“We shall never surrender or retreat.”
That was part of the famous message, Juan Nepomuceno Seguin, took with him when he was ordered by Colonel William B. Travis to leave the Alamo to seek reinforcements. When Juan Seguin returned, the Alamo and its defenders had fallen.
Seguin, TX – named after Juan Seguin in honor of his many contributions to Texas – lies about 30 miles east of San Antonio. From my home in Stone Oak – in North Central San Antonio – my planned route would be about 92-miles roundtrip (43.29 miles there and 48.52 miles back).
The journey to Seguin marked my 5th overnight bicycle tour (referred to by some bicycle tourists as an S24O or “Sub-24 Hour Overnight”) and my 3rd solo tour. Only a bicycle could turn a relatively quick trip by car into a true adventure. As before, it’s time to reflect on the highlights and lessons learned from my latest overnighter.
Highlights & Lessons Learned
- Consider a journal or cycling blog like mine. This tour benefited greatly from me having the luxury of reviewing my notes from previous overnight tours to Fredericksburg, Wimberley, Castroville and Gruene, TX.
- Once again, I was amazed at how relatively easy you can find a bicycle-friendly route using a combination of Google Maps, MapMyRide.com and talking to other cyclists.
- Like my other overnight tours, I found myself on roads mostly forgotten by the world around me. It’s amazing when a big interstate highway gets built and all these other roads are quickly abandoned – much to the cyclists’ benefit! Stagecoach Road, Santa Clara Road and Lower Seguin Road were just some of the peaceful roads I used for my journey.
- Spring bicycle tours in Texas = WILDFLOWERS. I saw fields blanketed by Pink Primrose that were a feast for my eyes!
- Dogs. When you’re on quiet, abandoned country roads your likelihood of running into dogs without a leash goes way up. I had about 4-5 encounters, mostly on my ride back home (greeeat – I’m sore, have less energy…SLOWER). Fortunately, I remained calm and kept pedaling. Most of the dogs looking up at me seemed to be of the friendly “thanks for the exercise” variety – tongues flapping wildly in the wind as they easily matched my pace. One dog was quiet terrifying in its look and demeanor – I believe it may have been part werewolf. Fortunately, it decided it was more fun to scare me with it’s appearance rather than give chase. I need to think of a gameplan for how to handle dogs next time – in case I run into another werewolf that decides his mission is to take me down!
- My destination – the Mosheim Mansion – was amazing – a historic landmark built in the late 1800′s. Owner Carol Hirschi welcomes bicycle tourists and let me keep the bicycle in the main foyer just down the stairs from my room. My bicycle’s never had it so nice! Carol was a gracious host and cooked a delicious breakfast for me that I enjoyed in the original 1894 mansion – the views around me were amazing.
- Supper at the Dixie Grille was great. It was a family-oriented, “down home” dining experience with great food and great service. Their banana pudding dessert is an award winner and I was able to have a serving guilt-free (one of the many benefits of riding your bicycle to your destination!).
- Routing – I created my route in Garmin’s Mapsource program and downloaded the route directly to my Garmin Edge 705 cycling computer. The Edge 705 navigated the route perfectly, providing turn-by-turn directions. As was the case before, however, I discovered at least one turn that didn’t exist. This can happen easier than you think – especially when using smaller, county roads. Next time, I’ll spend a little more time using Google Map’s “Streetview” to check out most of the intersections on my route to try and better catch a situation like this. Fortunately for me, this hiccup in my route involved a very short 1/2 mile to mile detour.
- My iPad demonstrated, once again, how valuable it is as a bicycle touring companion. It is easy to toss into your bicycle panniers and provides robust computing power to research local restaurants and places to explore during your visit.
My trip to Seguin made it all too clear for me. Overnight bicycle touring is addictive. It is a great mix of mental and physical challenge, provides a true feeling of “journey” and helps you explore places you likely would have blasted past in your car at 75mph under different circumstances.