Be Healthy. B-Cycle.
I grew up on a ranch in South Texas. We had to drive six miles into town; it was four miles on dirt roads until we hit pavement. Consequently, riding a bike on the streets of the seventh largest city in the nation doesn’t come naturally to me. But I’ve learned that riding with good guides and a bunch of fun-loving friends can calm the butterflies and provide a point of view you never get behind the wheel of a car.
Recently, my colleagues at San Antonio Sports, our city’s nonprofit sports commission, hooked up with JD Simpson of San Antonio B-Cycle and Matt Driffill of the San Antonio River Authority to take a two-wheeled tour of the Mission Reach, the eight-mile ecosystem restoration and recreation project along our river, south of downtown.
For many in our group, this was an introduction to B-Cycle, which is a bike-sharing program. Though it’s only a year and a half year old, San Antonio has one of the most utilized programs in the nation with a total of 30 docking stations and about 230 bikes in and around downtown. Five stations were recently added along the Mission Reach.
Bike sharing makes it economical and convenient to use bicycles for trips that are too far to walk but too short to drive. The idea is you pay a usage fee at any docking station (we started our ride at the Blue Star Arts Center), ride your bike a short distance, dock it, run your errand then grab another bike and you’re off to the next docking station. Twenty-four hour ($10), seven-day ($24) or annual passes ($60) are available. And as long as you dock the bike within 30 minutes, you don’t encounter any other charges. It’s a bike “share,” not a bike rental, so the short times make sense. The bikes are sturdy, 3-speed Treks, not exactly lightweight racing bikes, but that’s not their purpose. They even have a very handy basket in front to carry your stuff.
We had a blast on our B-Cycle tour and saw parts of our community we never would have seen from a car. Give it a try; you might just become an annual card-carrying San Antonio B-Cycle member. I did!
Mary Ullmann Japhet
San Antonio Sports
Associate Executive Director/External Affairs
Mayor’s Fitness Council, 2012 Vice Chair