Video: Far and Wide in Austin, Texas

Apr 8, 2015 at 22:44
by SRAM  
Far and Wide - SRAM GX

Views: 18,223    Faves: 124    Comments: 24


Far and Wide - SRAM GX
  Austin, Texas is known for a lot of things: live music, barbecue, and the Longhorns. We found all those things, but we also found a cycling rich town with a small, but quality trail network.

I can’t seem to forget a damn thing. There’s the random item or two I’ll lapse on at the grocery store sometimes but really that’s it. If I tell you I forgot something I might be lying (I am). My mind is a trap; filled with smells, faces, and unfinished birthday texts to friends. It’s an exhausting burden that even as I get older I can’t seem to shake free from.

Far and Wide - SRAM GX
Far and Wide - SRAM GX

Far and Wide - SRAM GX
  It's an eclectic mix here, we could treasure hunt for hours on SoCo, listen to the "next big thing" just down the street, or watch a local artist spray freely at the Graffiti park.

Since I can’t seem to forget, I can trace the origins of this to its inception back in middle school. I have probably always had this skill somewhere within me but it became fully unlocked around the same time I found bikes and more importantly the places the bicycle took me too. Each time I could pedal away from home was a new adventure that I never wanted to end. So when it did end (for supper time, homework, lawn mowing or darkness) I would replay the day over and over in my young head. Usually with my Walkman (look it up) blasting in my ears acting as the soundtrack to the beloved rerun while I spaced out, staring at my bedroom ceiling or the blank math worksheet. I appreciated this ability in my youth. It allowed me to get lost in something I enjoyed when I couldn’t actually be outside. It was a pacifier for the next time. It made me hungry for more since the feelings were fresh.

Far and Wide - SRAM GX
Far and Wide - SRAM GX
  Coffee is a religion in all good cycling towns, and Austin is no different. Our early mornings started at Jo's, but a second cup from Flat Track or Cenote really got the day moving.

I had two close friends that I rode with everyday back then. We employed different interests and talents both on and off the bike. I was the long distance rider. I enjoyed racing and spending all day on the bike. My friends enjoyed the same, but favored being in the air more than on the ground. Our bike builds matched our riding preference. My tastes leaned towards the high post, titanium frame, racer type build while they had flat pedals, fat tires and bash guards. These diverse builds never stopped us from riding together. I am friends to this day with the two middle school guys that I discovered riding with. I loved exploring on my bike but I’m not sure how far it would have gone without those two sharing those afternoons after school and weekends with me.

As I age I am struck with how integral those early years were for me. It helped me appreciate all two wheeled disciplines and never discriminate on the trail.

Far and Wide - SRAM GX
Far and Wide - SRAM GX
  The post coffee pedal through parks and neighborhood bike lanes took us to the maze of hobo trails in the Barton Greenbelt. Local knowledge told us that maps out here were useless, but the area is small enough to explore without real risk of getting lost in the wilderness. Tip: start at the Hill of Life.

Fast forward to present day. Personal distractions and responsibility have taken hold. Making the time to get out and enjoy my true love has become a special event; something I cherish and share with my closest friends. Similar to my riding companions when I first started pedaling, my present day riding partners are their own people with their own diverse outlooks and rich talents both on and off the bike. They tackle life and the trail in front of them differently.

Far and Wide - SRAM GX
Far and Wide - SRAM GX
Far and Wide - SRAM GX
  There are no mountains here, but this is hill country and just outside Austin is Pace Bend Park where a multi use singletrack network cuts ribbons across the hilly terrain with punchy climbs and rocky descents.

My friend Ross is a traveler that graciously shares every place he goes with anyone willing to look and listen. His vision for storytelling is strong. For him, traveling doesn’t have to involve his bike. He’s just as content with spending weeks away from the bike as long as he’s exploring somewhere special. I feel like this makes him and his stories richer. This makes his time on the bike almost more for himself than it is for others. When Ross is on his bike he’s a master. He’s got every skill in the book on lock but he’d never say it. He is one of my favorite riders to spend a day with.

Far and Wide - SRAM GX
Far and Wide - SRAM GX

Far and Wide - SRAM GX

My friend Mary spends her days working outside essentially taking care of people. She works for Western Spirit as a guide for week long mountain bike trips. Mary is a coach and a leader that I have looked up to since meeting her. She is doing a very difficult job that is heavily romanticized. I know more than most what her day to day is like but even when I dream of an escape from the trappings of reality I think of following in her footsteps. You’d think that with all that time on the bike and outdoors you would be content and there’d be no need to make that time for yourself to find happiness or your center. Not for Mary. She takes great care of herself. She squeezes every drop of life out of this world and I’m constantly in awe of her drive and ability on and off the trail.

Far and Wide - SRAM GX
  Mary's Santa Cruz 5010 with SRAM GX 1x11.

As you grow up, find a career and bring on mounting responsibility you take those personal nuggets of freedom and adventure and schedule it. You chase down that feeling of fun and do everything in your power to fill the rest of your life with things you love and appreciate. This is my constant goal and my friends around me give me hope and drive to live life for me.

Far and Wide - SRAM GX
Far and Wide - SRAM GX
Far and Wide - SRAM GX
Far and Wide - SRAM GX

Far and Wide - SRAM GX
Far and Wide - SRAM GX
  They say everything is bigger in Texas, and after a few days in January that included Mary's smile, Morgan's laugh and Ross' collection of photos.

We all have arrived from different locations, backgrounds and responsibilities to celebrate this common bond, the ride. And just like each of our lives the mutual enjoyment we share is complex. Different bikes, questionable line choices and individual airtime ability can separate and connect us all at once. This ability to express is what holds us to the trail. I try to never forget that.

Far and Wide - SRAM GX


Video by: Mind Spark Cinema
Photos by: Adrian Marcoux
Words by: Morgan Meredith


sram.com / @SramMedia



78 Comments

  • + 25
 These pieces on lesser-known riding locations are freakin' sweet. It doesn't matter where you are, just ride and smile. Seek the leaf pile!

PS-Does anyone know what song that was?
  • + 1
 Katy McAllister - "Wicked Words"
  • + 1
 Thanks!
  • + 3
 No diss ton asking for songs but just a FYI download Shazam to your phone and your straight! Every video there are so many people that want to know the song. Whip out your Shazam and BOOOOOM your straight! I liked the video to. Def looking for leaves next ride!
  • + 20
 When did Pinkbike turn into The Radavist...
  • + 6
 ha! I love the radavist! this article is just missing the craft whiskey and pencil-thin mustache.
  • + 9
 It already had Austin, coffee, hipsters, and "vibes" all trying to pretend its not advertising.
  • + 4
 Lived 6 years in Austin. Biking there sucks, on the whole, and the pretentious hipster vibe captured so well in this video also made me SO happy to leave.
  • + 1
 Such golden, much earnest.
  • + 13
 Don't worry folks, Texas isn't a washed-out, instagram filter'ed wasteland of earth tones in real life like these pictures portray it to be.
  • + 13
 Less talky, more ridey ok? Also why no Freeride512 stuff in here? That would've been a great addition to the article.
  • + 4
 Probably because the stuff they built at Twin Parks is currently being rebuilt at Rocky Hill Ranch.
  • + 1
 And they currently just have the beginner jump trail finished iirc
  • + 10
 Yep! We are rising from the ashes! Weather has really put us behind schedule, but things are moving into high gear. We do have a beginner jump line cut and will be rapidly adding more. We also have a very cool surprise under wraps . . . Stay tuned!
  • + 6
 I hope the cool surprise is I get a refund on my year pass.
  • + 5
 It shouldn't be a surprise that your membership included the opportunity to come dig new trails.
  • + 5
 Austin people- I've tried posting on the Freeride 512 Facebook page about a DH trail I'm working on in NW Austin but got no replies. If any of you are interested in helping me rebuild an old trail with ladders, gaps, jumps etc, shoot me a message. This spot has huge potential.
  • + 6
 They didn't mention that this trail system is practically downtown. Very few large cites (1.5M peeps) have this kind of system so close to the urban core. Once you drop in, you can't even tell you're in a metro area.
  • + 5
 And you can finish your ride up with a dip in Barton springs and some very good scenery.
  • + 1
 On your way back to the Zilker entrance, take a left to hit the trailhead on Spyglass and eat at TacoDeli right there! I loved living right there, we had a trail from our apartment complex into the Greenbelt (only good for hiking in, though).
  • + 4
 While reading an article on the area that I ride is exciting, that video just didn't do central Texas justice for the type of trails we have here and seemed to focus more on the riders than the area. They completely left out Reveille Peak Ranch and the newer trails at Brushy Creek. The riding here is great for XC but can be really difficult to find your fix DH wise, there just aren't enough sustained downhill runs like you get in the mountains. I feel like we need more trails like this but it's very difficult to work with the topography here, a Bell grant or IMBA trail would be great for our riders here. Also with Texas being 98% privately owned doesn't help create new trails. Places like Utopia and out near Bandera have giant hills that would really be great for mountain biking. Still nice to see my state featured on Pinkbike however I still long for trails outside of my state more than anything.
  • + 3
 Freeride512 group is your huckleberry for anything remotely DH. I'd also consider most of the good riding here very punchy tech. Sorta of like a calculated trials.
  • + 3
 Ive been to Austin for many BMX/MTB roadtrips and its by far one of the best cities Ive experienced. This video was simply amazing in showcasing Austin and what it has to offer.
  • + 9
 Not really sure I learned anything about the ride scene or local trails in Austin from that video. It was mostly cliche b-roll shots and fluff.
  • - 5
flag b1k35c13nt15t (Apr 9, 2015 at 12:42) (Below Threshold)
 There isn't anything there if you ride MOUNTAIN BIKES. It would be more appropriately termed, "Hill biking."
  • + 7
 Freakin' hipsters Wink
  • + 2
 I miss my old neighborhood. Riding Guadalupe St. down past the college and looking in the windows of the bars on 6th Street. Saturday nights full of neon, The B-52's or blues music. Fun hills, festivals, the bohemians, Capital Avenue at night, bats, the gullies, limestone, cedar roots and pin oaks. Austin was pure fun on a mountain bike. I miss it, but I don't miss that girl who let me down.
  • + 3
 Definitely should have hit up Emma Long. Best riding in Austin, by far, and a whole lot of tech! The majority of Austin mountain bikers don't go there, so it generally isn't crowded like the Greenbelt or Walnut Creek.
  • + 4
 I've ridden all over this country, and Emma Long is still one of those that will test me. My favorite trail in Austin.
  • + 2
 Yup! I remember riding it back in high school (late 90s). Fully rigid steel mountain bikes. Now when I ride it, I can't even fathom that. It's one of those trails where you can get MUCH better at tech riding, really quick.
  • + 2
 awesome article, however the only thing I think they missed was "cycling rich town with a small, but quality trail network" agree with @herodirt they need to get a proper tour from the locals of all the other good spots we have. #BCB
  • + 1
 Agreed, but let's keep the good stuff to ourselves.. Lol just kidding, find someone local who shreds and you will find many trails off the map
  • + 4
 Would have loved to see some shots from the 9th st dirt jumps. Great town, even better cycling scene.
  • + 2
 Austin is an awesome city. However when we were flying in for a weekend from the PNW a while back, the first thing I said as we were landing was "wait this is the hill country?"
  • + 3
 To be fair, the airport isn't in hill country. Gotta go west for that.
  • + 1
 Well Texas doesn't call it "Mountain Country" because those are hills.
  • + 4
 Thanks for representing our city and scene! Tip get a hold of locals if you want to the tour.
  • + 2
 Agreed. Lots of the good stuff is missing from this little snapshot.
  • + 3
 Come here for the beer, beautiful women, food, bmx, nice people, music...but don't come here to mtb. That's why I'm moving to Angel Fire!
  • + 1
 Great Video! This makes me want to explore Austin with a mountain bike the next time I am visiting from Colorado. The trails look at bit more tame, but this video showcased it is more about the experience and the people than the specific trail. Nice job.
  • + 2
 The trail shown in this video are the tamest parts of the Barton creek greenbelt. You need a guide to find the good stuff. There must be 40-50 miles in just that trail system alone with a good portion of it expert level. Do some research and look on bikemojo for a guide. Google is your friend. Also look up Emma Long/City Park and Brushy Creek for more diverse and technical riding.
  • + 2
 How is the riding out near Kerreville? I'm going to be coming down there in a couple weeks and was thinking about bringing my bike.
  • + 1
 There's a place about a hour away from Kerrville called Camp Eagle that has some really good riding and occasionally holds races. Its a mix of XC, aggressive trail with a little super d but mostly flowy technical stuff. Camp Eagle is privately owned so definitely call first to find out if they allow access outside of races.
  • + 1
 Bring your bike for sure. Camp Eagle is good but Flat Rock Ranch is better and it's much closer to where you'll be. We have a gravity enduro race out there every year. Good elevation change for Texas. www.flatrockranch.net
  • + 1
 I quite like these articles on lesser known riding locales. Good to know when on road trips! That being said, Texas is the wrong direction from everything else I want to ride.
  • + 3
 Austin really is a jewel in the state of Texas. It has such a great vibe and scene that's awesome no matter what your age.
  • + 0
 After moving from PNW and before that Albuquerque NM is safe to say the riding here blows. No elevation change and a pack of strava*sholes And what the hell were they doing with all that travel? Killing it on the hill climbs, that's what! #IJustWantAnotherSandyRidgeRide
  • + 1
 Spent time in both PNW and ABQ and yes the riding here in ATX does not compare to either. However, the economy here is great and allows me to buy better bikes/parts and take longer trips to visit those western trails. I'll call it a win!
  • + 0
 And yes, I do have to shake my head every time i see a super slacked out LT bike on our trails.
  • + 2
 Pretentious, bearded, dark rimmed bisepectecaled, douche city guy shopping for vinyl wearing an Acre pack. Yup, target market for Acre.
  • + 1
 Gotta love Austin's vibe and year round riding! Hey people of Austin and beyond, check out and vote for Ruidoso NM Bell Built DH trails grant and help us win a world class downhill trail!
  • + 0
 as much as I hate TX, Austin is awesome. The only town where it's mostly average weight people as opposed to every other city like Ft Worth where they're all fat.

Not to mention they outlawed plastic bags in stores (like everywhere should, like Europe has done) and they truly believe in sustainability.
  • + 1
 Sorry buddy but not everywhere in Europe has banned plastic bags, they are still at every checkout here in the UK.
  • + 0
 Cool. what's your point? Obviously you missed mine. Haha that was just a side note, thanks though!
  • + 1
 Great edit. Really enjoyed the pace and story of it.
Much love to the riding fella repping the DDC (Draplin Design Co.) hat. He has good taste in design!
  • + 2
 The fixie died in '09 so I'm shocked it took hipsters this long to try mountain biking.
  • + 3
 Nice video, but really only scratches the surface of what is here.
  • + 2
 Northwest Arkansas has the same story as Austin, you wouldn't expect it but they have some awesome trail systems
  • + 3
 Good article! Nice way to start my day.
  • + 1
 Don't like sram but damn those videos they make are pretty stunning absolutely love them in fact
  • + 1
 Is the Neon Austin Motel sign is a bit unfortunate, or does it represent the type of clientele?
  • + 3
 Needs moar neckbeard!
  • + 2
 I think they are doing too much damage to the roots of the trees Wink
  • + 2
 no mention of 9th street etc?
  • + 2
 Unfortunately 9th street was way in pretty bad shape when we were there, lots of rain had taken it's toll. It is a true mecca for BMX though.
  • + 1
 @rossmeasures: what was that small camera you were using in the video?
  • + 2
 Love it!
  • + 1
 That woman is cooler and tougher than both those guys put together
  • + 2
 Austin rocks!!
  • + 2
 this is not enduro
  • + 2
 Nice Job!
  • + 1
 Those are the trails I ride!
  • + 0
 Sorry, but Dallas Trails > Austin
  • + 5
 Sorry, but nothing Dallas > anything Austin
  • + 1
 DallasAustin. Have fun in the suburbs!
  • + 5
 You have no idea what you are talking about. Dallas has some good trails like portions of North Shore and Big Cedar, plus Ft Worth has the waaay underrated Samson Park, but as a whole the Austin area blows DFW out of the water. Hell, freaking Waco has better trails than Dallas. We have 40-50 miles of trails in the Barton creek greenbelt, city park which blows anything in Dallas away by an order of magnitude in technical content, Brushy Creek, Pace Bend, Reimers Ranch, RPR and so on. So if you like flat xc riding with loads of dirt roadies/strava*sholes , Dallas is for you.

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