Sunday, February 27, 2011

yay for sun, warmth, and bicycles!...

Austin rental panda

The moment we decided we were going to Austin
was the moment I began my search to rent bicycles to see the city.
And of course where else would one rent bicycles,
than Mellow Johnny's?

Mellow Johnny's

I personally don't care
if Lance did or didn't,
he's done some great things with his platform.
One small thing he has done is Mellow Johnny's.

It's a nice shop, with good offerings, and employees people.
Plus, if you head downstairs there are some great things going on.

Lance's wheels....ooooohhhhh...ahhhhh.....

I found some decorative inspiration
for all of those wheels
we always have laying around...

H's first bike had a bit of a problem.
A few minutes into the ride the derailure
completely broke -
there was a loud crack
and the next thing we knew,
the whole thing was hanging off the bike.

"Nice bike Lance", H said.

Luckily we were a few short blocks away from the shop,
so we brought it back for a bicycle in working condition.

The shot on the right is the broken bike in front of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway sign.
The irony cracks me up. Yes, that's how I roll....

I'm not going to sugar coat it, the LAB isn't very interesting,
at least the part we were on.
That said, it felt SOOOOOOO good to be back on a bicycle
with the warm air on my face,

the sun shining down,
only a small layer of clothing,

and my man at my side.
Yay for sun, warmth and bicycles!!!

Our ride encompassed heading
which didn't go along the river as we hoped,
but along the busy 4 lane road next to the river.
Not peaceful or pretty,
but maybe it works for commuters,
in which case it is nice.
We circled back on the south side of the river,
stopping at the BIG dog park for some photo ops (lucky dogs!).

Having had enough of the river route, but not ready to give up our bikes,
we turned our wheels downtown to see what we could see.
There are bicycle lanes downtown, but the ones we saw were on the busiest streets.
Both experienced city cyclists, neither of us felt comfortable using those routes,
so after poking around a bit more, we sadly gave up and headed back to turn in our bicycles.

Frank/rolling it Austin style

Austin definitely has some good bicycle things going on,
and there were a TON of kitted cyclists up in the hills when we were driving around.
But our take was it has a way to go in regard to safe and accessible bicycling.
The chap we talked to at MJ's concurred. He was a lifelong Austiner and he agreed the city is a bit behind.
Citywise, it seemed the areas we were in (mainly south of downtown) were sketchy for riding,
but also, we were often on the main roads, so perhaps there are better routes
and maybe the folks we saw, like many I see in Minneapolis, were choosing more direct, less ideal ways to get places.
There are bikelanes on the busy roads, but they start and stop abruptly.
Most people seemed to be taking to the sidewalks.
Is it horrible? No. Could it be better? Yes.

We really enjoyed seeing Austin whether by foot, bicycle, or automobile.
Though I think I like Minneapolis more, I certainly like Austin's weather much better.
Still chugging along for the third morning in a row at 8 degrees,
and trying to stomach potentially two more months of wintry grossness,
sometimes putting up perhaps with living in a city with great weather,
trumps living in "America's Best Bike City"...

Have you been?
Do you/Have you live(d) in Austin?
Please share your thoughts!

You can read a similar,
but different,
post I wrote by clicking on the image below.