While more San Antonians are riding their bikes than ever, the city isn’t exactly a bicycle haven. It often ranks near the bottom of bike-friendly city lists, and pretty high on lists of most deadly cities for cyclists.

But this Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be a car-free place for families, newbies and the bike-curious to ride, as the YMCA of Greater San Antonio hosts its 21st Síclovía.

The free, bi-annual event closes city streets to vehicular traffic, lining the streets and filling the parks along the route with food trucks, live music, activities and booths offering everything from free COVID-19 and flu vaccines to neighborhood resources and products from local businesses.

Sunday’s Síclovía will be held along a midtown route that will include Crockett Park, Madison Square Park and Maverick Park.

Síclovía began in the fall of 2011 along Broadway; roughly 15,00 people participated. By 2013, the event regularly drew crowds of more than 60,000.

Suspended during the pandemic, the event started up again in the fall of 2021. Since then, the last three Síclovías have pulled in just over 22,000 people each time, giving the streets a more spacious feel as cyclists and pedestrians share the car-free streets.

But it can still get pretty crowded.

To reduce the risk of collisions and other accidents, the YMCA created a safety video that urges those on wheels to wear helmets. It directs cyclists to ride on the left side of the road, toward the center of the two-way traffic, with walkers and slower-moving traffic encouraged to stay to the right. Remember, it’s not a race!

And don’t congregate in the streets — that’s what the sidewalks are for. Pets are welcome, but must be on short leashes.

Along the route, group exercise demonstration classes will be held, including Zumba, line dancing, yoga and even a workout called “combat.” Here’s a schedule of those classes.

For those who can’t ride to Síclovía, the City of San Antonio offers free parking at metered spots on Sundays. Bikes can be transported via VIA Metropolitan Transit buses. Plan your trip with VIA’s  goMobile app, or visit the trip planning page.

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Tracy Idell Hamilton

Tracy Idell Hamilton covers business, labor and the economy for the San Antonio Report.