Not for the faint of heart or low of experience, Farm-to-Market 2222 on the west side of Austin is one of the steepest, fastest bike rides in the city - and among the most dangerous.
For the thrill-seekers and expert riders among us, though, it’s a blast. Cutting through the limestone and barreling down hills after sharp, sweaty climbs on a fast road with no shoulder? If that doesn’t raise your heart rate, nothing will.
But it’s a fun roller coaster of a ride for expert riders if you pay attention to your surroundings - which is usually a good idea when riding with traffic anyway.
What Makes It Great
Hands down, FM 2222 is a thrill ride, a thing to conquer, viewed as a challenge for some and a thing to absolutely avoid at all cost for others. It offers some fantastic side trips - Mt. Bonnell is a challenging summit for riders, and definitely earns cyclists some bragging rights when it’s conquered. And when the traffic is down - early Saturday and Sunday mornings are the best - it can be a fun, mostly uninterrupted roller coaster.
The speed limits don’t seem to matter to the neighborhood residents, many of whom drive this road at high speed. The good news is that they’re used to cyclists on this road; the bad news? They’re not the most patient motorists around, and they like to zoom around the cyclists at a raucous clip. It can get hairy, so keep your wits about you and don’t dawdle. If there ever was a time to abide by the very smart road rule against wearing earbuds when you’re riding, this would be it.
Start around Mopac or the Capitol of Texas Highway and immediately get into a huge climb, followed by a fast downhill on a stretch of roadway with no shoulder and plenty of fast curves.
Who is Going to Love It
Experienced riders, highly athletic cyclists and thrill seekers, those who are willing to get out at dawn on a weekend, and lovers of a good challenge and some great views are drawn to this route.
The road also takes you to some excellent natural areas and eateries, offering great starting and ending points.
This route is not for those who want a leisurely social ride, nor for those who have little experience or low endurance and strength. Getting caught with cramps and having to walk your bike up a hill is one thing. Doing it on FM 2222, with its traffic and lack of shoulder, is quite another.