I’ve Never Taken This Trail

“Yeah, I’ve got a route planned, but we might dip off and take this one trail”. No matter how organized you try to make a friendly, chill ride, sometimes the best thing you can do is take that trail. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you end up walking a hobo path over a twelve foot drop onto limestone but more often than not, you can make due.

Most of the trails here in Austin are very cross-bike friendly. Some are not, but we avoid those for the most part. People say, “get a MTB”, but they’re also the ones driving their cars to do a piece of 5 mile singletrack. You don’t want to ride a MTB out 15 miles on the road, then up a 18% sealed climb before you bomb down a scenic descent. But a cross bike…

When Kyle was in town, I pulled together a little ride with some friends. We spent about 40% of the time on sealed road and 50% on gravel, singletrack or dirt. That missing 10% was on this one “oh shit” hiking trail we poached on a piece of government land. We made it out alive, save for Chris flipping over his bars and one flat tire. John even rode a stock Nature Boy up some very steep faces. It was impressive.

Beers were had and stories were made. Bottom line is, we had a fucking blast and all lived to tell the tale / Instagram it but no Strava for this route. I wanna keep some of it a secret. We ended up doing +/- 40 miles and about 3,500′.

  • Edward Scoble

    Look like you’re doing what the Rough Stuff Fellowship have been doing for decades, check it out;


    “The history of the RSF goes way back to its foundation in 1955, long before anyone had ever heard of Marin County. It was formed by cyclists who wanted to get away from roads and cycle off-road on tracks, and byways.:

  • Richard Smith

    Well that’s one way to wreck your hubs and BB…

    • How’s that? River crossing? It’s fine dude. Bikes don’t dissolve in water, especially if you care for them.

    • Quit being a pussy, go break shit.

    • Hub bearings? Cheap and sealed. Bottom brackets? Cheap and sealed. I don’t see the problem. Phil Wood waterproof grease.

    • my steel road bike is wet at least 30% of its existence. 

  • Nice man.

  • Nice pics, these are the best kinds of rides.  So many un-Strava’ed rides that need to be done!

  • alex daily

    As someone who does advocate “get a MTB” for many reasons, I must insist that while there are some who do it,  there are many more folks involved in the cross country MTB side of things who do not drive 15 miles to hit a single piece of single track. I regularly ride 18 road miles on the mountain bike in order to go hit 20 miles of single track and ride back. A nice hardtail MTB can easily handle a lit bit of road miles and still be enjoyable 

    Most of the folks I know will take occasional trips in the car to go riding, but spend the vast majority of their time on trails within riding distance. Racing aside, as all forms of racing, be it XC, CX, road, or BMX, often require some driving. Perhaps it is just Western Pennsylvania?

  • Maxwell Long

    Love this set! Cross bikes are a great tool for this sort of riding. MTB’s aren’t terrible on the road, and can be more fun off road, but it really depends what you want to enjoy more. They don’t need to be shuttled to the trailhead (even though many people do). Not that I don’t enjoy riding trails on my cross bike..!

  • Antoine Pethers

    Felt like I was along for the ride John, just the sort of terrain I seek-out down here in Auckland on my Cross-Check. 
    Question: How do you carry/access your camera on jaunts like this? I don’t like mine all shook to hell so It’s usually in a small backpack or bumbag (rather than on the bike) but it’s a hassle getting it out to capture a shot.

    • Mine fits in my jersey pocket. Weatherproof T4s are small.

  • Nice set! I think of MTBing in our Austin just a bit different. No shame in riding my True Fab to the trail, then riding said trail before another slog on the road. It’s the basis for The Enchilada Buffet. 

  • CmitchATX

    Yo! I live in Austin. Where tha tits is this?! Cant figure out if its the Greenbelt or not. Gravely ass trails and limestone are too much the norm. Just need a turnoff and i’ll do the rest.