Thanks, Lady Bird

On the way to church it hit me:  I could take Jennifer to Austin to her “girl party” and take the bike down to the trails along Lady Bird Lake a/k/a Town Lake and Zilker Park. So I raced home from church (gotta admit I ducked right after communion), jumped into my riding togs, attached the bike rack to the trusty Chevy Avalanche and strapped on the Peugeot Triathlon steed for yet another 2-wheeled adventure. “Lady Bird” refers, of course, to Lady Bird Johnson.

I parked at the West Riverside Drive lot near the Zachary Scott Theater and jumped onto the trail. It is mostly fine gravel and not at all “squirrelly” under the narrow road tires. Still, I would have preferred a mountain bike for its wider tire and surer footing.

A beautiful feature of the trail is the sylvan canopy protecting most of it

In places the trail has concrete sections and bridges over gulleys, and in several places crosses Barton Creek. In fact, at one point I got disoriented due to having set my GPS to show the track as “up” instead of North being “up” and was going West when I should have been going East. Fortunately I had marked my starting point on the Garmin Oregon GPS — a habit from hiking.

I was excited to get on this trail. It was there, in part, when I last lived in Austin (circa 1975) but has since been extensively developed. There were quite a few people out walking, running, sweating, huffing and puffing, and riding quite a variety of bikes. I need to have a “warning device” next time though, as it is necessary to let people know you are coming as you overtake a runner or walker. At least you should, although I did not hear anyone else doing it. There were mothers with jogging strollers and fathers with their little sons on tiny bicycles.

Downtown Austin from Lady Bird Lake trail
Paddlers on Barton Creek along Lady Bird trail

The scenery varies from glimpses of downtown Austin to watery vistas along the creek. I pedaled all the way to just below Barton Springs Pool where the freeloaders were enjoying the cold (a constant 68 degrees) water where it exits the pool.  

I think I would enjoy kayaking here as well, as these people obviously were. For part of the ride I ventured out into Zilker Park along its roadway in order to get a bit more of a workout, and to see if possibly the radio controlled airplanes still flew in the park. I had taken my children there in the early 70’s and saw some marvelous craft that would later inspire me to try my hand at RC flying — loved it, but alas, one can have only so many hobbies.

As exercise the outing was marginal but it was a truly enchanting time. The mileage was a mere 4.91 miles, good for 671 calories burned from a heart rate avg/max of 121/148.

So thanks Lady Bird,  for being the inspiration and motivation for this wonderful place.