It’s that time of year again when San Antonio residents take to the streets of downtown by bike, rollerblades, wagons, unicycles, or by foot for Síclovía. The city wide exercise-focused event, which takes place Sunday, April 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature a new route — the longest one in Síclovía history — to take participants through downtown San Antonio.
This year’s route, named the “Downtown Route,” was revealed during a press conference Wednesday morning at Travis Park. The route, which begins at Maverick Park and ends at Roosevelt Park, will connect the southern portion of the Broadway Route with the northern portion of the Southtown Route, taking participants past San Antonio landmarks like City Hall and the San Fernando Cathedral, as well as other favorite local hangouts along the way.
Past Síclovía events have featured routes on the Eastside, northern Broadway, and Southtown, but none have covered ground along Travis Street, North Flores Street, East Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard, and South St. Mary’s Street.
“Our goal is to change up the route from here on out,” said Stephanie Jerger, YMCA mission advancement communications director. Event organizers plan to hold it in multiple districts, eventually taking it all over the city.
Síclovía, an event organized by the YMCA of Greater San Antonio, takes place twice a year and aims to engage the community in physical fitness and healthy lifestyles, while experiencing city streets in a different way. The Síclovía in April will be the 10th event in five years.
In addition to cycling or jogging, there are many ways to join in on the fun. Free zumba and yoga classes, cooking demos, and other family-fun activities will be available along the 3.5 mile route. H-E-B, the event’s signature sponsor, will have representatives cycling up and down the route handing out water to the day’s participants, said Julie Bedingfield, H-E-B public affairs/health and wellness representative. This is the first time that an H-E-B store — the South Flores Market — will be on the Síclovía route.
The Síclovía app has made navigating the event much easier recent years, allowing participants to find each other along the route and to keep track of the activities schedule. This year, the app, which was originally developed for iPhone users, will be released to Android users as well. The app, which will be officially released in the coming weeks, will also feature photo sharing capabilities and live social media feeds.
Each year, the event has continued to attract a growing number of residents. In 2015, a record number of more than 70,000 people participated in the event. Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) said this year’s event will allow citizens to experience more than just community exercise.
“Downtown is experiencing a revitalization and this Síclovía really gets to announce that in a great, great way,” he said. “This is really important to the community because we want people to get out and experience the outdoors, and to come out and experience downtown.”
Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5) also voiced her support of the biannual event, saying it allows residents to “appreciate the city and its core” while positively affecting the city’s overall physical health.
Matt Mitchell, COO of the YMCA of Greater San Antonio, said that Síclovía’s positive effects extend past community involvement. According to Mitchell, 55.7% of the individuals who participated in Síclovía last September reported that they increased their physical activity levels after attending the event.
“So, of the over 70,000 individuals who came to Síclovía on the Sunday, over 41,000 of them were inspired to live healthier, more active lives,” he said. “They weren’t just inspired by it, but they executed on it, they actually did it, and that is the tremendous and impactful success factor and really good validation of the value of Síclovía and what it brings to our city.”
For more information on April’s Síclovía, click here.
*Top image: YMCA employees unveil the new Síclovía route at Travis Park. Photo by Scott Ball.