Challenge yourself to Hill Country cycling
Unforgettable scenic views are why cycling enthusiasts come to the Texas Hill Country. There are routes for every type of person: casual riders, endurance cyclists and mountain bikers. Challenge yourself with a bike ride in the Hill Country, whether by yourself, with a group or for a cause.
Rides for casual cyclists
If you’re looking for a route to follow, visit mapmyride.com and search your city. Cyclists log their rides, distances and elevation with easy-to-follow route maps. Check out the Marble Falls listing for 150 different routes.
- Try the Mormon Mill Loop route, which goes round trip from Marble Falls to Burnet and is a favorite with locals.
- The Oatmeal Loop is a scenic route through quaint towns from Marble Falls to Burnet to Bertram to Oatmeal (the route’s namesake).
The guidebook “Best Bike Rides in Texas” highlights several rides in the Highland Lakes for cycling enthusiasts. View all trails from the book here or consider these recommendations:
- The Lost Pines Cruise takes riders through the pine forests in Bastrop and Buescher state parks. Pine trees are rare in Texas, so this isolated pocket of pine trees in the middle of otherwise flat ranchland is a sight to behold.
- The Hill Country Flyer Challenge begins in the Burnet courthouse square and take riders 60 miles round trip to Cedar Park.
For casual cyclists — who love to drink craft beer
“Up the hills, down the beers” is the motto for the annual Real Ale Ride in Blanco on May 21. This ride goes through the rolling hills in Blanco, with five distances from 15 miles to 80 miles. Each ride ends at Real Ale Brewing Co. for a celebration involving beer and barbecue. Learn more at realaleride.com.
For social riders
Join Hill Country cyclists on a historic ride that starts and ends on the runway at the “Texas Whitehouse,” President Lyndon B. Johnson’s home in Johnson City. The annual LBJ 100 Bicycle Tour leads bikers through the historic property and around the scenic Texas Hill Country. The ride is scheduled for April 2, but registration closes March 31. Visit lbj100.bike for more information.
For philanthropic cyclists
Try the annual Lampasas Hillacious Bike Tour, which has four routes from 13 miles to 63 miles. The event is schedule for April 9, so register soon. The ride benefits Vision Lampasas, which enhances the image and welfare of the historic downtown Lampasas District, as well as the Lampasas Association for the Arts, which promotes the arts in the surrounding area. Go to lampasashillaciousbiketour.com for more information.
The annual Pace Bend Road Race in Spicewood on Feb. 28 invites people of all ages to bike through Pace Bend with full use of the roadway. The race is a 6.2-mile circuit with sweeping curves and short, steep climbs, giving riders the opportunity to really push themselves. Proceeds go toward the Boneshaker Project, which empowers kids to lead physically strong and healthy lifestyles from a young age. The event is popular and will sell out, so register soon. Go to boneshaker.org and click on the length at the top for race information.
For serious cyclists
The Race Across America (RAAM) Texas Cycling Challenge is a ride for serious endurance cyclists. With the option to take the 200- or 400-mile route, neither is for the lighthearted. Starting at Johnson Park in Marble Falls, riders will take charge of winding roads and rolling hills, cruising through scenic crossings, vineyards and ranches. The ride is schedule for March 19. View detailed route maps and event registration on the website.
For mountain bikers
Burnet’s Reveille Peak Ranch offers more than 62 miles of trails for every skill level and is open rain or shine. (Read our guide to Reveille Peak Ranch.) The ranch hosts a few cycling events throughout the year:
- The Reveille Peak Bike Festival, March 18-20, is an annual three-day event with a host of activities for the whole family, including bicycle demos, skill rides, night rides, a climbing wall, kayaking, fishing and more. Learn more here.
- The annual Reveille Peak 100 Mountain Bike Race takes place on a challenging 25-kilometer course — loop around four times to complete the race — and has several prize categories. The date for 2016 hasn’t been posted yet, but stay tuned.
For mixed-sport athletes
If you also enjoy swimming and running, consider the annual Marble Falls Triathlon. Join triathletes in a 1-kilometer swim in Lake Marble Falls, a 23-mile bike ride and 4.4-mile run. The dates for 2016 have not been announced yet, but it’s a summer event, so stay posted.
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