I’ve missed my mountain bike. It’s stayed in the shed too often lately, even if it is so I can spend quality time with my new canoe and get my running legs back.
But I took it out for spin recently at Slaughter Creek Preserve, which I always recommend to folks looking for fun but not too intimidating terrain. (Full disclosure: I fell off my bike on this trail once and wound up at a minor emergency center with a bloodied knee and elbow. I’m a klutz.)
The preserve features 5 miles of winding multi-use trail, built by the Austin Ridge Riders, that take cyclists up gentle hillsides and down cascading steps of limestone rock. I like it because unlike the Barton Creek Greenbelt, where I have to hop on and off my bike constantly, I can stay in the saddle for most (but not all) of this ride. Skilled riders will have no trouble.
If you go, keep an eye out for equestrians, trail runners and hikers. They’re all allowed to use the trail, but in the opposite direction of mountain bikers. If you encounter a horse, pull off and let it pass; try not to spook it.
I didn’t see a horse this time, but I did flush half a dozen deer from the underbrush on my first pass.
The singletrack trail cuts through a 100-acre swath owned by the City of Austin and set aside for water quality. The trail is open from dawn to dusk daily, but closes after rain to prevent erosion. (Check here for closure information.) You have to drive through an automatic gate to get to the trailhead, which is next to the old Trautwein homestead.
The preserve is located at 9901 Farm-to-Market 1826.