Posts Tagged ‘Cycling’

Biking to Work: Pt. II

In a previous post, I talked about the benefits of riding your bike to work/school as well as how to plan your route. However, an equally important aspect of being a cyclist is what to do with your bike once you reach your destination (especially if you’re commuting to campus).

Bike theft is big problem on the University of Texas campus (and in Austin in general, as the City is one of the worst when it comes to two-wheel thievery).

Don't end up like this guy

Luckily, the University offers some great tools to help you combat bike theft. Aside from registering your bike with Parking & Transportation Services, and using a high-grade lock, you can also rent a bicycle locker on campus if you so desire that level of security.

Bike lockers are a great way to store your ride while on campus

Bike lockers are available at the Brazos, Guadalupe, Manor, San Antonio, San Jacinto, Speedway and Trinity garages. It costs $50 per year to rent a locker, plus a $50 deposit for a key that you’ll get back at the end of your lease. If you’d like to get a locker or find out more, head over to the PTS main office at the Trinity Garage (@ the corner of Trinity and MLK) or simply email bicycle@utexas.edu.

Don’t forget that you can stop by ANY University garage and use a bike pump, free of charge— simply inquire at a garage’s teller window for one. There is ample space to ride and lock-up your bike around campus, so just remember to be smart and exercise good judgement when using and parking your ride.

Will out!

Anyone up for a game of polo?

Thoroughbreds and popped collars are not necessary. I’m not talking about the archaic game of yesteryear’s monarchs, but the new game sweeping the cycling nation: bike polo.

Taken from TrendLand via a Creative Commons license.

Bike polo is a young sport compared to its equestrian relative. Teams face off on a hard-surfaced court, say, a basketball blacktop or tennis courts, and attempt to move the ball using a variety of DIY-constructed mallets into the opposing side’s goal (no more than a pair of rocks or traffic cones, usually).

It can be a dangerous game, but don’t let the possibility of bodily harm turn you away– that’s part of the fun. And unlike real polo, if you fall, you won’t get crushed by a one-ton animal, only the 10- to 15-pound frame of your bike.

Games begin with “1, 2, 3… POLO!” as each team of three rushes to reach the small plastic ball at mid-court. The contests usually end when both sides get tired, or the sun sets.

Bike polo is said to have originated in India during the early 20th-century as a way for British officers overseas to practice their polo skills. Now it’s evolved into a sport all its own with growing interest in cycling-heavy cities around the country.

Austin’s bike polo scene is still a nascent one, but there’s a blog dedicated just to hard-court bike polo in the City if you’re interested in helping it grow. Or you can head over to the courts on the southside at 4500 Manchaca (map) for games on Tues. & Thurs. during the week.

1, 2, 3… POLO!

Biking to Work

For me, as with many students, the daily trek to campus can be a pain. Waking up early, dealing with traffic or getting stuck on the bus can ruin your morning.

Getting to school can be a drag.

Austin’s public transportation can be useful, but is woefully inadequate at times, and with second mortgages required for most UT parking passes, your options are limited.

But as Doug mentioned in a previous post, getting to campus can be about more than transportation— it can also be a chance to relax, refresh and reset your mind. That’s why increasingly I choose to bike to campus. And if you’re also in the growing number of people switching from four wheels to two— or thinking about making the switch— this post is for you.

There’s something extremely liberating about riding a bike, perhaps in its nostalgic value. But, as anyone who’s scraped their knee or bumped their head while riding can tell you, it can also be dangerous— so you need to read up before you make the commitment to bike to campus.

A good place to start is with the City of Austin’s bicycle map (PDF). It shows almost all of the City’s roads that are “bike accessible” as well as the level of their accessibility (ranked via ease of use from “high” to “low”) so you’ll know how to get where you’re going.

Fair warning though, the roads marked in red for “low” ease of use are indeed tough to ride on. If you’ve ever tried to bike down Guadalupe between 38th and 24th, you know how scary using a “low” access road can be. Many times these roads do not have bike lanes at all but are simply deemed wide enough for a bike and a car to travel safely side-by-side.

Nonetheless, the map is pretty darn useful for getting a big-picture view of the City’s bike transit system. Using it I’ve been able to bike numerous times from my house near downtown to my parents’ in Northwest Austin.

Oh, and I recently bought a digital camera so that I could start adding more pictures to my posts. So, here’s a little something:

It’s my Centurion road bike,  mostly original parts. It’s not the prettiest but it rides real smooth.

…and now, a post about Lance Armstrong

There’s no shortage of cycling news in Austin these days, with discussions ongoing about a bicycle boulevard on Nueces Street (or Rio Grande– or both). And with all of the avid bikers in Central Texas, I thought it’d be helpful to bring together some recent news on the city’s most famous cyclist– none other than Lance Armstrong.

Armstrong returned last summer from a three-year retirement to compete in the Tour de France. Surprisingly, he performed quite well in the individual stages; unsurprisingly, he lost to Alberto Contador, one of the top three cyclists in the world. Contador and Armstrong both raced on the same team last year, Astana, which led to some battered egos, since most teams in cycling rally behind a single leader in big races and try to help him or her to victory.

But after finishing in third, Armstrong dropped Astana (Contador is still a member) in favor of a new sponsor– American company Radio Shack.

Now training for the 2010 Tour, Lance has been racing around the world, and of course training here in the scenic Hill Country, as Team Radio Shack kicks the cycling season into high gear. Here’s a quick refresher on the seven-time Tour de France winner, who you might occasionally catch on one of the sun-soaked roads outside of town:

  • Armstrong spent the last few days here in town finishing up some training on the beautiful country roads that race across Central Texas.
  • Armstrong then headed to Europe as Team Radio Shack battled in the Volta Algarve (Portugal)– the team finished with two riders, Tiago Machado and Levi Leipheimer, in the top 5.
  • And back in mid-February, Armstrong, while out in Hawaii, turned quite a few heads with an impromptu time trial challenge issued to triathelete Chris Lieto.

… Even more surprising, Lieto responded, and the two faced off in what is believed to be the first ever Twitter-organized bike race. Triathelete Magazine reported that Armstrong won– but only by nine seconds. Head over to the link above if you want to read Lieto’s interesting interview about it.