It’s no secret that Austin is home to a huge biking community, for both road and mountain. There’s no better way to see a city and find out what it has to offer than on a bicycle. And with miles and miles of bike routes, this especially holds true in Lake Travis.
One such route can give you an excellent overview of the Lake Travis area. The Mansfield Dam Loop is a road ride with several different variations that will take you up and down the hills of west Austin and along the south shore of Lake Travis.
Here’s the breakdown on one of the more popular road rides in Lake Travis.
The Mansfield Dam Loop
There’s a traditional loop that will have you going down the infamous Tumbleweed Hill on 2222. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to hit speeds in the 60 mph range — without a shoulder or bike lane to ride in — this route is for you (may we recommend the Tumbleweed Hill Bypass?). For those of us feeling a bit more conservative, we’ll look at an alternative route.
One of the more popular ride variations will take you along Ranch Road 620 to Anderson Mill Road and through a few subdivisions that will lead out to Jollyville Road. From there, you’ll hop onto 360 down to Bee Cave, over to Highway 71 and back onto 620 to complete the loop. The route is approximately 43 miles.
One of the more notable climbs starts just after going over Mansfield Dam. You’ll want to save some gas for this 2.3 mile 3.4% average grade climb passing Steiner Ranch and hitting the steepest part right before the turn off that will take you to the Oasis.
Choosing where to start is up to you. Clockwise is the safest and preferred direction for this loop. If you like to finish your ride with a cold beer and good food, you’ll have plenty of restaurant choices along the way with options at the Hill Country Galleria and several others in Lakeway and along Ranch Road 620.
How long will it take?
Figuring an average of 15 mph, you’ll want to allow about 3 hours for the normal loop. Add another 30 minutes to an hour for water stops and you should be good. And if you’re charging at a faster average than 15 mph, just go down from there.
When is the best time to ride?
The most popular times to ride are early Saturday and Sunday mornings. You’ll experience a lot less road traffic. And if it’s summertime, a lot less heat! You’ll find plenty of other riders at all levels — and it never hurts to jump on the back of a group of hard charging triathletes to draft for a little while.
Do you want more?
The extra credit route has you taking a turn on Bullick Hollow (known as 2222 on the other side of 620) through Volente on 2769, over to Lime Creek and back onto Anderson Mill Road. This little extra credit will bump up the mileage to 58. It will also bump up your heart rate when you hit the 1/2 mile 9.9% average grade climb on Lime Creek Road. The roads are a lot more narrow and winding along this route. As always, be extra careful out there.
Click here for a full size map of the Mansfield dam loop (with extra credit) from the great folks over at Bicycle Sport Shop. Here are more ride details at MapMyRide.