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San Antonio B-Cycle will unveil its brand-new “B-Cycle 2.0” bikes, as well as its upgraded bikeshare programs and membership options, at an open house on Friday, July 1 from 6-8 p.m. at its new Hemisfair office inside the historic Pereida house on 510 S. Alamo St.
There are 23 historic properties on the Hemisfair campus, and B-Cycle shares the 1,640 sq. ft. Pereida house with Paleteria San Antonio, one of many businesses that will bring new life to the mid and late nineteenth-century houses that have been adapted to serve the visiting public.
According to Drew Hicks, Hemisfair communications manager, the nomenclature of the homes align with the last name of the family historically associated with the building, so each has a unique name. Hemisfair has been stabilizing and restoring the homes to keep with state and local protections, and the goal is for the buildings to become “park activators,” Hicks said.
“B-Cycle is a perfect partner for the mission of the park. We see them as a community resource and they are on board to take ownership of a historic space and respect it,” Hicks said. “In the same way that we want these houses to be ‘park activators,’ we want to build an ecosystem with our tenants.”
The open house will provide fun-filled activities, food, giveaways, and drinks, and it will additionally tie in with Hemisfair’s First Friday activities. The joint celebration also will serve to commemorate San Antonio B-Cyle’s 5-year anniversary, which took place in March, and Hicks will initiate the ribbon cutting to mark the occasion.
“We are a neighbor in Southtown, so we want to provide a family-friendly alternative (to First Friday),” Hicks said. “Yanaguana Garden park is open from 7 a.m.-midnight, and we have food trucks come in (every week), live music, and we bring in a ton of artists, artisans, and crafts people that line the promenade.”
During the San Antonio B-Cycle open house, Hemisfair activities in the area will include hip hop dance classes for kids and adults, free beverages by Mike’s Hard Lemonade, a performance by San Antonio Dance Umbrella, and a tournament of RoTenGo, a mix of pingpong and tennis.
Hicks believes that San Antonio B-Cycle’s seamless transition into Pereida house only makes sense. The company has been in the Hemisfair area since 2011 as the original office used to be located on the corner of Alamo and Cesar E. Chavez streets, but now they are just one building north of the perimeter.
“B-Cycle was here before we broke ground on Hemisfair’s redevelopment,” Hicks said. “They have a bigger footprint now and our mission is totally aligned (with theirs), people come out here to explore downtown (on the bikes) and we do the same.”
In addition to the introduction of the new “B-Cycle 2.0” bikes, which are “white and sleek,” people at the open house will be allowed to come inside the office and tour the premises, said J. D. Simpson, executive director of San Antonio Bike Share, the nonprofit that operates San Antonio B-Cycle.
“We have a new board of directors and membership and ridership is up,” Simpson said. “There was some press last year indicating some problems, so we want to make sure that people know that things are doing very well. We’re growing, changing up the program, adding some features, and a new bike.”
Simpson called the increase in membership and ridership a “two-fold” endeavor.
“As you know, we offer a day pass or you can even buy an annual membership, as well as other options in between,” she said. “We’re getting more members, but in addition to that, people are riding more.”
The new bikeshare program offerings are going to be more in line with user feedback. Simpson said B-Cycle has been sending a lot of surveys to residents and they’ve gathered information from people about how they want to use the program.
“We’ll be aligning our new offerings to fit those needs, and the new program offerings will take effect in July,” she said. “You get a bike, you ride it for 30 minutes, and then you have to dock the bike— all that’s going to change,” Simpson added.
Due to limited storage space, a few of the new “B-Cycle 2.0” bikes are already out in the field on some of the bike kiosks around the city and people have been riding them, Simpson said.
The open house at Hemisfair will serve as an official introduction to the bikes and those who haven’t seen them will be exposed to the new design.
“Eventually (the new bike) will take over (the kiosks),” Simpson said. “We’re just introducing and integrating another option as the old bikes will still be available.”
Attendees, both adults and children, on July 1 will have access to a bike station outside of B-Cycle’s new office, so they can roam the grounds and grab a paleta to cool off from the summer heat.
“We think the businesses (Paleteria San Antonio and B-Cycle) make sense together,” Hicks said. “Get a cool treat and check out what B-Cycle is all about.”
Simpson is looking forward to the future.
“We’ve got a lot of really cool things going on and many of them have changed and improved,” Simpson said. “Things are rolling along quite nicely.”
To view a map of all the B-Cycle stations around the city, click here.
Top image: A B-Cycle station in San Antonio. Photo by Leo Suarez.