As the host of a variety of film, culture and music festivals throughout the year, most notably SXSW, Austin, Texas is a key beacon of culture in the United States. The city almost single-handedly subverts the engrained, outmoded image of the Lone Star state, which many non-Texans often associate with cowboys, gun-totin’ and oil. Well set that limited view aside for a moment, because Austin is a very different type of place. The city is a joy to explore on foot or, better yet, on two wheels.
You can take many different types of tour of Downtown Austin and along the banks of the Colorado River by bike or electric bike. Tours follow a broad array of itineraries and departure times, durations and narrations, so it really comes down to what appeals to you most. Here are five of the best Austin bicycle and e-bike tours, taking into account additional factors too, like the quality of the bikes, the reviews of previous guests, and the value for money, so you can find the right tour for you.
FROM $59/per person
One of the great things about visiting Austin is that there’s so much green space in the center of the city on either side of the Colorado River. Zilker Park is the perfect example of this, with its sprawling fields, woodland, botanical gardens and calm paths, perfect for a bike ride. This two-hour tour then follows the Colorado River, passing by a boardwalk that offers some of Austin’s best cityscape viewing. The architectural highlight of this tour is on the other side of the river: the Texas State Capitol. Take some time to explore from the inside and outside, before returning to the river. This tour runs twice daily.
From $54/ per person
The Colorado River widens into what is known as Lady Bird Lake as it passes through Austin. It may come as no surprise to learn that there are pleasant, leafy cycle trails along the water’s edge. But one thing that makes Austin such a special city is forward-thinking urban design touches like the special cycle routes and pedestrian bridge crossing the river. This bike tour explores riverside Austin, visiting sights like the Old Railroad Bridge, the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue, and all the other highlights along the Lady Bird Lake bike trail. Daily tours.
From $70/ per person
For visitors to Austin who are not well accustomed to the demands of cycling, but who’d very much like to experience this great city in the best way possible: by bike, there are now electric bike tours available. These excellent e-bikes are designed exactly like a normal bike but use modern technology to assist riders, so that pedaling is easier, particularly on hills. That way you can get some fresh air without worrying about working up a sweat. This three-hour tour visits the Rainey St entertainment district, Texas State Capitol and the boardwalks along Lady Bird Lake. Daily tours.
From $47/ per person
Perhaps a slight cheat on the general theme of the bike tour of Austin (but then again, if it moves when you pedal it, you’re still cycling) is this fun and more relaxed pedicab brewery tour. Over a couple of hours, you’ll get the chance to visit three craft breweries, try a tasting flight at each, and get to see the city all at the same time. But the best part of this excellent value tour, besides the beer of course, is that you don’t even have to pedal if you don’t want. Your guide will take care of the hard work while you sit back and raise a toast to exploration: the effortless kind. Daily tours run hourly from morning until evening.
From $83/ per person
Grab your helmet, grab your steampunk goggles, grab your badass, fat-tire electric bike and get out onto the streets of Austin. This cool and extremely popular e-bike tour is certainly the most stylish way to get around Austin. All gear rental is included in the price of this tour. The mini bikes, as they’re called, reach a top speed of 20mph (32kmph) and hold up to two people, in case you’d rather let somebody else do the pedaling. During the tour you’ll visit many of Austin’s top sights and have plenty of fun doing it. Daily tours.