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On Tuesday, cyclists will gather to help launch a new fund dedicated to raising bike safety awareness and improving San Antonio infrastructure to be more bike-friendly.
The San Antonio Area Foundation announced the creation of the Live to Ride fund in April. Leaders from both the Area Foundation and the 80/20 Foundation will join the cyclists and Mayor Ron Nirenberg at Tuesday’s launch, which will be followed by a bike ride through downtown and the city’s West Side.
The kickoff event coincides with the regular Tuesday night rides of SATX Social Ride, which draws hundreds of cyclists every week for a downtown bike ride.
Area Foundation spokeswoman Rebecca Helterbrand said fund organizers chose to stage the Live to Ride kickoff as part of an existing cyclist tradition to better engage with San Antonio cyclists.
“It’s important for us to plug into what the cycling community is already doing,” Helterbrand said.
SATX Social Ride founder Jeff Moore is one of the Live to Ride fund committee members, bringing insight from San Antonio’s urban cycling community. He said San Antonio cyclists are optimistic about this push for bicycle safety – though apprehensive, as past bike safety efforts have not brought lasting change.
“We’ve been down this road before,” he said. “There have been … other endeavors to promote cycling safety throughout the city and they’ve come short sometimes. This time seems like it’s different. It’s a much larger-scale effort than we’ve seen and it’s from a different sector, from the official fundraising sphere in San Antonio, with the Area Foundation and 80/20 Foundation. They have a track record of making a positive difference in the city.”
Organizers are expecting 200 cyclists at the Live to Ride launch, which starts at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday at Burleson Yard Beer Garden.
Fund organizers and Nirenberg will speak at the event about the importance of bike safety and why the Live to Ride fund was created, Helterbrand said. The fund came from Geekdom Chairman Lorenzo Gomez’s idea to take the deaths of cyclists Naji Kayruz and Tito Bradshaw and use the momentum to enact real change for cyclists in San Antonio, she added.
“It’s capturing his lightning in a bottle to create social change,” she said of Gomez.
The San Antonio Area Foundation manages $900 million in charitable assets and over 500 donor-assisted funds. The 80/20 Foundation, which also pledged to match up to $200,000 in donations from community members to the Live to Ride fund, gives grants to local nonprofits that try to attract entrepreneurs to San Antonio.
Leaders from the Area Foundation and the 80/20 Foundation join Moore, City Manager Erik Walsh, and Alexis Velasquez of the H-E-B Cycling Team and San Antonio Cycling Alliance on the Live to Ride committee, which will review safety initiative projects and decide which ones to fund.