During this time of social distancing, many of us have adopted new hobbies or gone back to something that we haven’t done in a long time: from painting and crafting, to cooking and exercising, among many other things.
In my case, during the first month of quarantine, I smiled while I rode my bike for the first time in many, many years. It brought back many memories, most dating back to nearly 10 years ago, when I was recently married and had just moved to San Antonio.
My husband was able to capture how I was smiling on that day and I promised myself that I was going to do this more often because it truly made me happy. Since then, we have tried to go bike riding more frequently and will probably go often once we start having cooler temperatures in San Antonio. My husband pulls my 2-year-old in a tow-behind bike trailer carrier, while my 5-year-old and I ride along, but he also gets into the trailer with his brother sometimes.
This activity has giving us the opportunity to explore the city on a bike and I have been surprised to find that there are numerous paved trails to discover San Antonio on a bicycle.
Cool fact: Did you know that here in San Antonio we have the Greenway Trails, a growing network of approximately 80 miles of developed accessible trails? This could be for experienced riders but to me, it’s pretty amazing to discover how these trailheads, parks, and neighborhoods are interconnected, encouraging an active and healthy lifestyle.
As a family, we have our favorite parks to ride and will discuss next. Before I start, please consider a few safety tips: wear a helmet and other protective equipment, wear sunscreen, have plenty of water with you to hydrate, make sure your phone is fully charged, pay attention to the road, and, if possible, try to ride with someone else.
Stone Oak Park
Since we live in the north part of the city, we started exploring the Stone Oak Park that has a 2.7-mile trail. It also has a playground and fitness equipment that as in many other parks, we are not allowed to use right now due to the pandemic.
Panther Springs Trail
This one is also in the Stone Oak area, but we feel it’s a little bit difficult since it has some hills and numerous winding roads. To get to the trail you can either start in the Panther Springs Dog park, the Wilderness Oak Elementary School, or the Parman Library.
Phil Hardberger Park
This is another favorite because the East section has many shaded areas, the landscape is beautiful and we usually see many animals, including deer that riders should look out for. For those who like to do mountain biking, there are also numerous fun and challenging trails for riders of all skill levels.
The Hike & Bike trail along the San Antonio River connects San Antonio’s five historic Missions. From Mission Espada to the Alamo, passing by Mission San Juan, Mission San José, and Mission Concepcion, you can explore them all on a bicycle. Each Mission is about 2.5 miles from each other. My husband and I have done the whole tour, but we have only done part of it with our kids since it could be a little long for a 5-year-old and as you approach downtown, there are areas where you must ride on the streets.
This is a great park to enjoy, walk, and ride a bike in. Their trails have allowed us as a family to ride some distance and have fun. McAlister park has different loops: the Blue Loop Trail is a natural and asphalt trail that covers 6.5 miles, while the Red Trail is for those experienced riders that like to mountain bike with over two miles of natural trails.
Brackendrige Park, next to the San Antonio Zoo, has been a local favorite for decades! It has tons of paved roads to bike for beginners, which are perfect for families, and it also has off-road opportunities.
Leon Creek Greenway
Starting at the Valero Trailhead of 1604, the Leon Creek Greenway has more than 20 miles of paved and natural trails. This park is usually crowded, so I feel my 5-year-old is not as comfortable riding here, but my husband loves it for mountain biking by himself and putting in long miles since it connects with other parks.
We are just starting our journey in the “bike world,” and if you have any other favorites, please comment with your recommendations. I’m sure my family and others will appreciate it.