Cyclists take to a car-free Broadway street during Síclovía. The free event returns for 10th year.
Cyclists take to a car-free Broadway during the fall 2018 Síclovía. The free event is returning Sunday. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Dust off those helmets and tune up those bicycles. San Antonio’s Síclovía is back.

Organized by the YMCA of Greater San Antonio, Síclovía will return Sunday for the first time since fall 2019, just in time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the free biannual event, which launched in 2011.

Cyclists, skaters, skateboarders, and pedestrians can bike, ride, run, or walk from Roosevelt Park to Confluence Park between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in what organizers are calling “the Mission Reach route,” said Shannon Gowen, senior director of mission advancement and communications for the YMCA of Greater San Antonio. The route will be closed to motor vehicle traffic during that time, Gowen said.

Síclovía’s comeback marks a return to normalcy, YMCA organizers told the San Antonio Report on Thursday. The response from community members to get involved in this Síclovía has been staggering, Gowen said.

“The vendor calls — we were overwhelmed with the response, and I think that’s just because of how few events there have been since COVID. They were excited for an opportunity to reach out to the public,” Gowen said. “We’re all excited to see other people and feel like ‘I’m a part of a community again.'”

Past San Antonio Síclovías have grown in popularity from 15,000 participants in the beginning to up to 83,000 people in attendance, Gowen said. To date, roughly 977,156 people have participated in the local Síclovías, according to the YMCA’s event website.

Veronica Wong-Rizo, the YMCA of Greater San Antonio’s senior vice president of operations, said she and other organizers were disappointed to have to cancel the spring Síclovía this year in the face of the delta variant, but they are glad to bring the event back in time for its 10th anniversary.

Vendor booths, active stops, bicycle tune-up stations, painting stations, and games including lotería will be set up along the 1.4-mile route, allowing participants to pause and interact with others, Wong-Rizo said. YMCA staff will be asking vendors and participants to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines throughout the event to protect people from the spread of COVID-19, she added.

The YMCA of Greater San Antonio has also partnered up with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District to offer free COVID-19 vaccinations at stops along the route, Gowen said.

“Just make sure that you take all the safety precautions,” Wong-Rizo said. “Pack your water bottle — we’ll have plenty of water stations along the route — sunscreen is important, sunglasses, helmet, hand sanitizer. … Take all the safety precautions.”

Lindsey Carnett covers the environment, science and utilities for the San Antonio Report. A native San Antonian, she graduated from Texas A&M University in 2016 with a degree in telecommunication media...