Our alarm was set early to take advantage of the last day of Daylight Savings Time, we packed quickly and were out of our playhouse/shed shelter at the first light. We were determined to make it to the 11am coffee cruise (group bike ride) and possibly the farmers market. After a considerable time in the saddle the sun finally decided to join the party and grace us with light and a bit of heat burning off the morning dew.
By mid-morning we had arrived in Austin. In town we met back up with Chris Ayers, a fellow cycle tourer we met in Stuart, FL. After tending to our extra dry chains and catching up a bit, the three of us set out to explore Austin, first stop the Coffee Cruise group ride.
During the ride Amanda’s patch from her first puncture flat blew out causing us to split off and walk the bike to Bike Farm. A new tube and we were quickly on our way. We met back up with Chris at the ending location of the Coffee Cruise. The three of us headed to a vegan food truck, a bakery, and finally rode east to Yellow Bike Project. We utilized the bike co-op in Philadelphia, and Chris’ pre-tour life was spent working at Pittsburgh’s Free Ride we were all interested in what Austin’s famed co-op had to offer. Amanda was not too keen on our stop at YBP, her helmet was stolen from the front step of the shop.
Today we looked south and east trying to explore as many areas and neighborhoods of Austin as possible in the short time we had. First stop was to Walmart to replace Amanda stolen and my disintegrating helmet. Avoiding as much of the busy roads as possible we cut through a cemetery, requiring us to jump the fence with the bikes to access the Walmart parking lot.
A hilly and seemingly endless ride paralleling the highway finally dumped us at the very crunchy Wheatville Food Co-Op. Samples, samples and a tiny bit of shopping later we left heavy with food and lighter in the wallet.
SXSW is a big deal in Austin. It is the event the locals loathe and visiting tourist romp around downtown with lanyards giving them access the premium Miller Lite in the Pandora Lounge. We were a week early for the music portion of the event, maybe that would have captured our attention a little more.
After a ride to REI to exchange a defective inflatable pillow and to Book People to search for a National Parks guide; we rode to see the capital building, grab a bite to eat at each of our various persuasions, and watch the bats.
Two days of running around Awesome Austin and we needed a day to reboot, pack, and lighten our load. Chris motivated us to rid ourselves of bulky spice bottles and openned our eyes to the difficulties of carrying such heavy loads. This will be an ongoing endevour of ours as we continue to refine our kits.
Many hours of our final day in Austin were spent at Buzzmill eating Voodoo Donuts and drinking copious amounts of coffee served over a blazing fast fiber internet connection. Go Austin!!