Since 1971, Freewheeling Bicycles has furnished cyclists with bikes from such notable names as Gary Fisher, Trek, and Electra as well as complementary parts and accessories. Before hopping on their two-wheeled transport and riding off into the sunset or silhouetting against the moon, riders can take advantage of a free tune-up offered with every purchase of a new bike and slide into apparel such as jerseys, shorts, and outerwear. The staff also lets customers test-ride bikes in their sizable parking lot.
For a city so far from the coast, Austin has a lot of waterways. Austin Paddle Sports takes advantage of this, setting up shop on Lady Bird Lake in Downtown Austin. There, they offer sales and rentals of stand-up paddleboards from the likes of Riviera Paddlesurf and Quickblade Paddles.
For those new to the quickly growing sport, Austin Paddle Sports uses entry-level stabilized, user-friendly equipment for beginners, and specialized displacement hull race boards for the experienced paddler. Staff is always available for a few tips to keep everyone upright and dry.
Since its founding in 2008, SUP ATX has helped shift the status of stand-up paddleboarding from "something surfers do en route to huge, far-off waves" to "sport unto itself." Though their online store and showrooms stock plenty of paddles and board accessories, the crown jewel of their stores has always been the boards themselves. Here's how they're made at SUP ATX's factory.
Phase One: The Foam. Belt saws cut giant hunks of EPS, or high-grade foam, into planks.
Phase Two: The Spine. Workers install a balsa wood rocker down the middle of each plank. This adds rigidity to the board, much the same way firm a solid pepperoni core adds rigidity to pizza.
Phase Three: The Shape. Workers hand-shape the board into a symmetrical, gently oval shape suited for paddling through ocean waves, river waters, and everything in between.
Phase Four: The Color. After applying SUP ATX logos and a coat of color, the team protects the paint with epoxy resin, fiberglass fabric, and another coat of resin. The resin has to set for a full day.
Phase Five: The Final Touches. Workers install add-ons like leash plugs and handles, and sand each board down to its final, dolphin-smooth finish. A final coat of resin gives the board extra shine.
From Ironman athletes to recreational riders, owner Jack Murray and the team at Jack & Adam's Bicycles have the expertise to help customers meet their needs. Staff members go above and beyond to make sure that each customer is satisfied with his or her bike. The shop also allows customers to take their new bike on a two- to three-day test ride to ensure compatibility, and it stocks a wide variety of bike components and accessories to enhance the journey.
Barton Springs Bike Rental outfits fun seekers for bike rides across Austin's historic pathways and scenic landscapes. The shop dispenses single-speed beach cruisers to riders along with lights, baskets, locks, and access to roadside assistance in the event of a flat tire or never-ending parade of ducklings crossing the road. The crew's routes include the 90-minute Peace, Love & Zilker Tour—an easy jaunt past sights such as the Auditorium Shores, the old railroad bridge, and Barton Springs Pool—and the Congress Avenue Bat Tour, an evening trek to witness the world's largest colony of urban bats. Guides narrate the history and significance of local sights, giving guests plenty of opportunities to stop and snap pictures or refill their bicycle’s feedbag.
EpicSUP's commitment to sustainability can be seen the moment you arrive at the company headquarters—a floating dock on Lady Bird Lake. The roofed structure is made of wood reclaimed from century-old farmhouses and barns, and this eco-friendly flourish carries over to the outpost's selection of responsibly crafted ecoBoards. The paddleboards are issued in standard, touring, and racing models, and come with a paddle for propelling yourself across the water and staving off all the fish trying to catch a free ride. In addition to rentals and sales, EpicSUP also offers lessons with coaches certified by the Academy of Surf Instructors.