SXSWi advice wanted

After encouragement from Lisa, Maxine, James and a few others at WE05 (and checking my finances) I have decided to attend SXSWi. Seeing I will be flying halfway round the world, I might as well have a holiday. My intention is to either arrive a couple of weeks early or leave a couple of weeks later, hire a car, buy a mountain bike (probably a 29er steel hardtail, the 2007 KHS range looks nice and unlikely to make it to Oz) and go riding.

What I would like is any advice/recommendations/suggestions on:

  • Anything that will help a first timer survive SXSWi;
  • Accommodation for SXSWi that is still available;
  • Best way to do the road trip, fly to LAX or SF and drive to Austin stopping on the way to ride, do the reverse, or fly to Austin and do a loop from there;
  • Place I should ride (see below for my riding ability);
  • Anything else, good bike shop is Austin, a pay as go mobile provider, etc.

I am not concerned about distances in the US. The nearest city to Perth is over a 1000 miles away and that is Adelaide, civilization is another 500 miles further on. My last US visit involved an 8000 mile road trip from SF, to Seattle, Cleveland and back to SF, via most of the national parks in between. I thought about LAX/SF to Austin and then return, but that may take more time than I have and still be enjoyable, also I have to worry keeping a car in Austin. Though if it is the best option I can always make a little extra time available.

My limited riding ability

  • I avoid riding the real technical stuff, two broken collarbones in the past few years have definitely stop that.
  • Amongst the guys I ride with, I am usually the slowest and most conservative.
  • So I am looking for rides that will wow me with scenery, make me work and not terrify me.
  • I know I can ride for 3 or 4 hours at a reasonable pace, backup and do it again the next day but not a third time.
  • Climbing, is not one of my strong points, I do not get much practice, the biggest hills here are less than 1000 feet above sea level and are a good distance from my place.
  • Weather, more concerned about the cold weather. In February/March here the temperatures hit 100F regularly, and I have been known to do the commute 25 miles home in 85F heat and that is a good day, bad days are 75F and 20MPH headwinds.

So advice, suggestions, recommendations. Am I crazy? Anybody want to join me for part of the trip?

4 Responses to “SXSWi advice wanted”

  1. Tuna Says:

    Nup, you aren’t crazy, just going to be very poor at the end of it all. I would put my hand up… but finances and the like and business commitments etc… You will be expected to give a full debrief to all us poor people back in Perth… Lucky bugger!

  2. Nat Says:

    No. You are definitely crazy.


  3. Carl Says:

    Hi, I found your site from Robert Nyman’s site. I’m hoping you’ll enjoy your visit to Austin for SXSWi. Here’s a bit of advice that I can offer. SXSWi is held at the convention center. The Convention Center address is on Cesar Chavez (1st street) but the entrance we’ll use is more like 3rd and Neches if that helps. All the close hotels appear to be booked already.

    If you’re in reasonably good shape then both the Embassy Suites and Hyatt Regency are within “walking distance.” Both the Hyatt and Embassy Suites are just south of the Congress Avenue bridge which is home to 1.2M Mexican Freetail bats. They’re quite a site when they come out at sundown. After those two hotels, the next best are NORTH of the Capitol and quite some distance away. If you end up going for hotels further out and driving in, email me for advice on those. Parking was $7 per day at the convention center lot last year with two in-outs permitted each day. Keep your receipt.

    Post-convention activities last year centered around the Warehouse District (4th and Colorado and environs) and East 6th Street is where the nightclubs are if that is of interest.

  4. Robert Nyman Says:

    Carl took fantastic care of me and my friends at SXSW 2006, so whatever he says, listen to him! :-)