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Great Texas Bicycling Guides

By Sandra Evans
Bicycling guides provide you with an easy way to learn about the best routes in the state, both urban and rural. And because they contain route maps and advice, they are great to take with you on rides for reference. With a guide, will be able to learn what to expect before you hit the road.
Listed below are five of the most popular Texas bicycling route guides:
1.    Best Bike Rides Texas- Written by Andy White, this book contains biking routes from all over the state. Route lengths range from 15 to 100 miles, making this book perfect for cyclists of all levels. Informational route maps are included. Available at Barnes and Nobles and Amazon.com.

2.    Mountain Biking Texas- Written by Christopher D. Hess, this guide also contains maps for suggested routes throughout the state of Texas for all cycling levels. Also included is insider advice about each region’s trails, historic background information, trip preparation and trail ratings for physical and technical difficulty. Available at Barnes and Nobles and Amazon.com.

3.    Mountain Biking Central Texas- Written by Rick and Becky Youman, this guide is unique, because it includes directions to each route’s nearest swimming or refueling spot. With over 50 trails, this book contains bicycling options for all levels with maps and descriptions. Available at Amazon.com.

4.    Mountain Bike! Texas and Oklahoma- Written by Chuck Cypert, this guide contains great bike routes in Texas and Oklahoma. Because this book carries a more conversational and humorous tone, you will find it both educational and enjoyable to read. Contains historical side notes for each trail. Available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.

5.    Hiking and Backpacking Trails of Texas: Walking, Hiking and Biking Trails for All Ages and Abilities- Written by Mickey Little, this book contains detailed information for hiking, backpacking and biking through the Texas rural landscape. Though it is not specifically a bicycling guide, it is a good beginner guide for hikers who enjoy occasional biking. Available at Barnes and Nobles and Amazon.com.

Sandra Evans owns the website Sports Management Degrees. In her leisure time, she enjoys playing tennis and writing.

Offline in Tuscaloosa, AL

I have been not able to update Texbiker.net since last Monday (8/8/2011) because I was on a church mission trip at Tuscaloosa. During the day we worked on two Habitat for Humanity homes in the Holt section of Tuscaloosa. At night we stayed at Camp Coker in Coker, AL about 15 miles northwest of Tuscaloosa. Unfortunately the camp had marginal cell phone service and no internet so I was not able to keep up with much of anything other than what my cell phone downloaded while I was working. I am back online now and over the next couple of days I will try to catch up.

The pictures below show the area and where we stayed.

Camp Coker - Where we stayed at night

 

The building we stayed in at Camp Coker. Note the metal siding. No cell phone signal.

 

Habitat for Humanity worksite and some damaged homes in the background.

 

Habitat home we worked on. There was a small and large one. This is the small one. They hope to move in by 9/1/2011.

 

Habitat home number two. No date set that I know of.
We passed this home each day on the way to the worksites.

Each of the 13,000 BP MS-150 riders has a story

Carolyn Gomez is riding the 180 miles from Houston to Austin — for the first time — this year.  Though never a cyclist, she was inspired to do this challenging ride by her mother Irene Valdez, who courageously has faced her life with MS for the past 14 years.  Her mother now uses a wheelchair for her personal mobility.

Carolyn, a member of Team Sun & Ski, wrote an essay, “To my mother from her daughter,” that was selected by the MS Society, Lone Star Chapter, for its 25th anniversary MS-150 “Art Bike” project.  She was one of 25 essayists selected to have a bicycle decorated in this program.

Gomez is shown here with her four-year-old daughter, Trinity
Gomez is shown here with her four-year-old daughter, Trinity

I had the opportunity to interview Carolyn by email.

Texbiker: What motivated you to choose this year’s ride?

Carolyn: My mother, who suffers from MS

Texbiker: Please describe your bicycle. (Brand, model, components, etc.)

Carolyn: Diamondback  Divine

Texbiker: Do you have any favorite bike stuff?

Carolyn: My favorite bike stuff is my biking shorts. lol

Texbiker: What do you think the ride will be like?

Carolyn: Challenging. But with me keeping my family and my mom on my mind, that should be enough motivation I would need.

Texbiker: Have you visited any of the route?

Carolyn: Personally,  No I have not visited the route yet, but I have been doing online research on the location of the ride

Texbiker: Other than the bike trails what training rides have you done?

Carolyn: I have been riding with my co-workers, who will also be riding in the BP MS-150 at the San Jacinto battle grounds.  I also rode the Tour De Houston (sponsored by Sun & Ski Sports) which was really fun.

Texbiker: How many miles have you ridden in preparation?

Carolyn: When I ride with my co-workers we have been riding at least 20 miles on Sundays, or when I ride the hike and bike trail I ride at least 10 miles a day.  I wish I could ride longer, but with a 4-year-old daughter waiting for me at the sitter’s, I have to cut my ride short (I need to pick up my daughter at least by 6:30 p.m.)

Texbiker: How will you spend Saturday night?

Carolyn: Call my family to let them know I made it okay to La Grange, thank God for blessing with a safe ride and pray for day 2 to be another safe ride for me and others who are riding. Then after that maybe getting a massage provided by Team Sun & Ski and relax and sleep in the Team Sun & Ski tent.

Texbiker: Do you think day 2 will be different from day 1?

Carolyn: Most definitely day two will be totally different from day one.   I am pretty sure it would be a little bit more challenging physically and mentally, but again with my mom on my mind and me knowing that my family is waiting for me at the finish line, it would be all worth it.

Texbiker: When you finish what will you do first?

Carolyn: Whether I am walking, crawling, or riding across the finish line, I will find my family and have a moment to cry. I will cry because not only have I achieved another major milestone in my lifetime (the other two are getting married and giving birth to my daughter), but I will cry knowing that I helped my mother and others get to the next step on having a cure for MS. Then I will call my mother at home to let her know that we did it.

Thank you, Carolyn. Best wishes for a safe and successful ride.