My husband and I lived in Austin for six years while I was in graduate school, and the thing we missed most when we moved back to San Antonio was abundant, user-friendly green space. We lived in Married Student Housing on Town Lake, now Lady Bird Lake, and the location was/is pretty hard to beat. However, the addition of these new segments to the original River Walk, not to mention the Howard Peak Greenway Trail System, means that San Antonio is now in the same league (or even better) than Austin. (Pride again. Please forgive me.)
I wrote about the Mission Reach in an earlier post, but my husband and I tweaked our route this past weekend when a friend, once a long-time resident of San Antonio, came for a visit. Here’s how to ride B-cycles from the Blue Star Arts Complex to Mission San Jose, approximately 4.5 miles, in just over an hour and a half, while enjoying birds, bluebonnets and blue skies along the way:
1. Park at Blue Star, 1414 S. Alamo.
2. Check out a bike from the San Antonio B-cycle station. We have an annual membership, but a one-day (24-hour) rental fee is $10. Bring your credit card and a bike helmet. We also packed a picnic. Each bike has a roomy basket. Bring along a pair of binoculars, a.k.a. birdnoculars, too. Birds sighted included blue-winged teals, green herons, red-shouldered hawks, yellow-crowned night herons, and Egyptian geese that must have escaped from someone’s aviary. (They’re native to Africa.)
3. Head south along the river. It’s pretty much downhill going this direction.
4. So that you aren’t charged any additional fees, check your B-cycles in and back out at Roosevelt Park, Concepción Park, Mission Road, VFW Boulevard, and Mission San Jose*, which is currently the southernmost docking station. You have to dock your B-cycle every 30 minutes. Watch B-cycle’s demo video to familiarize yourself with this process.
5. Picnic at San Jose under the shade of an oak tree. Enjoy Blessed Virgin Mary, quinceañera and spiny lizard sightings on the grounds of Mission San Jose.
6. Check out San Jose’s renovated chapel before jumping on VIA Bus #42, headed north. Ask the driver to please let you off at Brackenridge High School. Walk north along the River Walk back to Blue Star.
7. Enjoy a cold brew at the Blue Star Brewing Company and celebrate San Antonio’s added fabulousness.
*Keep your eyes on the mission’s bell tower from the river. This part of the ride was a little tricky. The first sign pointing to San Jose led us to an unfinished piece of the trail. We rode farther down the river to Padre Park and then up Pyron to the mission.