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VOL. 131 | NO. 110 | Thursday, June 02, 2016

Wiedower

Lance Wiedower

San Antonio By Bike Share

By LANCE WIEDOWER

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One of my newest travel interests is renting a bicycle. For years, I’ve enjoyed getting out and running. It’s a great way to exercise while seeing a city. But as bike lanes and dedicated trails grow in popularity, renting a bicycle for the day or even an hour has become an intriguing option for combining the need for exercise with the opportunity to explore a city.

Bicycle rental companies are great, obviously. But a growing option is bike share, a possibility in Memphis. As a traveler, I hope it happens.

A few weeks ago in San Antonio I learned how a bike-share system can work well, at least for a visitor. San Antonio BCycle is available to anyone 18 and older, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There are passes available, but for travelers looking for a way to get around the city to explore, I found the day rental easy enough.

It’s an especially important way for anyone without a car to explore the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The four southernmost Spanish colonial missions – Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada – along with the Alamo are part of the park. The Alamo is in Downtown San Antonio, so it’s easy enough for visitors to get there without a car or bicycle.

The paved trail winds from the busy Downtown Riverwalk stretch past the four missions, some eight miles south of the Alamo. As it winds through the city, it travels through historic neighborhoods, entertainment districts and quiet rural areas.

It’s peaceful, but also hot. May in San Antonio is pleasant enough, but on a long stretch of paved bike path with no shade, sunscreen is necessary.

The paved trail is open to walkers, runners or cyclists, and it’s wide enough for passing traffic.

The San Antonio bike share is simple enough, and works well along the Riverwalk. Bike racks are spread throughout the city. Each rack has a credit card machine where I paid $10 for 24-hour bike usage.

The only catch is the bikes must be checked in every 30 minutes or it begins charging a minimal fee.

The racks are scattered throughout the city, not to mention several spaced along the Riverwalk path to the missions. The stations are located at all the missions, so we’d check in the bikes and have as much time as we wanted to walk around before checking out a bike to hit the path again.

My only complaint? A few restaurants, food trucks or breweries could work spaced out farther south along the path. The Blue Star Arts Complex in Southtown is a great area to shop, eat or have a few beverages. The problem is it’s the first real stop headed south toward the missions, so be careful if you stop for a beer at Blue Star Brewing.

It’s a long way south fueled only by beer. Carry plenty of water, and if a helmet is important – not legally required in Texas – you’ll need to get one.

Contact Lance Wiedower at tripsbylance.com.

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