Community: The University of Texas Landmarks Bike Tour

Monochrome for Austin by Nancy Rubins on the University of Texas Campus

Monochrome for Austin by Nancy Rubins on the University of Texas Campus

One of the best parts about being in the cycling community is just that-community. Cycling brings people of all walks of life and interests together. Here at Austin Bike Tours and Rentals we have the pleasure of collaborating with many groups of people, local and beyond. Sometimes that means putting together custom tours for large corporate groups or small families, supporting local children's bike safety programs and the Austin Yellow Bike Project. But sometimes, once every Spring, we get to help bring the UT Austin Landmarks bike tour to life!

What is UT Austin Landmarks? The University of Texas at Austin started up an Art in Public Spaces program in 2005 with a large loan of art works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Since then, they have expanded their collection every year with 2D, 3D and 4D (video) installations across campus. They now have more than 40 acclaimed works of art enhancing the 433 acres UT calls home. In a city brimming with its own Public Arts collection of 200+ works, and an abundance of museums including UT's own Blanton Museum of Art, the Landmarks collection is the cherry on top of it all. 

It is an absolute pleasure to team up with Landmarks once again for their annual docent led bike tour on April 2nd at 11am.  This is a once a year opportunity with limited space and you can sign up through our website. Have your own bike? Sign up and join the tour for free! Need a bike? Austin Bike Tours and Rentals has bikes available at $20 each for this 2 hour, 5 mile, leisurely, fun and informative ride. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to departure.  Can't make the date this year? That's ok! We always have Landmarks maps on hand for self guided tours. Landmarks also takes reservations for walking tours year round. Looking to round things out with a little architectural history? Try our Art and Architecture tour. 

As a community, Austin thrives on art and cycling. We look forward to you joining us.

We Suggest: Boteco Brazilian Food Truck

Coxhinhas and fresh squeezed mango juice

Coxhinhas and fresh squeezed mango juice

Austin has many food trucks through its hip and musical streets. Each one successfully exhibiting a tremendous amount of cultural influences. I’ve tried many different food trucks over the course of ten years and I am always surprised by the quality that can be delivered from the inside of an old airstream. Last week, I noticed a food truck I hadn’t seen before next to my frequent coffee stop on east 7th street. The truck is called Boteco, and the owner is a native Brazilian with a mission to bring the “laid-back Brazilian vibe to Austin!” This is exactly what is written on their website and what a Boteco truly is. Boteco, meaning warehouse, is a night life hang out spot created for lovers and friends that are looking for cold beers, tasty appetizers, and a casual atmosphere. They are infamous in Brazil and located all over just as Starbucks is in the United States. Being half Brazilian myself, I knew I had to try it out. 

Days later, I rode my bike over on my lunch break with two friends and we stood at the trailer window ready to order. Brazilian tunes were playing, my foot was tapping along with the beat, and the server was friendly and personable just as Brazilians typically are. I was already feeling the laid back vibes. I ordered the coxinhas and a glass of freshly squeezed mango juice. To provide some background, coxinhas are a traditional and classic pastry snack of Brazil. They are shaped like a tear drop about the size of a tennis ball, filled with shredded spiced chicken, covered in a sort of potato flour, and then fried until crispy on the outside and extra savory on the inside. The mango juice was perfect too. There is nothing more Brazilian than a freshly squeezed juice made with tropical fruit. It was such a reward after the Texas sun left me parched on my bike ride over. My two friends and I ordered different dishes. Jason ordered the Picanha Grelhada plate with traditional Brazilian rice, beans, topped with farofa, with sliced grilled picanha beef, and assorted green vegetables. Kelsey, vegetarian, ordered the cheese pastel (like a fried cheese empanada) and the yucca fries. As we ate, laughed, and chatted there were small pauses of “Mmms” and “Wows” at the amazing food that we slowly enjoyed over a brief lunch break. It was as if we were just passing through the heart of Brazil for lunch. The sun shining in January as it does, it might as well be Brazil!  If you’re looking for an Austin meets Brazil type cuisine, be sure to check out the Boteco on E7th for a unique street food treat.

1403 East 7nth Street Austin, Texas

www.botecoatx.com

A Guide's Perspective: Our Hannah's Thoughts on Riding with You

It's that time of year again where the cycle starts anew and I find myself reflecting on the last cycle...of bicycles! Ok ok, I'll try not to peddle you any jokes about pedaling and just stick to the highlights. It was a really fantastic year in the life of an Austin bike tour guide. Here are a few of my personal highs. 

 

That one time I took this cool family from Colorado on an Easter weekend activity hop.

That one time I took this cool family from Colorado on an Easter weekend activity hop.

Showing the kiddos the 9nth Street BMX Park

Showing the kiddos the 9nth Street BMX Park

Hope Outdoor Art Gallery

Hope Outdoor Art Gallery

Family Tour dying Easter Eggs at the Historic Neil Cochran House

Family Tour dying Easter Eggs at the Historic Neil Cochran House

My favorite bike selfie on all time on the pedestrian bridge!

My favorite bike selfie on all time on the pedestrian bridge!

When Lola was the most inspiring person, learning how to ride a bike for the first time at 25, and giving me the opportunity to teach her. It's so cool to be able to pass along knowledge or skills I've taken for granted.

When Lola was the most inspiring person, learning how to ride a bike for the first time at 25, and giving me the opportunity to teach her. It's so cool to be able to pass along knowledge or skills I've taken for granted.

When I met a 9 year old girl named Hannah who loooooves Willy Nelson

When I met a 9 year old girl named Hannah who loooooves Willy Nelson

AND I got to take these rad ladies for margaritas the same day!

AND I got to take these rad ladies for margaritas the same day!

When our mechanic Sarah and I had the same birthday! (We still do, and always will ❤)

When our mechanic Sarah and I had the same birthday! (We still do, and always will ❤)

Perhaps the most countries I ever squeezed on one tour?

Perhaps the most countries I ever squeezed on one tour?

SISTERS! (Maybe not fair, sisters are always my favorite)

SISTERS! (Maybe not fair, sisters are always my favorite)

When non-stop studying paid off and I was able to roll out my first Art & Architecture tour. Thanks ladies!

When non-stop studying paid off and I was able to roll out my first Art & Architecture tour. Thanks ladies!

Aaaand I started taking out the Craft Beer Tours!

Aaaand I started taking out the Craft Beer Tours!

Thanks for such a great year y'all! Can't wait for all the adventures of 2017!

We Suggest: Slake Cafe

slake cafe

Slake: (verb) to Satisfy or Quench one’s Hunger or Thirst

Looking for a good reuben?  Or perhaps you’d like a little curry?  Maybe it’s early, and you want some biscuits and gravy!  What’s that?  You want all of the above?  Well, why didn’t you say so?  We like Slake Café – it’s the perfect spot when you’re indecisive about the kind of food you want, and all you know is you want something good.  Nestled at the bottom of a parking garage on the corner of 7th and Brazos, this hidden gem has been around for just over 2 years, serving up piping hot sandwiches, tacos, and entrees to downtown denizens.  The recently-expanded restaurant also boasts some tasty pastries and cookies, all on display in the case where you order your food.  They also happen to have an expansive selection of drinks, and daily specials on macaroni, curry, entrees, and more.  Every item on their menu is priced under $10, making this a fantastic place to eat on a short budget.

Slake makes everything possible in house, and strives to give back, with charitable donations to local causes and sponsorship of well water projects for Water to Thrive in Ethiopia.  When we last spoke with them, we found out they also donate food to the hostel across the street, to ensure less food waste.

The restaurant is open Monday – Friday, 7a – 10p.  Breakfast is served 7a – 11a, and lunch follows that until 4p.

Austin, Texas: Bike Ride Destination

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We founded our company on the fact that Austin, Texas is a great city for a bike ride. With new bike paths being built every day and a fairly flat terrain, riders of all levels can zip around town in relative ease and comfort. The online publication, Buzzfeed, even named it one of the top cities to see by bike. And our crown jewel of bike paths, The Butler Trail, which loops around Lady Bird Lake, was named by USA Today as one of the top urban bike paths in the county. 

Come visit our shop in downtown Austin and let set you up on one of our great city-bikes from a local company, Fairdale Bikes and point you in the direction of some good times. You're going to have a blast.

 

 

We Suggest: Migas at Cisco's Bakery

Migas with fajita from Cisco's Bakery

Migas with fajita from Cisco's Bakery

If you're not from around here, you may have never heard of a delicious Tex-Mex dish called Migas. From the spanish word meaning "crumbs", this dish of eggs, scrambled with pico de gallo, pieces of tortilla chips and topped with cheese is a staple at breakfast tables in Central Texas. And nobody does this dish in town better than Cisco's bakery. Be sure and ask for the homemade biscuits on the side.

Cisco's was founded in 1948 by Rudy "Cisco" Cisneros. For nearly 70 years, the restaurant has been run by him, his sons and his son's sons. It's one of the local spots that have stood the test of time and is our favorite spot for breakfast, hands down. It's the type of place where you can see senators, landscapers, cowboys and hippies all sit down for Tex-Mex homestyle breakfasts and lunches.

It's open from 7am-2:30pm daily and is located at 1511 E. 6th Street, just a few blocks east of I-35.

Meet the New Fleet: The Fairdale Daybird

Bicycle Tourism Austin

We create our adventures with the local experience in mind, so we are thrilled to now be able to offer our customers bikes from a local company. The Fairdale Daybird is the perfect adventure machine for experiencing the city in both comfort and style. We call them "the easiest bike you'll ever ride." 

We equip these three-speed comfort bikes with a lock, helmet, bell, compass, water bottle cage, rack for your gear and lights.  Fenders and chain guards will help keep you and your clothes clean while you ride. This bike has what you need.

The folks over at Fairdale are some good people who make some great bikes. Check out the video they made about the Daybird.



We Suggest: Cowboy Boots and Flip Flops from Rickshaw

Downtown Austin

Alvie and Clay of Rickshaw Boots are our neighbors downtown and some super nice guys. They sell their own line of high quality cowboy boots and flip flops out of a remodeled Airstream trailer. If that's not about as Austin as it gets, I don't know what is. Go give them a visit. They carry both men and women models, will take the time to make sure your fit is right and will even ship them right to your door. 

I'll let them introduce themselves:

"If you love western boots and leather flip-flops, you have to check out Austin’s newest brand, Rickshaw. Launched during SXSW, Rickshaw sells boots and flip-flops direct to its customers out of a vintage Airstream trailer on 3rd and Congress. That low overhead model gives locals and visitors the opportunity to purchase Austin’s favorite footwear at a very affordable price.

The brand is also giving back to Austin in a unique way. They started an initiative called "Buy a Pair, Grow a Pear" and a percentage of all Rickshaw sales go toward growing and distributing organic fruits and vegetables in Austin, while educating our local food shelters and families in need on the importance of a nutritious diet. 

Rickshaw is opened Tuesday – Sunday and is located on 3rd and Congress, caddy corner to the J.W. Marriott. You can also shop their website at www.Rickshawboots.com."

Biking is the New Golf

Corporate Team Buidling

Looking for an activity that your includes your whole group, is relaxing, fun and a great way to build camaraderie in a casual setting? Then leave your golf clubs home and let our crew guide you through one of the most beautiful and fun cities to bike that there is. Move over golf, biking is where it's at now.

From CNN Money: "Unlike golf, cycling is the great equalizer. You're the same as the person riding next to you. So it makes you more approachable." read more here.

Over the years, we've planned events for groups of all types. We've served family reunions, annual college-friend weekends, bachelorette and bachelor parties. In the last couple of years, we've started doing corporate team builds for companies like Dell Computers and McAfee Security with rave reviews from the participants. 

Let us put together something for your group that they'll never forget. 

 

We Suggest: Two-Step Lessons from Two Left Foots

Dance Lessons Austin Texas

We've been telling our customers about dance lessons from Two Left Foots for a while now. It's because they're really nice folks who know what they're doing and never forget that it's all about the fun. Plus, what better souvenir to take back home than the Texas Two-Step!? Seriously. It's great fun, good music and time that you'll never forget. 

They teach two lessons a week and they do it for donations! 

From their website:

"Saturdays at 7pm at the White Horse (500 Comal): The first and still the best two-step lessons on the east side, this is a huge beginner-beginner lesson with lots of emphasis on the basics.  Dave Insley plays at 8 so folks can practice their new moovs.

Mondays at 8pm at the Rattle Inn (610 Nueces): We do a beginner lesson with a different beginner/ intermediate turn each week at the Rattle, and we work with a rotating cast of awesome local bands like Anthony Ray Wright and Fingerpistol."

 

 

The Little Bike Shop for Big Adventures

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Thanks for reading our blog. Austin Bike Tours and Rentals was founded in 2011 on the idea that Austin is an amazing city to see on a bike. Our bikes are perfect for a spin around the lake, for a good workout, an afternoon shopping or a night on the town. Our tours are adventures centered around activities and locations that we feel best tell the story of Austin, its residents and their lifestyles. 

Travel is a big investment and it's our privilege to help our customers make the most of it. Our staff are longtime locals who know the city well and will take the time with visitors and locals alike to help find something that they will enjoy. 

Our tiny shop, that we fabricated out of a shipping container, is conveniently located in the heart of downtown right on the main protected bike path. Come grab a bike, take one of our tours or just say hello.

Welcome to Austin!