Fort Davis Cyclefest, Ft Davis, TX
This is one of the best rides in Texas and everyone should make the drive out to the Fort Davis area to do this event at least once. There are numerous routes for all levels of cyclists and the scenery is beautiful, clean and absolutely traffic free. Even with the extensive wildfire problems there earlier this year, the vistas were spectacular. The ride is well-supported with 5 or so rest stops along the 75 mile route. Wherever you stay in the area, a bike ride is always available when you step out the front door. Believe it or not, it is just that easy in this part of Texas.
I just want to echo the 2010 review of Cyclefest. This was our first year and it was an amazing experience! It makes a great long weekend that allows for lots of cycling and sightseeing. I heartily recommend coupling the cycling events with a star party at the observatory, and of course with watching the brave ride up Mt. Locke on Sunday morning. The roads are the best I've ridden this year and the scenery is beyond beautiful. We had such a wonderful time that we have already booked our room for next year. If you have a bucket list of rides, put this one on it.
This is not a ride, it is an experience! At the start, for example, you are treated to 58 degrees and a sunrise over the Davis Mountains, so the stage is set for a great day on a totally bike-friendly course. Although it appears that a majority of the riders do the 75 mile Scenic Loop (lots of lung-busting climbs during the second half of this route), a lot of riders also opt for the 50 and 27 mile routes. All riders get the benefit of unparalleled scenery as evidenced by numerous cyclists who were stopped along the way to take photos. There is NO traffic unless you consider deer, snakes and tarantulas as obstacles! I am also amazed at how the ride volunteers set up the rest stops in the middle of nowhere and keep the riders sufficiently fueled. Everything seemed to work well from an organization perspective.
Peyton’s Bikes out of Midland and the Permian Basin Bicycle Association do all the heavy lifting to get this ride organized and done, so these outfits really deserve special mention for their efforts. Hotel, motel, B&B and camping accommodations are available in Fort Davis, Alpine (25 miles away), Marfa (25 miles away) and Marathon (50 miles away).
There is no ride in Texas like this one.
This is a spectacular, challenging ride! I did the 75 mile Scenic Loop ride on Saturday. A 25 mile ride and a 56 mile ride are also available. For the $30 entry fee, it is the coolest way to enjoy the scenery, vistas and critters (pronghorn, javelina, etc.) of the Trans-Pecos area. You will also meet some nice people who come to Fort Davis from all over the State to ride and soak all this in.
A Sunday ride, which is a 7 mile plus climb from the Prude Ranch start area to the McDonald Observatory is also offered. I passed on this one, but a lot of people do it and revel in the accomplishment.
Peyton’s Bike Shop in Midland and the Permian Basin Bicycle Association are the primary organizers and they do a fantastic job providing what it takes to get this ride done. The support and rest stops, particularly in the remote areas of the Scenic Loop, are well-placed and well-stocked. My thanks to those volunteers who worked those stations.
It is a long drive from Dallas to Fort Davis but you will return home fully refreshed.
Thanks to Peytons and the PBBA for hosting another great ride on the most scenic roads in the state!And thanks to the cowboy who was cooking the cubed steak at about the fifty mile mark on the loop ride. The weather was perfect for the ride on Saturday and the hill climb Sunday morning. Looking forward to next year.
There are a few options for the bike ride: 10-mile, 28-mile, 56-mile, and the 75-mile routes. I wasn’t sure how the routes were laid out before I went out and I thought the 56-mile route was on the same path as the 75-mile one, but that wasn’t the case. The 56-mile route goes to Alpine and comes back Prude Ranch outside of Fort Davis; and it doesn’t have the huge climbs and descents of the longer ride. The 75-mile route separates from the 28 and 56-mile rides at Fort Davis. Regardless, the weekend was outstanding. The weather was perfect. The scenery was dazzling. Very little car traffic compared to other races and the road surface was in very good condition. The bike club hosting the race did a phenomenal job – both for the race and the dinner afterwards at Prude Ranch. They went above and beyond what other races do for their riders. It was a long trip from the Metroplex to the Davis Mountains, but it was a lot of fun and well worth the time. Now that I know what the weekend is all about, I am planning to do the 75-mile ride next year (heaven help me). In addition to the Sunday rides up to the observatories, there seem to be other Sunday rides. These may be more informal gatherings for one last ride around the area before heading back home.
September 18-19, 2004
Don't let the elevation discourage you from riding Cyclefest. This ride has something for everyone. Two routes to choose from: Hwy. 118 from Ft. Davis to Alpine and back where you can ride any distance you want, out and back, up to 50 miles. And the Scenic Loop of Hwy. 166 where you forget about the climbs once you see the view from the crests. Its the personal challenge and the view of the Davis Mountains/Chihuahuan Desert that keep me coming back to this ride. Maybe next year I will finally succeed in making the mile and a half, 17% grade climb to the McDonald Observatory telescopes.
I rode the Scenic Loop consisting of Hwy. 166 &118 which is 75 miles. Without a doubt this is the most scenic route in Texas! I enjoyed this route more than any other I have been on in this state. IT has some good steep climbs along with some fast descents. Rest stops are not huge but have water,
Gatorade, fruit and cookies. There were about 270 riders. I was told that count was unofficial. . If you want goody bags and packets and pampering then this ride is not for you. If you want challenging terrain, fantastic scenery with elevation then Ft. Davis
Cyclefest is the ride to go to next year. I will be back!
This event is AWESOME!! Absolutely AWESOME!! if you are able, there is no excuse to skip this ride.
Peytons Bikes and the PBBA do an great job organizing this ride. I've only been riding for 3 months, but i
have done a ride every Saturday since Italy. the fort Davis Cyclefest was the only one to surpass my
expectations. I did the 75 on Saturday and the 7 mile climb on Sunday (the pride is well worth the pain).
the 75 had good surfaces, stunning scenery, and NO CARS!!! At All. just the sag passing occasionally, but
mostly keeping their distance. that's right... making themselves known, without choking you on exhaust
(hooda thunkit). the drive from mesquite was 9 hrs with 3 pit stops and 45 min lunch. the ride itself is
worth the drive, but you also get star parties at the observatory, great town and people, the marfa lights,
and the history and beauty of the area. and for those who are concerned, the shirts are awesome. both the
ride shirt and the climb finisher shirt. I will definitely do this every year, and take as many riders
with me as I can. -jd74p
The 75 mile Scenic Loop ride is the biggest, manliest ride with the most pointless suffering possible in one day in Texas short of a race especially when combined the next day with the climb up Mt Locke to the McDonald Observatory parking lot. Doing the loop without someone riding SAG for you would be too risky and awfully lonely. Thank-you PBBA and Richardson's for making it possible. I'll keep coming back every year as long as you good folks put it on. If you can do only one non-charity, organized ride a year in Texas, do this one. In 2004, the rains brought lots and lots of yellow wildflowers on the hillsides especially in the Limpia Creek canyon. The hills were wearing yellow! I bring my "B" bike with a triple that has a 28-32 combination.
I did this last year, and will go again this year. Unbeatable
views, ~5400 feet of climbing on the 75 mile loop, ~1500 feet of climbing
in 6 miles for the Sunday hill climb. Typically 200-300 riders, excellent
support (they invite riders to try the long loop and will gladly sag them
past the worst of the climbs or back to the start/finish if needed, also
they provide plastic bags to dump extra clothes, etc. off at rest stops
and they will transport these back to the start/finish for you).
Taking a tour of the observatory is also neat. 8 hour drive from
September 21 - 22, 2002
The Ft. Davis Cyclefest has a lot to offer to everyone. All
routes lead out of the Prude Ranch, 6 miles northwest of Ft. Davis and go
downhill through canyons into town. Easy paced riders can enjoy a ride into
town, through the Ft. Davis and Indian Lodge National Parks and back;
enthusiasts have a "set your own distance" ride that takes you into
Alpine and back down Hwy. 118 (maximum of 50 miles round trip or anything in
between you feel like); and the serious rider can experience the closest thing
to a Tour De France segment with the 75 mile "Scenic Loop" through the
mountains. Due to the remote location, SAG was good considering the distances
covered. Rest stops were spaced about 12-15 miles apart. The altitude was not a
problem to this "flat land" rider and many personal bests for speed
were set on the two courses. Plenty of flat stretches, rolling hills, and a few
steep grades to climb (and come down - FAST!). The Big Bend area scenery is the
attraction for this ride. This was my first time, and I will definitely be back.
This ride is put on by the Permian Basin Bicycle Association and it shows that
bike riders are involved in every aspect of this tour. There was a Sunday
"King of the Mountain" ride up Mt. Locke at the McDonald Observatory
that I did not participate in, but if you are up for steep hills and the
competitive aspect of who can make it up the hill without quitting, this would
be the second ride for you