Man powered cyclists shared the roads with electric Jump bikes which were found along the route.
Cyclists share the road with an electric Jump bike. Other motorized vehicles also were found along the route. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Hundreds of bicycles streamed down St. Mary’s Street early Sunday afternoon. Cyclists and pedestrians stopped at ACE Mart for some Zumba and snacks, while down the road at Roosevelt Park kids ran up to a colorful inflated slide and got free bike helmets from the YMCA of Greater San Antonio

Four-year-old Major Cruz stood still as a YMCA staff member buckled a helmet strap under his chin. His mom, Sandra, said they had just moved to the area after three years in the Netherlands and were pleasantly surprised to see so many bicycles on the streets of San Antonio. It felt like a good transition from her former home, she said.

“[The Netherlands] is Bike City,” SandraCruz said. “Dutch people can really ride their bikes.”

YMCA of Greater San Antonio kicked off its 16th year of Síclovía on Sunday morning. The four-hour event was inspired by an event with a similar name – Ciclovía – which blocks off some major streets for bicyclists every Sunday in a few Colombian cities. San Antonio’s Síclovía is a semiannual event, with one taking place on the South Side and one on Broadway each year.

Sunday’s event started slow, with temperatures in the high 40s and a brisk wind pushing against cyclists and walkers. Some people biked with dogs in their baskets. Others attached little wagons with toddlers resting easy.

A few hours into Síclovía, the sun broke through the clouds and more people took to the streets. Debbie Stocks, a membership engagement representative at the Mays Family YMCA at Potranco, said she had seen fewer people overall than usual. She guessed it was because of the colder weather.

“I’d rather it be like this than when it’s hot and sweaty,” she joked.

Síclovía’s route started at H-E-B South Flores, wending its way south down to Mission Concepción. Cruz started her journey at Roosevelt Park and said her family members in the area suggested she participate in Síclovía to get to know San Antonio a bit more. She moved to the city on a military assignment and is still waiting for a lot of their belongings to catch up with them, she said.

“I love riding bikes but we don’t have ours yet,” she said. “We’re here to check it out and do it next year.”

Lauren Monreal walked from Roosevelt Park down St. Mary’s Street. She lives near the Pearl and can walk to and from that area but drives everywhere else within San Antonio. This was her first Síclovía, she said, and she just wanted to see what it was all about.

“It’s nice to be able to walk in the streets and everyone roaming around and not worrying about traffic,” she said.

Though Síclovía explicitly banned motorized vehicles including e-scooters, a few Lime and Razor scooters threaded their way through the streets. Yvonne Sanchez, senior membership director at the Mays Family YMCA at Potranco, said she wasn’t aware of efforts from volunteers or staffers to flag down people on scooters at Síclovía, but they do try to tell people to stick to walking or biking instead.

“Last time on Broadway there were more scooters, but I haven’t seen as many here as last Síclovía,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez has been to 12 Síclovía events now. She said the biggest draw to Síclovía is always the safety aspect.

“It’s three miles that people are able to ride [bikes] with their family without worrying about traffic,” Sanchez said.

The next Síclovía is planned for September on Broadway.

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.

Scott Ball is San Antonio Report's photo editor and grew up in San Antonio.