If you want to get out of town but not too far, head down to the Veloway in southwest Austin. With a 3.1-mile loop (and shorter options), the wide and smoothly paved asphalt Veloway is built specifically for bicycles and rollerblades. No automobiles or pedestrians are allowed. This stress-free loop is a perfect choice if you want a leisurely ride where you can laugh and chat with your friends.
Marking the western edge of Austin’s urban core is the Capital of Texas Highway, also known as the Loop 360 (or, by some, the 360 Loop). Purposefully kept free of development within eyeshot, this highway boasts some of the most beautiful and iconic urban views for cyclists within the city limits, which makes it extremely popular with cyclists. This hilly terrain is a beautiful route to cycle, but avoid doing so during rush hour where clogged lanes can lead to traffic accidents.
Bonus: If you take this ride at Christmastime, you’ll get to enjoy all the Christmas decorations that annually pop up on the shrubs and trees that line the highway.
Since 1999, the Lance Armstrong Bikeway has been the premier bike trail for cyclists in Austin. The concrete route is about five miles long and takes riders along Lady Bird Lake as the shaded trail passes lakeside parks and under I-35 on a path to downtown Austin. East from the freeway, the bikeway connects to the Plaza Saltillo train station, which makes for a nice connection stop on a long commute.
After a long wait, Austin has officially opened the new 7-mile paved bike trail in East Austin. This trail is the latest installment of an ongoing, city-wide paved trail expansion to give previously underserved parts of town access to smooth routes into and out of the city. Enjoy this urban trail for both commuting and simply for the pleasure of riding around town without the traffic jams.
Renowned for not catering to the faint of heart and the inexperienced, Farm-to-Market 2222 is one of the steepest, fastest bike rides in the city. It is also one of the most dangerous.
If you’re a well-seasoned rider or a thrill-seeker, the route is well-traveled and has the title of being one of the most fun. The road is carved through the limestone cliff face of west Austin and keeps you barreling up and down hills as you coast around sharp curves only to be greeted by a heavy climb. Just be warned: there is no shoulder, so be hyper-aware of traffic.
Just outside the city limits is Willow City Loop, which is considered one of the premier springtime cycling routes in the state. Every year the highway is bursting with the pastels of bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes and various other wildflowers. This scenic 13-mile road that takes you to Fredricksburg, Texas traverses hills and creeks, offering stunning views of flower-filled meadows and valleys.