This weekend my wife and I drove out to Stonewall, TX (just east of Fredericksburg) to our favorite winery. They were hosting a small Valentine’s Day lunch. It was a multi-course sit down meal with a different wine with each course. The owners gave a brief history of each wine as the course was being served. Thoroughly enjoyable meal, good wine and a great way to celebrate the 24th anniversary of our first date.
As we were waiting for the reception to begin I browsed the gift shop. A brochure caught my attention: Wine Road 290. Particularly the tag line at the bottom of the winery map on the inside: ”experience more – drive less.” Indeed. What also caught my attention was the claim that this particular little piece of the Lone Star state is the second most visited wine region in the U.S., right behind Napa Valley. Upon reflection it doesn’t surprise. Texas wineries put out some tasty fermented goodness.
Light Bulb Time
Wow. What if we could develop a bike tour of these wineries. Bicycle touring and wineries are a great match. Sober realization that there would be challenges. The first that comes to mind is Highway 290 itself. Not a very comfortable highway to cycle on. 70 mph speed limits, four lane undivided with minimal shoulders (if any at all). While there may be a way to navigate off the highway on side roads, it is not immediately obvious and it would add complexity and distance to a bike tour.
Sigh. Another light bulb to go in the growing pile of light bulbs that never get screwed in (to borrow and mangle an awesome metaphor a friend of mine came up with). But it’s a nice what-if and one can dream.
Nothing Wrong Dreaming
Lately I’ve been thinking a great deal about bicycle touring and tourism. I’ve written about the general idea on this blog before. The central Texas area (Austin and the surrounding 11 counties) hold great potential for being a center of bicycle tourism. Day trips and local tours, inn-to-inn, overnight camping, long distance bike touring/camping, etc. We have the destinations. We have the weather. We’re struggling with infrastructure but making progress. What we need is to tie it all together by extolling the economic benefits of bicycle tourism, especially to the more rural parts of the area. A theme discussed in detail by Russ and Laura at The Path Less Pedaled.
Still think a winery tour would be awesome. I know the wineries could be convinced to support it. Certainly the economic development and tourism people would be on board. Convenience stores and gas stations might see the chance for revenue from hungry and thirsty cyclists. Motels could be educated on how easy it is to host cyclists and give them secure parking. I imagine the one bicycle shop in Fredericksburg could see the potential.
So to move from dreaming toward conversation I created a Facebook group: Central Texas Bicycle Tourism.
A forum to share ideas for promoting bicycle tourism in Austin and the surrounding counties. Central Texas has the potential to be a destination for cyclists. Day trips, inn-to-inn, long distance touring, overnight camping, etc.
I invite you to join and add your ideas. If you know somebody in the tourism industry invite them. Motels/hotels, restaurants, wineries, breweries, convenience store operators, city visitor bureaus, etc.