The sustainability group at architecture firm Overland Partners calculated that in the span of one year, their employees, while commuting to and from work, drive enough miles to circle the Earth 10 times.
In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint while reaping the physical and mental benefits of riding a bicycle, the firm will cycle to Hays Street Bridge for lunch on Thursday, May 28, from their office just north of downtown at 203 E. Jones (in the same building as Rosella Coffee). Everyone is invited. The riding group will depart at noon, but you can join them on the bridge anytime after 12:15 p.m. to enjoy your packed lunch – it’s BYOL (bring your own lunch).
Overland Partners Sustainability Coordinator Helena Zambrano said she bikes from her home in Dignowity Hill to her downtown office everyday. She said she doesn’t think San Antonio is a bikeable city – yet.
“Something we have in San Antonio are roads, plenty of them, so San Antonio could be a very bikeable city very easily,” she said. “Most drivers in San Antonio are not used to sharing the roads with cyclists, so they do not know what they should be doing when they encounter a cyclist, road-safety wise.”
Besides the obvious benefits of cycling such as health benefits, safer streets, cleaner air, reduced traffic congestion and road accidents, cycling promotes economic growth. BikeTexas Membership Coordinator Jack Sanford said bicycle infrastructure spurs neighborhood development and sales while diverting people from driving cars, decreasing the need for road maintenance.
Zambrano said San Antonio doesn’t have a fluid bicycle infrastructure system.
“Bike lanes are not connected to each other, we have bike lines that stop short before a highway, and bike lanes that do not go anywhere,” she said.
Some of the safest bicycle lanes are those constructed with a physical barrier such as a raised curb or planters, lanes that San Antonio has failed to install.
“Oftentimes bike lanes are shared with bus lanes or used as parking by cars, which makes cycling in the city inconvenient and unsafe,” she said.
According to data in the city’s 2011 Bike Master Plan, many people are not riding bikes because they don’t feel safe in traffic.
But Overland Partners is taking the plunge and hopping on their bikes to get their blood pumping, hearts beating and brains ticking. Regular exercise leads to better memory and thinking skills, so the mid-day break may get the creative juices flowing for those at Overland Partners, a company that thrives off of innovative ideas.
“It is a fun event, and the little exercise in the middle of the day relieves stress,” Zambrano said. “All of this promotes the flow and sharing of creative ideas.”
*Featured/top image: A group of cyclists cruise down South Alamo Street towards Southtown on the Fourth of July, 2014. Photo by Scott Ball.