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.
Led by cofounders Dave Appel and Trey Steele, Cycle Camp USA's dedicated community helps riders navigate Austin's paved trails and push one another to extend personal limits and cover new ground. While working with students, Steele shares techniques that placed him among the top five in his age group at the North Carolina Triathlon Series. Avid racer and enthusiastic instructor Allison Atkinson also works with cyclists through CycleFit classes. The comprehensive training curriculum developed by Appel and his staff integrates a balance of core fitness pillars, such as heart rate, endurance, and maintaining speed when being pursued by coyotes on rocket skates. The community also encourages cyclists to test newfound abilities on destination trips, which pit packs of riders against picturesque ribbons of open road.
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.
Spokefly strives to make biking the most efficient way to get around town. Created and maintained by community members, the self-sustaining bike-sharing program harnesses the power of smartphone technology to put idle bikes to work in cities across the U.S. Through the Spokefly app, bike owners can list their unused bikes and earn money based on how often their bike is ridden. Riders, meanwhile, can rent bikes on demand.
After choosing their two-wheeled steed?which will be locked up at a nearby rack?riders simply unlock it, pedal it wherever they'd like, and then re-lock it on another rack. To ensure the process goes smoothly, Spokefly's app also has check-in and check-out features, enabling owners and riders to keep track of which bikes are available and which decided to go AWOL and get a job with the postal service.