Austin Water Bikes

Last week Bill and I finally rode the Austin Water Bikes after many months of watching them floating around on Lady Bird Lake. The bikes are moored at the downtown Hyatt marina, the scene of the recent Christmas Day boat fire. We had anxiously watched that day as the burning riverboat floated right past the water bikes, but they were not damaged.

Austin Water Bikes’ motto is “Never Get Wet.” We can confirm that this is true. The owner went knee-deep into the water to assist us, but we just stepped from the shore directly onto a pontoon to get on the bike. We were seated up high, just like a regular bicycle, and our shoes remained completely dry.

The bikes are very stable and easy to steer and pedal. There are no gears so pure pedal-power determines the speed and workout level. Bill and I went at a reasonable pace, but we still worked up a sweat since the temperature was 78° (in late December!). Although swimming is prohibited, last summer we sometimes saw riders slip off the bikes for a quick dip to cool off. But Bill and I have seen those gigantic carp that live in Lady Bird Lake (see my Fish Story entry). We have also encountered nutrea (river rats) and snakes on the Hike-and-Bike Trail. No way are we ever swimming in that lake.

We rented the bikes for 30 minutes, just enough time to go from the Hyatt dock about a half-mile upstream to the Lamar Street bridge and back again. The owner said that the trip up to the Mopac bridge (four miles round-trip) takes about an hour. We’ll try that next time!

2 thoughts on “Austin Water Bikes

  1. They look so comical, and the photo of the two people riding them from behind makes it look as though the individuals are nearly standing up. It looks like an architectural improbability, can’t believe it’s so easy to balance, it’s comfortable, etc. What a fun thing to do! No fear of a boat speeding past you and capsizing you?

  2. The owner assured us that no one had ever fallen off. Lady Bird Lake has limited motor boats so that’s not a worry. We thought they seemed very sturdy and balanced.

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