What is Easter Hill Country Tour (EHCT)?
Easter Hill Country Tour is a three-day bike tour based out of Kerrville, Texas over Easter weekend. Originally hosted by the Lubbock Bicycle Club in 1974, it has been hosted by four bicycle clubs in rotation. The current host clubs are the Fort Worth Bicycle Association, Houston Bicycle Club, and the Austin Cycling Association (now merged with Bike Austin). These three clubs act cooperatively to pass along useful information to one another, but there is an underlying friendly rivalry to plan the prettiest routes and best social events. Host for the 2018 event is the Houston Bicycle Club.
Where is EHCT held?
EHCT is based in Kerrville, Texas and uses a variety of routes that start and end at the Y.O. Ranch in town. Kerrville is in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, about 45 miles northwest of San Antonio.
How do I get to Registration?
For directions to Registration locations, click here (coming soon).
How are the routes on this ride?
Kerrville is situated in one of the prettiest parts of the Texas Hill Country, and the routes are laid out to showcase the scenery and roads. The geological history of this area tends to produce small, intimate valleys with steep hillsides capped with Edwards limestone. So the hills here tend to be relatively short (compared to long mountain passes like Colorado), but are often steep. Some are quite challenging.
Routes are selected to use small back roads as much as possible; when it is occasionally necessary to access bigger roads, the only ones used are those with broad shoulders for safe, enjoyable cycling.
Is there a baggage shuttle?
Since all daily routes start in Kerrville and end there each afternoon, no baggage shuttle is needed. You’ll return to your room or campsite each day.
What lodging accommodations are available?
The EHCT usually negotiates very competitive rates at the YO Ranch Resort Hotel. For more details, go here. When contacting the hotel, be sure to mention that you are with the Tour to guarantee that you get the special rate.
Or you may choose to stay at one of the other many excellent quality motels and hotels in Kerrville. Many EHCT participants camp at Kerrville City Park (formerly Kerrville State Park). For more information go to our Meals and Lodging page Meals and Lodging here.
What equipment do I need to enjoy EHCT?
A well-maintained bicycle is, of course, the requisite starting point. Almost all participants use a road bike, since the local roads are generally excellent; there is no real advantage to a mountain or hybrid bike (which are generally slower). Since you will be spending some part of three days on the bike, it should be comfortable. Basic safety gear (helmet) is needed, as well as basic tools (spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, simple tools, tire pump or CO2 inflator). All routes are carefully mapped, with cue sheets on the back of each map, so a basic cycle-computer is helpful to keep track of mileage. Some cyclists prefer to use GPS devices to track their progress.
There are no start times posted. When do the rides start?
There is no mass start time for any of the rides. Most riders arrive at the start point between 8 and 10 a.m., although some start as early as 7 for the century. Many riders contact other riders at Thursday packet pickup and arrange to meet at a particular time. The only constraints on start times are the closure times for the various rest stops on the course: you should plan to get past those points while the rest stops are still open.
My packet contains several sets of maps. How do I decide which to ride?
Maps are color coded for each day. There will be rest stops for Friday’s routes on Friday’s routes only, and ditto for Saturday’s and Sunday’s rides. There are generally three distance choices for Friday, four for Saturday (including a century), and two for Sunday, so the rider packet will contain maps for each. Again, all of Friday’s routes will be on one color paper, Saturday’s on another, and Sunday’s on a third. Riders may choose the distance they prefer from among that day’s routes.
How will signage be for EHCT?
There will be colored maps/cue sheets in riders’ packages and in addition, there will be colored navigation arrows on the roads before and at all turns. Route arrows can occasionally be washed off by heavy rain or worn off by traffic. If in doubt, the cue sheet is your most reliable information.
Will there be rest stops at EHCT?
There will be rest stops approximately every 10-15 miles on routes each day. All rest stops include water, snacks, and porta-cans.
What about SAG support?
There will be several roving SAG vehicles on each route each day, generally less than 20 miles apart. SAG’s will have small first aid kits, spare tubes, patch kits, floor pumps, water/sports drinks/bonk bars and can move you and your bike to the next rest stop. If you are bonking, the rest and fuel may be enough to get you moving again. If your bike is broken, we can get you both back to town.
PLEASE DO NOT ARRANGE FOR YOUR OWN PRIVATE SAG VEHICLE. It may make you feel better, but it means more cars to interfere with everyone’s enjoyment of these quiet country roads. Our SAG’s are concerned about all the riders on the route, not just you. There are few things more annoying to local motorists (and to other riders) than a lone vehicle trundling along behind a rider at 15mph with four- way flashers on. PLEASE DON’T DO IT.
Can I use credit or debit cards to register for EHCT?
Yes. Payment by credit card will be accepted both online and in person at Kerrville.
Can I get digital maps in advance to download into my bicycle GPS?
Yes. Digital maps will be available in advance to paid-up registrants.
What happens if I have a bicycle problem?
There are two convenient resources. Hill Country Bicycle Works have shop locations on both Kerrville and Fredericksburg. Opening hours will be: Thursday 10 – 6, Friday 9 – 6 and Saturday 9 – 6.
What happens if the weather is bad?
The Tour is held rain or shine (unless clearly dangerous to do so). We regret that no refunds can be made for weather-related reasons (unfortunately, significant expenses will already have been incurred). In it’s 43-year history, EHCT has never lost the whole event to weather.
What is the role of a SAG vehicle?
A SAG vehicle’s primary responsibility is to promote the safety of the riders. They can assist, and may offer transport to, riders who, for example, have minor injuries which do not warrant 911 assistance, have a mechanical problem on their bike or who have had to cease riding due to physical fatigue. Any transportation offered will most likely be, in the first instance, to the nearest rest stop. SAG vehicles are not roving mechanics although many can handle minor problems. Similarly, they are not taxi-cabs and will not be withdrawn from the course simply as a convenience to riders.