February 9, 2016 – Sunny, 75 degrees
Miles Today: 43
Miles to Date: 11,556
States to Date: 28
I encountered every quadrant of the city in pursuit of interesting people, and found them in all quarters. Many freeways feed center city from the north; I crossed several to reach Austin’s east side, the traditionally industrial, Black, and Hispanic precinct. Of course I found a great Mexican market and panaderia.
Just beyond city limits, Alan Graham, recently named Austinite of the Year, is building a community of tiny houses and RV’s for formerly homeless people through Mobile Loaves and Fishes: one of the most inspiring visits of my trip.
I wound back to town along Walnut Creek Trail. Throughout the near East Side the minority population is being squeezed out by rampant gentrification. On the south side of Colorado River (not the big one that flows to the Pacific, the small one that bisects Austin) I meandered through Travis Heights to visit Tanya Hall, CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, an innovative multi-platform publisher.
Pedaling back north, I bypassed the Whole Foods megaplex to provision at a new Trader Joe’s, continued past the Capital and UT to Hyde Park. My host Cynthia assembled a group of lively thinkers to discuss how will we live tomorrow.
Austin may be the best cycling city in Texas, but that ain’t saying much. During my three weeks in Texas I’ve endured more honks and heckling than the rest of my trip combined. It continues here. Riding north on Guadalupe, along the UT campus, a group of guys whizzed by and spritzed me with a water bottle. What could I do but laugh? After all, I recently bought a squirt gun to distract dogs that cross my path. A cyclist in Texas is nothing more than a wayward dog.