The state of Texas, spread across 254 counties and an area as large as New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina combined, has some of the most varied terrain in the United States -– ranging from the Guadalupe Mountains in the west, to the Hill County of Central Texas, to the beaches of the Gulf Coast, to the bayous and tall pines of East Texas.
And what better way to see some of those spectacular landscapes than from the saddle of a bicycle?
To help you plan a two-wheeled excursion, Barry Shlachter, proprietor of the Great Texas Line Press, has published a pocket-sized book that maps out dozens of cycling routes throughout the Lone Star State.
“Consider this guide a celebration of Texas’ spectacular geography, its historic towns, sprawling ranches and diverse cities,” the author, Tom Johanningmeier, writes in the introduction of the book, Bicycle Texas: The Lone Star State’s Best Rides.
The 80-page book maps out more than 50 rides — some long-established scenic routes such as the one starting and ending at Fort Davis in the Big Bend country, fixtures on the cycling calendar such as the Hotter’N Hell Hundred at Wichita Falls and urban rambles through such cities as Fort Worth and Dallas.
The guide also includes a calendar of cycling events in Texas; tips on cycling, ranging from what to look for when buying a bike to what to wear on the road; and lists of bike shops, bicycling clubs around the state and custom bicycle makers, including Shlachter’s son, Jeremy, who owns Gallus Cycles in Fort Worth.
For those who like to shop and eat locally, Shlachter stresses that the book is an entirely local enterprise. Shlachter, a friend, neighbor, former work colleague and fellow cyclist, is a business reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Johanningmeier is a cyclist and deputy sports editor for the paper.
The photos on the back cover are by Steve Reisman, a cyclist and photographer who has chronicled the burgeoning Fort Worth cycling scene. The cover art is by Adam Werner, a cyclist and owner, with his wife, Robbie, of Stir Crazy Baked Goods, on Fort Worth’s near south side. The silhouetted images on the front cover are of two cycling friends, Kathryn and Erik Hansen.
The cover design is by local graphic designer Jared Stone. The cover was printed by 4 Color Press of Fort Worth. And the inside pages were printed and bound by Bill Swiger’s Hanson Printing of Fort Worth.
The book is priced at a reasonable $5.95 and, says Shlachter, “sized to fit a bike jersey pocket next to the energy bars.”
It is available directly from the Great Texas Line (greattexasline.com), at amazon.com, at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at University Park Village in Fort Worth and at bike shops throughout the state.
Some of the shops where the book is available: Trinity Bicycles and Colonel’s Bicycles in Fort Worth; Bike Lane, Shenandoah; Houston Cycling Centres; the Bike Farm and Scruffy’s in Austin; Richardson Bike Mart in Richardson and Dallas; Bike World in San Antonio; and Peyton’s Bikes in Midland.