Hundreds ofmiles of dirt, caliche, crushed granite and paved bike trails wind throughTexas State Parks, offering both easy and challenging rides in safe and scenicenvironments. February is a great time to join a scheduled ride, tackle anambitious biking event, or better yet, take an unguided cruise on your ownschedule with your family and friends. Houstonians will not need to travel far to get involved.
Stephen F.Austin State Park in San Felipe, 30 minutes west of Houston, will host aguided mountain biking tour every Saturday in February. Bring your mountainbike or rent one from the park for a moderately challenging ride. A helmet andsome experience with off-road biking are necessary. Each tour is limited to 15riders, so call (979) 885-3613 to reserve a spot.
Anotherfavorite park near Houston is Brazos Bend State Park, and they are the featuredvideofrom Texas Parks and Wildlife Department this month. There are many more parksto view with this video roundup ofwhat it's like to bike in a variety of state park settings.
To find outskill ratings and trail descriptions for parks near or far from Houston, youcan visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Biking activitypage. Last year, dozens of miles of newbike-friendly trails were added to an already extensive state park trail systemin such places as McKinney Falls State Park in Austin and Palo Duro CanyonState Park in Canyon. Near Gonzales, Palmetto State Park has added roughly twomiles of trails, featuring bridges and boardwalks, to its existing three milesof trails.
For thethird consecutive year, cyclists from across the state will gather Feb. 14-16for three days of rides in Big Bend Ranch State Park and Big Bend NationalPark, and on the Lajitas trail system in far west Texas. The Chihuahuan DesertBike Fest headquarters will be at the Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa, whichwill offer camping and social activities, includingswimming, hula-hooping, live music, and the Austin Bike Zoo. Visit the Desert Sportswebsite to pre-register and find out more.
Highlightingthe event's agenda again will be the signature, 58-mile EPIC ride (asdesignated by the International Mountain Biking Association) scheduled forSaturday, Feb. 16, onto which bikers can elect to extend an additional 12 miles(covering 70 miles total). There's also a two-day EPIC ride option, with anovernight stay and meals at Big Bend Ranch State Park's Sauceda bunkhouse.
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