A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 01, 2008
Jacob’s Rail (Veloway in Austin)

The Veloway is a 3.1-mile paved trail in southwest Austin for bicycle and rollerblade traffic only. According to the 1998 Austin Chronicle (below), a particularly steep hill in the Veloway has been called “Jacob’s Rail.”


Veloway.com
The Veloway is southwest Austin’s first trail exclusively for bicycles and rollerblading. Located on more than 100 acres in the Slaughter Creek Metropolitan Park, the Veloway is a 3.1 mile paved asphalt loop 23 feet wide. It is totally free of motorized traffic. Riders ride in a one-way clockwise direction. Helmets are highly recommended and required for kids. The trail is open from dawn to dusk. The trail can be accessed from Loop 1 Mopac, about a mile south of Slaughter Lane, or from Bowie High School on Slaughter during non-school hours.

A brief anecdotal history of The Veloway: For more details and probably some important corrections of folklore, you’ll need to do some research, perhaps searching the records of the Austin American Statesman (http://www.statesman.com) and the Austin Chronicle (http://www.auschron.com). The Veloway has controversial roots. One of Austin’s prized natural features is a spring fed pool known as Barton Springs. Barton Springs is filled year round with almost unbearably cold water and has provided a much needed respite from our brutal summers for thousands of years. The watershed that feeds the aquifer that fills the Springs is a relatively attractive rolling land with small trees and brush. Only sparsely developed in the early 80’s, the land in southwest Austin above the aquifer became the target of development, some chaotic and some well-planned. One of the best planned developments created during the boom years of the 80’s was Circle C. The mastermind behind Circle C is Gary Bradley, who is either the devil incarnate or the most forward thinking community creator to ever live in Texas. Circle C incorporated many unique features for its time, including a wonderful swimming facility, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the Veloway. Much to the consternation of the road cyclists of Austin, public money that had been earmarked for creation of urban bike lanes was diverted to help fund Gary Bradley’s bike path way out in the middle of nowhere serving his subdivision’s residents, who weren’t even in the city limits at the time.

Austin Bicycle and Pedestrian Program
Ride the Veloway
The Veloway is a 3.1 mile paved, looped track that is open to the public for bicycle and rollerblade traffic only. The track is approximately 23 ft. wide and winds through a typical Central Texas Hill Country setting.

The Veloway is located on La Crosse Ave, east of Mopac Expressway in southwest Austin and is open year round from dawn to dusk. Cyclist should take Escarpment Blvd, which has bike lanes installed, south from Wm. Cannon Dr or Slaughter Lane to La Crosse Ave.

THE VELOWAY AT CIRCLE C RANCH METRO PARK
Map

Austin (TX) Chronicle (Best of Austin 1998)
Best Place To Impersonate Sisyphus: Jacob’s Rail at the Veloway
Sisyphus, the despot of Corinth, was condemned in Hades to roll a huge boulder uphill, which always rolled back before he reached the top. If you’re looking to atone for some sins, pick a summer ozone day when the heat hangs in the air like a wet towel and at, say, 2pm, head down to the Veloway with your favorite brand of in-line skates. After a mile or two of baby hills and level ground, when you’ve had enough and your heart is about to explode, there it looms, what an Austin writer nicknamed “Jacob’s Rail,” a hill whose degrees in steepness rival Barton Springs’ degrees in coldness. By then you’re so sweaty that even if you clung to the rail for dear life, you’d skid back down. You’re on wheels, remember, so no boulder is necessary; your fat ass will suffice.
Veloway, 4900 LaCross, 974-6700 http://www.austininline.com/veloway/Map.html

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, August 01, 2008 • Permalink