About 100 cyclists crowded into Burleson Yard Beer Garden on Tuesday evening, many wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Live 2 Ride.”
The gathering was the kickoff event for the Live to Ride fund, which will raise money for projects designed to promote awareness about bike safety in San Antonio and sharing the road with two-wheeled vehicles.
San Antonio Area Foundation CEO Marjie French announced the creation of the Live to Ride fund in April and welcomed the cyclists to the event, which also started the regular Tuesday bike ride of SATX Social Ride.
“I’m so proud to be a part of the Live to Ride movement,” she said. “The San Antonio Area Foundation is about helping people improve the quality of life in San Antonio, and this is what this is about.”
The foundation, which manages more than $900 million in charitable assets, partnered with the 80/20 Foundation and the City of San Antonio to raise money to fund bicycle safety projects. The 80/20 Foundation, which gives grants to local nonprofits trying to attract entrepreneurs to San Antonio, also pledged to match up to $200,000 donated to the Live to Ride fund.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg urged attendees to speak to their neighbors, friends, and local businesses to help them understand why investing in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is important. Residents in the urban core may embrace protected bicycle corridors, but people further out from the city center may not, he said.
“When we commit ourselves to resources that improve the streets for everyone, that means people who haven’t seen a bicycle for the last 25 years are lending to that effort,” he said.
Every cyclist and pedestrian deserves to be safe on the streets, he said. Two cyclists have been killed this year after being struck by motorists. Surgeon Naji Kayruz died in February and cycling community leader Tito Bradshaw died in April.
“We’ve lost too many people – Dr. K, Tito,” he said. “If we’re going to honor their memory, it means we have to turn our prayers and condolences into action. And to honor our memory, we [must] leave our city a better place for pedestrians and cyclists.”
80/20 Foundation Executive Director Alexandra Frey told the crowd that she had moved to San Antonio eight years ago and still has the same conversation with people she meets around the city about bicycling infrastructure.
“I can’t tell you how many times I meet people and at some point in the conversation, they say they sold their bike because they don’t feel safe [riding it] in San Antonio,” she said.
Jeff Moore, founder of SATX Social Ride, closed the kickoff event with a brief thanks to the cycling community, and said he was proud to be part of Live to Ride. Moore sits on the Live to Ride fund committee with French, Frey, City Manager Erik Walsh, and Alexis Velasquez of the H-E-B Cycling Team and the San Antonio Cycling Alliance.
“We need to get word out about this link,” he said, pointing to a URL emblazoned on a banner above his head; people can donate to the fund online here. “And we need to get ready to ride – two minutes, meet outside.”
Two minutes later, cyclists thickly clustered on Austin Street and began moving north, on their regular Tuesday night social ride.