Twilight Twenty (20 miles)
During shorter days in fall and winter, local cyclists frequently ride this twenty mile route after dark (with lights, of course). Hence the name, “
Great in the daytime as well, this route offers Hill Country scenery and a few climbs. Although venturing only a short distance from town, the ex-urban landscapes on view certainly delight. Perfect for those desiring a shorter route, or for those limited by daylight (and without the constitution to ride in the dark).
Don't let the back-tracking of this “
loop” turn you off. The two-way section makes a wide vital artery to superior roads lying outside the Fredericksburg metropolitan area. For example, Hayden Ranch Rd. exemplifies many of the bicycle-friendly roads found in this and neighboring counties. On this loop, cyclists need not venture far to experience the glory of the Cycling Capital of Texas.
This route begins at the Marktplatz in downtown Fredericksburg, Texas. Find this main town square located on the North side of Main Street (also HWY 290/HWY 87) at the intersection of S. TX16. (North of this intersection, S. TX16 becomes N. Adams St.)
When groups meet here, generally they form up at the facility's northeast corner, where W. Austin St. intersects N. Adams St., which is not too far from the restrooms and off busy Main St. (Infrequently these restrooms may be closed for festival setup; find alternatives two blocks southeast at Fredericksburg's Visitor's Center).
The top and tail of this route feature wide Fredericksburg lanes, presenting a good opportunity to take in the local architecture. For those eager for more, the grid-like layout of the heart of town suggest improvised route modifications would be sufficiently easy for even a newcomer.
Regardless of your in-town meandering, we recommend that you ride along Bowie St. and then Post Oak Rd. for your escape from town. This proven route quickly transports you to our scenic suburbs. Turn right on Live Oak Rd. for a straight trip to the countryside. Turn right where this road T's into Upper Live Oak Rd.
Climb the slope toward US 290. Along this stretch you might look to your left for a black cell tower on a high ridge; this route will travel through the shadow of that tower.
Turn left at US 290. You cross a wide (four lanes) road with fast traffic, so be careful. Ride the ample shoulder for less than a mile and look for Hayden Ranch Rd., on the left. Make the turn, again minding the potentially fast-moving traffic. Also, pay attention to the cattle guard that greets you here.
The delightful twisty sections of Hayden Ranch Rd. eventually climb, plataeu, and then turn. A short flat through a generous homestead signals your first, and most severe slope on this route. Hayden One makes a gallop straight up the slope, passing under the aforementioned cell tower. The steady incline favors a tempo climber--riders dictate pace changes here, not the slope. Post peak, the road winds and then falls down a somewhat sharp decline. Pay attention here because you face a sharp right turn at the bottom of the descent, and the partially obscured view ahead makes matters worse.
Having negotiated the turn, enjoy a flat straight and then a few rolling humps before travelling through an area of small ranches. Soon you face Hayden Two, the second climb of note on this route. Less challenging than Hayden One, we find this hill has more character and better scenery than its sibling. Toward its peak it rolls and weaves through a few more ranches and then yields a great view to the south. Riding over a few cattle guards and rolling by more than a few sheep, the road drops gently to the intersection with RR 2093 (Tivydale Rd.).
At this point riders might consider turning around and riding Hayden Ranch Rd. again. Having just seen it, you will know how much of the 4.3 miles you want to tackle again. Some will simply re-trace their pedal strokes all the way back to town.
RR 2093 falls low on our list of favorite Gillespie County cycling roads. However, it leads to many very desirable roads, so we endure it frequently, as do many other cyclists. Accustomed local motorists tend to give a wide berth, but they appreciate single file riding and cyclists' courtesy in general. Our beefs with this road include a less-than-ample shoulder and a high speed limit. Traffic volume slots somewhat below those two primary issues, but that could change because this road was extended in 2008 to create a Fredericksburg bypass.
Returning to town your exposure to RR 2093 encompasses about 3 ½ miles. Be careful on the bridge over Live Oak Creek. You benefit from no shoulder here and the lanes are narrow. Two cars and one bike should not try to pass each other here! A look back at the traffic approaching from the rear before you cross is all it takes to gauge the crossing. With no vehicles in sight you should have little problem, unless your bike travels extra slowly or a car appears traveling extra quickly.
Shortly after the bridge the road bends to the left, climbs, and then, just as it begins a rightward bend, you turn left at Upper Live Oak Rd. We advise comprehenisive vehicular awareness before turning!
With RR 2093 behind you, enjoy the scenery along placid Upper Live Oak Rd. A few interesting homesteads lie along the road. Soon, you return to your former tire tracks on Live Oak Rd. Turn right.
For much of its distance traveling in this direction, Live Oak Rd. presents a slight incline -- Live Oak Wilt. When local packs of riders traverse this section, invariably, the stronger riders mass at the front and set a strong tempo. We always watch the weaker riders to see if the shelter from a headwind will offset the challenge of climbing the slight grade. Except with an elevated headwind condiion, the pack usually strings out along here.
Watch for the left turn at Post Oak Rd. and be careful at this intersection. Cars coming from behind you have limited visibility because they crest a slight hill, so if you do not have a clear path through the intersection we advise staying to the right side of the road until you do.
Return to town on the familiar Post Oak Rd. and Bowie St. Turn right at Creek St., which takes you by many proud little cottages to the stoplight at TX 16. Cross here and carry on to Lincoln St., where you turn left. Lincoln St. takes you across Main St., with the benefit of another traffic light, and then delivers you to the intersection of Lincoln St. and Austin St. (the excellent Fredericksburg Visitor's Center sits at this intersection.) Turn left and you ride just a few short blocks back to the Marktplatz.