To Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
* Westgate Cinema/Central Market
* Manchaca & 1626
* To Ben White & I-30
* Dripping Springs to Oak Hill
* Dripping Springs to Bee Cave

West

* Preserve at Travis Creek on SW Parkway, to Mopac & Bee Cave
* The huge mountain on 2222

East

No route information available yet. (Don't misinterpret our lack of route information for East Austin to be a result of bias -- I live in East Austin myself. It's just that I compile & write route tips based on what's requested/discussed on the forum, and a specific East Austin route hasn't been discussed yet. Part of the reason is that East Austin is actually a bit easier to navigate than the burbs up north or south.)

Out Of Town

* For regional routes, see our special pages about biking:

* For routes inside Texas, Freewheeling Bicycles at 24th & San Gabriel has good maps, including a large road atlas called "Roads of Texas". You can also find back roads with Google Maps. For cycling from one end of Texas to the other, check out the maps from Adventure Cycling.
* Doing the Adventure Cycling cross-country route? We have a much easier way to get to Austin than Adventure Cycling suggests.
* For cross-country routes (Austin to California or Florida), check out Adventure Cycling.
* Ask for help on the web forum.

Other Resources for Route info:


The Route Details

Central

Town Lake Hike & Bike Trail to UT

  • East on Riverside to S. 1st
  • Left (north) on S. 1st north to 2nd
  • Left (west) on 2nd to San Antonio
  • Right (north) on San Antonio to 7th
  • Left (west) on 7th to Nueces
  • Right (north) on Nueces to MLK
  • Then go straight through the alley (where Nueces would be if it continued straight) to 22nd St. (You'll be going the wrong way through the alley, but it's safer than being stuck on MLK trying to turn onto San Jacinto, although you can try it if you like.)
  • Then right on 22nd to Guadalupe (campus)


Shoal Creek to Pleasant Valley & Oltorf (per a reader's request)

On Shoal Creek going south, make a left on 46th St., and go through the neighborhoods until you pop out on Medical Parkway around 40th. Then you'll have to choose one of these evils: Traffic, Hills, or Distance.

More Traffic: Take 38th St. west, go under I-35, take the first right, then go through neighborhoods to get to the intersection of Manor and Chestnut. Take Chestnut South; it turns into Pleasant Valley.

More Hills: Take Medical Parkway past Lamar, take the first left (37th?), cross Lamar, catycornering a little to the left (10:00 position) to pick up 37th. When you hit West Ave. 37th stops, but just continue straight through the parking lot to King. Right on King to 32nd, left on 32nd. Cross Guadalupe, and take 32nd all the way to Star Seeds Cafe, which is on the east side of I-35. 32nd is discontiguous so you'll have to keep making little turns to stay on it. It's also very hilly; this was the part I warned you about. Once at Star Seeds, go through neighborhoods to get to the intersection of Manor and Chestnut. Take Chestnut South; it turns into Pleasant Valley.

More Distance: Take Medical Parkway past Lamar, take the first left (37th?), cross Lamar, catycornering a little to the left (10:00 position) to pick up 37th. When you hit West Ave. 37th stops, but just continue straight through the parking lot to King. Go left a tad on King, until you can pick up 37th again on the right. Make a left onto Guadalupe (or take the sidewalk to the 38th/Guadalupe intersection if that left turn frightens you). From the SE corner of Guadalupe & 38th, go north to cross 38th, get on the sidewalk, and make an immediate right onto 38 1/2 St. Left on Ave. B to 42nd, right on 42nd to Duval, take a catycorner left on Duval to pick up Park St. and continue west. Blast down the hill on Park and you'll pick up enough speed that the uphill on Park will be easy. Park dumps you out onto Red River at Hancock Center. Right on Red River, cross through the light at 41st, left on 40th, right on Wilbert, left on 39th, right on Harmon, left on 38th, go under I-35, take the first right, then go through neighborhoods to get to the intersection of Manor and Chestnut. Take Chestnut South; it turns into Pleasant Valley.


Avoiding traffic light at Koenig

The light at Koenig & Guadalupe is long. If you want to avoid it, then cross Koenig on Chesterfield instead of on Guadalupe. North of Koenig, go between Guadalupe and Chesterfield by riding over the pedestrian foot bridge.

  Guad-
alupe
|
========== Denson
|
|
--**-----
| \
| |
| |
=##========= Koenig
| |
| |
---------- 55-1/2th
| |
| |
Chester-
field

** = pedestrian foot bridge
### = damn traffic light

West

Preserve at Travis Creek on SW Parkway, to Mopac & Bee Cave (by Robert M. Farr, 3-00)

You've got three choices, and none are very good. Name your poison: hills (very steep ones), scary/fast traffic, or miles out of the way.
 
1. Hills. Take SW Parkway southwest to Travis Cook Rd. Take Travis Cook north to Lost Creek Blvd. and take Lost Creek east over 3 or 4 VERY steep hills to Loop 360. Congratulations! You just got over the Barton Creek Greenbelt without taking the Mopac Bridge! Follow Loop 360 south toward the mall and depending on your preference, take Walsh Tarlton north among any number of backstreets to get as close to Mopac/BeeCaves as possible, OR simply continue on 360 all the way to Mopac and follow the Mopac feeder road up to the Zilker Park area.
 
(Dan Connelly adds: "Lost Creek is a tough one. An easier alternative is to stay on Barton Creek (the contination of Travis Cook) all the way to Bee Caves, turn right, and in a short distance it becomes a nice descent to 360. The climb at the end of Barton Creek is a lot easier than the 3 significant climbs on Lost Creek. You can see it coming, but its bark is worse than its bite. Note that Travis Cook becomes Barton Creek south of the intersection with Lost Creek, so if see you are on Barton Creek, you didn't miss it.")
 
2. Scary Fast. Take SW Parkway northeast to Mopac. Get on Mopac and risk life and limb crossing the Barton Creek Bridge with 70-80 mph hyper traffic and no shoulder either. Heading North on that Bridge is a fast downhill jaunt so it's not as bad as it could be. You'll be doing 30 mph easy and only be out there for 120 seconds or so. (I see rec riders doing it daily.) Follow Mopac to Zilker. By the way, heading south on the Mopac Barton Creek Bridge is uphill but the shoulder/emergency lane hasn't been converted to a traffic lane like the north bound side. Lots of rec cyclists use this method to get over the greenbelt.
 
3.Long and slow. Follow SW Parkway northeast to 290/71 and continue on the frontage road following 290 east to Lamar. The 290 frontage road isn't bad once you're beyond the Sunset Valley Big-Box Retail zone and if you've left early enough in the morning, Lamar is light on traffic. You can turn left off Lamar at the Broken Spoke (the street is Westrock) and head north among any number of quiet backstreets (Bluebonnet Lane is the main one) until you drop down onto Barton Springs road at Zilker park via Robert E. Lee.
 
4. Mountain Bike Route. There's a well traveled but undocumented mountain bike trail beginning near the water pumping station (?) on Travis Country Circle in the Travis Country Neighborhood just east of Preserve apartments. It drops down to the Barton Creek Greenbelt and could be used as a commuter route all the way to Barton Springs for those who are so inclined. One could also cross the creek and come up the north slope of the greenbelt via some power line access roads near the mall at Loop 360. I've considered using it as a commuter route myself, but too many spider webs and dew on the leaves in the AM, yuck!
 
If I lived at the Preserve, I think I'd take #2 or #3 to get to work, and take #1 in reverse to get home, avoiding both Mopac and Lamar in the PM hours. Lost Creek Blvd. has brutal, knee-crunching climbs but if approached as a recreational/training ride on a commute home it's such a beautiful area for decompressing after a day at the office. Avoid BeeCaves Rd. between 360 and Mopac at all costs. Those SUV driving SOBs are ALL on the telephone and will NOT notice you until you make a dent in the grill.
 

The big mountain on 2222

This one is addressed on its own page
South

To Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

There is no safe route to the airport,, because the last mile or two is on a shoulderless road with 70 mph traffic. However, the #100 bus goes straight to the airport from both UT and downtown, and costs only 50, and the bus has a rack you can put your bike on. Here's a link to the bus route schedule. There are bike racks in the airport parking garage.

Westgate Cinema/Central Market (by Ken Marsh)

Last weekend I made my first bike ride to the Westgate cinema which is in the new single-story-shopping-center-mega-sprawlplex which includes the new Central Market store. To get there, I survived crossing the Lamar/71/290/360 cement octopus! From a distance, this "intersection" looks to me like it was designed to kill cyclists (insanely complicated and overbuilt design, no Lamar sidewalks, no shoulders, confused & speeding motorists anxious about getting on or off one of 3 highways). Actually I cheated a little to cross 71. Instead of staying on Lamar and dealing with all the weird traffic patterns, I used the northeast and southeast shopping center parking lots and sidewalks to cross the 71 frontage roads and central gravel wasteland under 71 just east of Lamar. It was stress free, quick, and easy - just a few curbs to hop. I saw a lot of children doing the same thing on their bikes. I recommend this eastern route. By the way, I was happily amazed at the number of brand new bike racks that are embedded in the sidewalk all around this shopping center. There were at least 15 low profile, single-occupant racks outside the theater, a bunch more around the corner and another 10 or so outside C.M.

Manchaca & 1626

A reader writes: "I'm looking for the safest bike route from downtown Austin to the corner of 1626 and Manchaca."

Bluejay responds: The bike map published by the city is often good for routes like this. It shows a circuituous route using several different streets for this trip, exclusively on blue/green (safer) roadways --- until you get to Slaughter & Palace, where you're stuck. There does seem to be a neighborhood south of there, though, and maybe with a regular street map (or maps.yahoo.com), you can find enough neighborhood streets for the rest of the trip.

Dave Dobbs (ddobbs-at-realtime.com) responds: There really is no safe route a half mile south of Slaughter Creek where Manchaca Road narrows just past two subdivisions that straddle the road. Any route through the neighborhoods south to Manchaca Road south of Matthews Lane will put you onto very wide striped safety lanes on Manchaca until it narrows south of Slaughter Creek. I live just east of Manchaca and Slaughter and ride all over the area, but will not ride south of the road narrowing on Manchaca as the shoulder is narrow and the cars very fast.

 

Ben White & I-30

Lane Wayport (lane -at- wayport.net) writes on July 23, 2004: My new commute is to the south-east corner of Ben White and I-30, just off of Freidrich Ln. to be more precise. I see two route options that on my Austin Bike Map, but which is better? The first one, which I test-rode a few weeks back, is down East Side, across the St. Edwards campus to Woodward, where I turn east to cross both I-35 and Ben White (the intersections with which are nasty, strewn as they are with nails and broken glass, and lacking as they do dedicated bike facilities, which forces one up onto the sidewalks for stretches).

The other option that I just noticed is to continue east on Annie/Woodland across I-35, where it appears there's a controlled crossing of I-35 as opposed to the non-controlled crossing at Woodward), to turn south on Parker Ln. Parker then heads all the way down to Woodward, where I'm still faced with crossing Ben White, but the time spent on (the nasty section of) Woodward would be roughly halved.

Each of these maps shows these two routes: City's Bicycle Program,   Austin Chronicle

tim_allison -at- mail.utexas.edu responds: I've ridden several times on Woodland and Parker -- it's much safer to cross I-35 on Woodland and there isn't much traffic on either Woodland or Parker. That's the route I'd recommend, although you'll have to face a few more hills, especially on Woodland.

bobfarr -at- austin.rr.com responds: Woodland and Woodward each have their plus and minus points. I'd opt for whatever option kept me on East Side Drive as long as possible. That's the sweet street, particularly if you can include the Travis Heights greenbelt as part of your commute. What a hidden treasure that is.

 Phil Hallmark responds: I got this from Paul Crocker, friend of mine who used to commute in that area:

I commuted from Rollingwood to Freidrich Ln. twice a week for an 18-month period. I was also fearful of the route at first, but later found it to be a very enjoyable ride. I rode the north side of town lake to the east side of I-35 where I crossed the river on the pedestrian bridge. From there I took Riverside to Parker Ln, which I took all the way to Woodward. Parker Lane is hilly and an excellent workout. It is also a 30mph road, and I never felt threatened there. As you said, Woodward was stressful. Sometimes I choose the sidewalk, but usually just tried to ride fast since I was on it for such a short time. The Ben White crossing is totally different now so I cannot comment. The other dangerous spot was crossing Riverside. There is a light, but there is also a "yield lane" with lots of traffic. On Riverside I used the south sidewalk for both directions. I would not consider using the traffic lane on Riverside.

 

Dripping Springs to Oak Hill (by bobfarr -at- austin.rr.com)

From Dripping Springs take Fitzhugh Road all the way till it doubles back to 290. Take 290 eastward about 100 yards and immediately take the left onto Circle Drive. Take Circle Drive almost all the way back to 290 but instead take the left onto Thomas Springs Rd. A few miles later cross straight over Highway 71 and you are now on Old Beecave Rd. You can follow Old Beecave road all the way back to 290/71 and then have only about a quarter mile of 290 to deal with before it turns into a freeway where thankfully, the service road is quite safe and rideable. Congratulations, you made it from Dripping Springs to the Austin city limits via the safest (and most pleasant) route available. You can ride thru the city or take 360 north.

Dripping Springs to Bee Cave (by )

From Dripping Springs, again, Take Fitzhugh Rd the same direction as before. This time, turn left at Crumbley Ranch Rd. (my favorite "close-in" hill country road.) Crumbley Ranch Rd ends back at Hamilton Pool Rd (3238 -getting more dangerous every day thanks to sprawl) where you must survive a continuous stream of both the good 'ol boys and new age country suburbanites screaming by you at 80 MPH until you get to Hwy 71 just west of Beecave. At least Hwy 71 has a decent shoulder where you can get to 620 for the long haul north or go a bit farther east to 2244/Beecaves Road and make your way through town or ride 360 northward - your choice.

Last update: March 2011




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