Saturday, my sister and I checked out Shoal Creek Trail for the first time, and we LOVED it! I made a MapMyRide route of it and then went back yesterday to do almost the same loop, with some video. The only difference is that instead of turning left onto 12th and then taking Lavaca north to 15th, I actually rode my bike through the Capitol complex, and it "felt" like less of an incline (or maybe I just had more to distract me visually) in addition to being fun.
Saturday, my brilliant diversion was to take us in front of the Governor's Mansion, but the steep climb on 11th unfortunately killed my sister's new-to-her bike chain mid-shift, so we ended up coast/walking the rest of the way home.
I called this route "Very Varied" because you start out at West Campus, which is a student area with housing, fraternities and sororities, and trailer food. Then you hit Shoal Creek Trail, which feels for all of the world like it's in the middle of nowhere, even though it largely parallels Lamar. You get glimpses of the high-rises downtown and can sometimes hear the traffic, but a lot of it is wooded and in the shade, even at 2:00 PM.
Near the south end of Shoal Creek, you have to come off of the trail because of construction as the power plant is renovated for the opening of, among other things, Trader Joe's. At that point, we're back into the city, just for a bit, as we detour down San Antonio to Town Lake Trail. As I noticed the first time I rode the north lake trail, it's not nearly as popular (and therefore populated) as the south trail. This is great for biking! I feel like a jerk, slowly pedaling behind runners, looking for a safe spot to pass where I won't hit oncoming joggers.
You could take the lake trail out further east, but I exit where the construction cuts it off at the actual lake at Waller Creek Boathouse. Then it's just a matter of looping back north through downtown however you choose. If you want more of a work-out, you can take Trinity further north than 2nd and wait to turn west until 8th or so. Those hills are not my favorite, as I try to avoid hills where there is a lot of traffic both for safety and because if the hill kicks my rear, I don't want too many witnesses to my shame of having to push the bike.
So, in this short 7.4 miles, we have urban, wooded park, university, and even some regular business and neighborhoods.
Also, this is the first video I've put together using Adobe's Premiere Pro since we subscribed to Creative Cloud. There is a learning curve, but I'll get there.