Burleson Heights residents greeted cyclists on their way to the U.S. Grand Prix as they arrived at the Country Club Creek pocket park on Saturday morning. City Council member Chris Riley, representatives of Bike Austin and visitors from around the U.S. and Europe were among at least 70 riders who passed through over three hours on their way to Richard Moya Park, where a bicycle valet service took them to the Circuit of the Americas. Nuevo Estilo stylists joined the cheering squad, too, before their customers arrived.
The pocket park is almost at the halfway point on the city’s designated bike route to the F1 auto races, and several riders paused for free water, maps and advice from the locals. A few lost F1 fans in cars stopped for directions, too.
Neighbors alerted drivers near the pocket park, where the cyclists had to cross Burleson Road without a crosswalk, intersection or sign to slow drivers. Residents also temporarily posted bilingual bike-crossing signs and replaced bike route signs that had been vandalized.
Three Englishmen were so excited to see volunteers helping at the Burleson Road crossing that they stopped to take their photos.
“We’ve been to Grand Prixes around the world,” one said, “and we’ve never seen a group like this.”
“At most events, you’re on your own,” said another English cyclist who passed through later, after a flat tire on Elmont Drive set him back an hour. He was on his way again after a crew from Bicycle Sport Shop patched him up.
Even the wildlife were welcoming, and a nine-point white-tailed buck pranced through the greenbelt by the crossing, to the astonishment of a few Austin visitors and Burleson-area residents.
Residents will be back at the pocket park on Sunday for the biggest day of the U.S. Grand Prix, and we need volunteers! Drivers were speeding through the area, but slowed to read our signs, and some even stopped to let large groups of riders cross. We’re one of the only neighborhoods on this inner-city bike route, so please join us in a show of hospitality and support for safety. Drop by for as long as you can any time between 8:30 a.m. and noon Sunday.
Update: Over the three-day U.S. Grand Prix, 1,120 people rode bikes to the shuttles at Richard Moya Park, according to the Austin American-Statesman. City and Bike Austin representatives said more support is possible for next year’s event, so start planning now for ways to make this a better rest stop and safer clycling crossing point in the future. A portable toilet, a bike rack, a tent for shade, a crosswalk, better street signs, restriping bike lanes and replacing crumbling curb cuts come to mind …