Councilmen Ron Nirenberg (D8) and Roberto Treviño (D1) look on during the 19th annual Walk & Roll Rally. Photo by Scott Ball.

On any given morning, San Antonians can be found sitting in vehicular traffic or fighting for parking spots. But the 20th Annual Walk and Roll Rally will invite residents on Friday, May 6, to challenge the way the city moves – through a celebration of cycling, walking and public transportation.

The popup rally takes place at Main Plaza between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Hosted by the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the rally invites residents to walk, bike, or take the bus to the event. VIA Metropolitan Transit will also provide free bus transportation for riders who board with a bike on the day of the rally.

The rally is the signature kick off for National Bike Month, which Alamo Area MPO celebrates with free community events that allow residents to share their love of walking and bicycling. The MPO often asks for residents’ feedback to improve transportation options, and has supported the implementation of initiatives such as Vision Zero and the Safe Passing ordinance, while working to make walking and bicycling safe for residents in San Antonio and its surrounding counties.

Attendees can expect to enjoy a free breakfast, live music by Matt Kitchen and a special bicycle contest with door prizes that include free bikes for “Best Throwback Bike,” “Sorriest Bike,” and most creative “Wild Card” bike. 

Anyone is invited to attend and hear local dignitaries including Marina Gavito, executive director for Tech Bloc and master of ceremonies for the event, Robert Rivard, director for The Rivard Report, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, and San Antonio River Authority General Manager Suzanne Scott.

“(The rally) is important because exercise and clean air are important,” Wolff said. “The more people who bike or walk to work, the healthier they are and the less vehicles we have on the road polluting the air. The rally is a good way to get people excited about walking and biking for commuting purposes.”

Following the bike contest awards, Wolff and Scott will lead a bike ride along the Mission Reach. Individuals who want to join the bike ride should meet at the Bexar County Courthouse at 9 a.m.

Bluebonnets brighten the trail along the Mission Reach. Photo by Al Rendon/SARA.
Bluebonnets brighten the trail along the Mission Reach. Photo by Al Rendon/SARA.

Participants will ride through the King William district and by the Blue Star Complex, an example of how thoughtful development can preserve and celebrate surrounding nature. The ride will continue along the San Antonio River banks, providing riders with an opportunity to stop at four of the five San Antonio Missions, which are the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Texas.

The ride along Mission Reach will also “provide an up-close look at the growing population of birds and other wildlife that are returning to the river since the completion of the restoration project,” Scott said.

Alamo Area MPO will host several fun community events during National Bike Month. For more information about coming events, contact the MPO’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Planner Allie Blazosky at blazosky@alamoareampo.org or 210-230-6911.

“San Antonio has some work to do in terms of walkability and public transportation, but the first step is that we need to be committed to doing our individual parts to make it better,” Gavito said. “Whether that’s voting on transportation issues or taking VIA or biking to work once a week, month whatever – the point is we can start today.”

For more information about the Rally or official Bicycle Contest Rules, click here.

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Top Image: (On left) Council members Ron Nirenberg (D8) and Roberto Treviño (D1) look on during the 19th annual Walk & Roll Rally. Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Lea Thompson

Lea Thompson, a former reporter at the Rivard Report, is a Texas native who has lived in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. She enjoys exploring new food and culture events.