The bicycle trip from Hollywood Park in north central San Antonio to Gruene was, in a word, outstanding. I started planning for the trip in April and the route I chose turned out to be perfect. Like my previous tours, the experience of riding my bicycle on older, less-traveled roads is a real highlight of the journey. You get from Point A to Point B with less vehicular traffic. You experience views and places you may never have explored while driving your car since travel on four wheels is almost always (unfortunately) focused on how quickly you can to your destination.
As a result, my experience on roads like Old Nacogdoches, Krueger Canyon and Farm to Market 482 was relaxing, scenic and most notably…quiet.
Here are highlights and key observations from my trip:
- Spending time working on a bicycle route using Google Maps and Garmin MapSource was time well spent. The “street view” in Google Maps let me look at roads to get a feel for whether they had shoulders, had narrow lanes, etc.
- With the exception of hills along Loop 1604 in San Antonio, the route to/from Gruene is mostly flat. As a result, this tour – like Castroville – would be perfect for someone that wants to give bicycle touring a try. The lack of hills means carrying the extra weight associated with staying overnight somewhere is less of a burden (in my case my 30-pound bicycle had about 15-20 pounds of additional weight).
- Bison! Heading northbound on Krueger Canyon Road, I passed a herd of bison. I stopped to take a few photos of a Daddy bison and his kid only to see the Daddy bison start kicking up dust with his back feet. I suddenly imagined him breaking through the flimsy fence and me out of the saddle trying to escape an angered bison. I decided to nix the photo idea and sped away!
- My iPad was the perfect bicycle touring companion – much lighter and less bulky than a laptop but the perfect way to stay connected when I reached my destination. Oh, don’t worry, I get plenty of “disconnected” time on my bicycle tours, but the convenience of keeping in touch with friends/family and sharing my experiences on networking sites like Facebook & Twitter is worth it!
- The staff at the Gruene Mansion Inn were friendly and courteous. They accommodated my early arrival and the “Sage” guestroom I stayed at (on their sister property, The Gruene Cottages) was the perfect place to rest from the bike ride and provide a home base for excursions into downtown Gruene, less than a half-mile away.
- Gruene, of course, was wonderful. Supper at the Gruene River Grill was outstanding and, as usual, downtown was busy with tourists, motorcyclists and more.
- Here’s a gallery of images from the trip to give you a feel for my experience.
Overall, the trip was just a ton of fun. It’s my hope I’ll have an opportunity to share this overnight tour with others in the future.