Land of the free and home of the brave; for many the city of Austin, Texas, holds all the big experiences the US has to offer. It’s also home to the Circuit of the Americas and the Three Twisted Sisters: two challenging routes with plenty of inclines, turns and character.
Circuit of the Americas, the most recent track on the Moto2 tour, is famous for its elevation changes, hairpins and tricky corners. Designed by German architect and circuit designer Hermann Tilke, the circuit demands a riding style that is as bold as the state it was built in.
To find an on-road route as challenging as the famous motorcycle and Grand Prix track, we headed up into the ranch roads just outside Kerrville, Texas, and into the twists and turns of three unique sisters.
Hit the road
After heading south down Route 16 from Kerrville you’ll reach the town of Medina, which sits at the crossroads of ranch road 337, otherwise known as the first sister. Here, you’ll also find Keese’s Bar-B-Que, whose slogan ‘a serious ride requires a serious breakfast’ is perhaps why it’s a number-one pit stop for riders heading out on the Three Sisters route.
Once you have had your fill of classic pancakes or biscuits and gravy, it’s time to start your climb up the north edge of Medina on the 337. Beautiful ranches along this route give you great views and a 20-mile snapshot of Texan life.
Take a detour
When you reach the intersection, you have a couple of options: you can turn right and head north before continuing west on the 337, or continue a little bit further up the 187 to pay a visit to Vanderpool and the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum.
Owned by Australian Allan Johncock, it’s a 60-bike collection that’s a testament to his love of British motorcycles. A retired classic racer, Allan has a few Triumphs at the Lone Star, including a 1950 Triumph 650cc Thunderbird, a model similar to the bike Marlon Brando rode in the 1953 film The Wild One.
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Head into Hill Country
As you continue heading west up the 337, you’ll reach the town of Leakey, the intersection for the next stage of the journey: Route 336.
Now deep in beautiful Hill Country, you can enjoy the descent and turns of the Little Dry Frio Creek Valley before heading straight up through Leakey. Taking a break to check out the Frio Canyon Motorcycle Stop and the Bent Rim Grill is highly recommended by bikers riding the route.
Pick up some Twisted Sister souvenirs, try out some of the Grill’s Texas Toothpicks (onion and jalapeño, battered and deep-fried, served with ranch sauce) and bike-themed meals (including an Indian Chief or a Cushman burger), or even stay overnight at The Historic Leakey Inn, which comes recommended.
Ride like a cowboy
The 336 may be heading into Whitetail Deer country but the twists, turns and dips of this road will make you feel like you’re riding in a rodeo. With lots of wildlife in the local area, it’s best to take it steady over all the humps and bumps of this particularly twisting sister.
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From here, you can admire the West Frio River, which flows alongside some of the route, before the road straightens out and meets Highway 41. Either cut across to the final ranch route, 335, on Highway 41 or dual-sport riders can take the RR3235 for 25 miles to Barksdale, a small ranch town.
See the Devil’s country
If you’re heading down Highway 41 in the afternoon or early evening, bypassing the 335 and riding south to the Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area is a must-do. A Texan landmark, the 140ft-deep cavern is home to around three million Mexican free-tailed bats, which stream out of the hole at sunset from late spring to early autumn. If you’re visiting at a different time of year, there’s also 1,860 acres of wilderness to take a break from your bike in.
Back on the road, the final Sister, 335, will continue to challenge and treat you to some great turns and views. The latter part of the road hugs closely to the Nueces River, which flows down into the Gulf of Mexico, and heads down into the towns of Barksdale and Camp Wood. From here, you can turn back on to the 337 to continue east or, in true American style, celebrate your trip in one of Camp Hill’s many eateries.