Registration is now open for the narrated World Heritage “Tour de las Misiones” Social Bike Ride on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 8-11 a.m.
The family-friendly mission-to-mission ride, organized and led by the SATX Social Ride – Bike Club, is part of San Antonio’s inaugural World Heritage Festival, a weekend-long celebration honoring the one-year anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage designation of the four Missions and Alamo.
The ride will start at Mission Park Pavilion and from there, branch off into three different routes. The family-friendly seven-miler route will ride to Mission San Jose, a 14-mile option goes through Mission Concepción, The Alamo and San Fernando Cathedral and the final route visits all Missions, The Alamo and San Fernando Cathedral, totaling 22 miles.
Cristian Sandoval, director of Earn A Bike Co-op, is directing the ride and said it is not a race, but rather an educational and family-friendly ride at a leisurely speed.
“It’s a time to bring your hybrid (bicycle), have fun, take it easy and get to learn about the Missions and how beautiful San Antonio is,” he said.
Each ride will be narrated by historians who will touch on the history of each landmark for up to 20 minutes. At each stop, riders will receive a snack and commemorative stamp to add to their World Heritage passport which will document their trip through the Mission Reach.
Sandoval said biking is the best way to travel the Mission Reach, which was completed with trails and other recreational elements in 2013. The course is flat, simple and takes riders through not only the Missions, but the surrounding Southside neighborhoods.
“You’re going to be able to see the infrastructure, artwork on the river, beautiful bridges, water stops, decks for kayaks to go down, and then at the same time you are going to be exposed to neighborhoods around the Missions (that) have a lot of history because they represent what San Antonio is,” Sandoval said. “It’s going to give you a good picture of our Southside.”
Ride registration is open to everyone online here. Kids under 12 ride for free, but youth aged 12-17 must pay $15 and adults must pay $25 to participate. After Aug. 31, all prices will increase by $10. Sandoval said they will not cap any of the rides, but the first 400 to register are guaranteed a gift bag and commemorative t-shirt designed by San Antonio artist Cruz Ortiz.
All three routes will finish up where they started at Mission Park Pavilion, where the World Heritage Festival will feature live music, local food vendors, exhibitors, educational activities and other family events. That night, a diverse lineup of local musicians will take the stage to showcase the “musical sounds of San Antonio.”
The grand finale of the festival will take place during a celebratory mass Sunday morning at one of the Missions.
The narrated bike ride is a pivotal part of the World Heritage Festival. There are a lot of people in San Antonio who want to learn about the Missions, Sandoval said, especially now that they have been designated World Heritage sites.
“We believe a lot of people in San Antonio don’t know the history of the Missions,” Sandoval said. “Getting to know all the Missions and (their) history in one day is difficult and no one (actually does it), so I think we’re going to be able to appeal to local tourism. It is a great opportunity for anyone to come out and see it.
“We just want to expose (this route) to people and show them this fantastic way to tour the Mission Reach and to share our culture and our World Heritage designation.”
Top image: Riders gather together for the second leg of the family ride during the annual Mission to Mission charity bike tour at Mission Park on Saturday, December 5, 2015. Photo by Matthew Busch.