Arrowhead Bicycles is stationed only a few pedals away from the Southern Tier bicycle route that stretches from Florida to California, issuing customers a tantalizing challenge on their way out the door. The store itself is a hub that local and visiting cyclists swing into for new accessories, an impromptu tune-up, or simply an air-conditioned oasis where they can rest their feet, refill their water bottles, and hop online to check weather alerts and their favorite cycling blogs. Customers in the market for a new steed choose from models by industry mainstays such as Fuji and Scott, which were made for mountain, road, ramp, and spacious-condo travel. Meanwhile, the store’s stable of skilled technicians breathes new life into serviceable bikes with tune-ups, repairs, installations, and washes.
Austin Water Bikes fulfills amphibious fantasies with a fleet of hybrid bicycle-kayaks, called water bikes, that glide along liquid surfaces at speeds of up to 7 miles per hour. These beginner-friendly vessels are safe and almost impossible to capsize due to their kayak-catamaran design and unflinching optimism, making them ideal for aquanauts of all ages.
Set against the Austin skyline, Lady Bird Lake is the result of a beautification project led by former first lady Lady Bird Johnson. Its waters form a scenic setting for participants of water-bike rentals to watch bats take flight from the Congress Avenue Bridge or sunsets paint their colors across the sky. Additionally, Austin Water Bikes' staff uses the lake to lead senior spin classes, team-building workshops, and motivational seminars for freshwater mermen.
Austin Cycle Camp's studio is the sweaty seam where science meets spandex. For the first part of the test, you'll receive a complete body-composition analysis, parsing out your ratio of fat to lean muscle mass and the likeliness of razor-sharp claws springing out of your knuckles. Then you'll undergo a sub-max VO2 test to measure your body's ability to process oxygen and fuel exertion; this is a major indicator of your overall fitness level. While you crank out a 90-minute workout, the experienced staff will monitor your heart rate and record patterns and aberrations. When you're done, you'll sit down with an experienced trainer and hash out the results. They'll help you interpret your body's signals and apply your individual attributes to a straightforward, effective training regime.
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.
The Florida Running Company, a store completely staffed by runners, finds people the fittingest shoes using a process similar to the one speed daters use to find future mates—taking measurements, assessing stance, and playing back video of them running on a treadmill. The shop carries top running-shoe brands such as Asics Gel Kayano ($140) and Nike Air Pegasus ($85). Runners can complement their kicks with Nike Tempo track shorts ($28) or swaddle their feet in a pair of Balega socks ($10), as soft and comforting as group hug from every grandmother on the block.
The name is a call to action. The yellow wristband is ubiquitous. And the fight never lets up, because for Team LIVESTRONG, "this fight is personal." The organization's first fundraising bike race took place in 1997. Since then, Team LIVESTRONG has been tireless in its efforts to spread awareness, fund research, and empower the global cancer-survivor community.
At the annual LIVESTRONG Challenge Austin, cyclists of all skill levels take that fight to the streets in a pulse-pounding push towards eliminating the condition. The race departs from downtown as a deluge of yellow-clad philanthropists peddle for the good of mankind, choosing courses ranging from 20 to 100 miles in length. A post-event party refreshes depleted warriors with good cheer and libations.