F1 fans find a stress-free way to travel to the COTA track

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by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist KENNETH NULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on November 18, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 18 at 11:25 PM

ELROY, Texas -- Thousands of people converged upon the city of Elroy Sunday morning for the U.S. Grand Prix.

The wealthy flew in their helicopters. The premium ticket holders drove their cars. Thousands hopped on Capital Metro buses. And then there were some, about 600, who decided to let their legs do the work: Riding their bikes to Elroy.

"They'll be coming in off this trail," explained Bicycle Sport Shop Service Coordinator Alan Hinton. "Take their bike in, check it in, and then we secure it for the day. They go over here to take a special shuttle."

And the bikers do it for free. Circuit of the Americas (COTA ) is footing the bill.

"Definitely seemed the way to go. Avoid the parking, avoid the lines, avoid the wait," said Clay Holsey who rode to the track.

Bicyclist Jordon Walker agrees. "This is a great option. We did it yesterday and it worked out very well. Very convenient, really glad it's here."

The bike lot is the brain child of Austin City Council Member Chris Riley.

"We wanted to provide the opportunity for people to get here in a fun and healthy way, and to demonstrate that this can be an appealing way of getting around. A lot of folks are going to be stuck in traffic in their cars today and we're all arriving happy and healthy with smiles on our faces," said Riley, who also rode in. 

Not only are Austinites biking to F1, out of towners are getting in on the ride too. Gerard and Jeanne Ezcurra are from Florida.

"Well we were looking at all the transportation and we were at a hotel by the airport and we didn't want to take a shuttle into town to have to come all the way back to the track," said Ezcurra. 

The Ezcurra's found out about the bike lot, rented bikes and rode from their hotel, just four miles away.

Hinton says so far the longest ride has been 20 miles. Council member Riley is close to that, he came in from Austin City Hall.

"It was great. I've done it all three days now and it just keeps getting better," said Riley. 

But not everyone took the 12-mile ride from the city to the track. Some people parked at a nearby industrial park or a friend's house and just rode a few miles to this location. And others didn't pedal at all. Instead, they hopped on electric bikes.

"It's awesome," said Jeanne Ezcurra of her electric bike. "Because I passed all these guys and they kept saying, 'pedal faster' and I said 'watch this,'" she laughed.

Whether it was an easy ride or one that required a little more effort, the biking F1 fans say they've discovered the best kept secret to making race day stress free.

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