Thousands took to the streets Sunday to enjoy car-free lanes along Broadway Street for Síclovía, the YMCA of Greater San Antonio’s twice-a-year health and wellness festival.

For a five-hour period, streets closed from Mahncke Park south down to Alamo Plaza so families could run, ride bikes, take exercise classes, and play. Bike and pedestrian traffic took center stage as both residents and visitors experienced the city from a different point of view. The three-mile stretch of road closed to motor vehicles instead offered spots for YMCA group exercise classes, pet accessories vendors, and food trucks offering healthy fare.

This year Síclovía partnered with the City Manager’s 5K Walk and Run, which opened at 8 a.m., prior to Síclovía. The walk-and-run route began at Alamo Plaza, continued up Alamo Street through the Pearl, and back down Broadway to Alamo Plaza.

More than 150 city managers from cities around the world were in San Antonio on Sunday for the 103rd International City/County Management Association Annual Conference and many participated in the race. Participants were encouraged to attend Síclovía at the conclusion of the race.

“We’ve done this three-mile Síclovía route before,” said YMCA Director of Communications and Community Engagement Stephanie Jerger. “It’s such a great event that continues to grow, and the city continues to support [it]. It’s a free opportunity for the community.”

For the first time since its inception, Síclovía included an adaptive Reclovía aimed at including children with physical challenges, Jerger told the Rivard Report.

A child runs through a finish line after finishing an obstacle course during Síclovía.
A child runs through a finish line after completing an obstacle course during Síclovía. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

“We partnered with the Believe It Foundation and their adaptive bikes,” Jerger said. “The foundation brought six adaptive bikes for individuals to try out. Everyone in that area, at [Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s former campaign headquarters] on Broadway right across from Maverick Park, works with youth and adults that have any type of physical or developmental disability.”

The goal of Síclovía, Jerger added, is not only to be inclusive, but to inspire participants to learn about healthy behaviors – be it by taking an exercise class or trying a healthy recipe – and to continue those habits at home.

The two citywide events Sunday – Síclovía and the City Manager’s 5K Walk and Run – also marked the kickoff of an additional health and wellness initiative spearheaded by the Tricentennial Commission called 300 Miles. In partnership with the YMCA, Baptist Health System, and Tenet Healthcare Foundation, the program encourages community members to complete 300 miles of walking, running, and/or biking in seven months.

Sunday’s Síclovía drew an estimated 60,000 peopleaccording to Jerger. Last March, Síclovía drew about 83,000 participants, organizers said.

Síclovía attendees work out through a variety of ways during the event.
Síclovía attendees do different kinds of exercise during the event. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Participants were encouraged to attend Brackenridge Park’s seventh annual Parktoberfest at the conclusion of Síclovía. Parktoberfest is meant to celebrate San Antonio’s German heritage and embrace the unique history of Koehler Park. The free event included beer samples and a live performance by the Beethoven Maennerchorthe San Antonio Youth Ballet, and live animal exhibits.

To find out more about Síclovía, click here.

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Janel Sterbentz is founder and director of the bike advocacy group Bike San Antonio. She has a master's of urban studies and six years of professional transportation planning experience and also founded...