Meet the Faces of SATX Social Ride
by Lily Lowder
September 18, 2020
Every Tuesday night, lucky spectators in downtown San Antonio can witness an incredible phenomenon – a band of more than 200 cyclists rolling through the street, music blasting, lights bright, with the occasional puppy or baby in tow.
Prior to the pandemic, the city’s largest bike group – SATX Social Ride – provided safe, comfortable, and fun group rides for more than 200 cyclists every week. Today, SATX Social Ride encourages bicyclists to stay active and outdoors, engage in small group rides while following safety precautions, and support local bike shops.
Meet two of the faces behind SATX Social Ride –Jeff Moore and Yvette Benavidez.
Jeff Moore, SATX Social Ride Founder
How did SATX Social Ride get started?
SATX Social Ride started about eight years ago with a small group of friends. We were riding downtown on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. That long ago, there wasn’t much traffic downtown. Over the years, our small group expanded. Our friends told their friends who told their friends.
Through word of mouth, we grew to 50 or 60 riders. When we added social media, we grew to the size we are now. Pre- COVID times, we were averaging around 200 riders every Tuesday night.
How do you make sure that everyone feels comfortable on a ride?
We make sure that our group is a no-judgment zone. It’s not competitive and it doesn’t matter what bike you ride. It’s a social ride so we want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable.
"Our mission is to get more people on bikes – including folks that haven’t ridden their bike in ten or twenty years."
How do you keep riders safe?
Safety is one of our main concerns. We’re always thinking about it. We do everything we can to control the environment. Our Ride Marshals are some of the best mechanics in San Antonio. They can assist with a flat tire, broken chains and more. Nobody is left behind.
What recommendations do you have for someone starting their own group ride?
If you’re starting a small group, as a leader, be aware of the rest of your group. Keep someone in the back – whether you have 5, 10 or 50 riders. Watch your traffic lights; I watch the crosswalk light to see if it turns first. Make sure that everyone can stop safely.
How can we support new cyclists?
We’ve seen a lot of new riders who are getting on the streets for the first time during COVID. We can help them by supporting cycling on social media, providing bicycle safety classes, and make sure they’re familiar with safe cycling attire (bright colors, reflectors, bike lights, and helmets).
Yvette Hernandez, SATX Social Ride Organizer
What's your cycling story?
I was athletic as a kid in middle school, then not ever again till I found biking. I’ve been riding for 7 years now. I started with 5 miles then worked my way up to several 100-mile rides and half triathlons.
Cycling got me out of a depression, and helped me come out of my shell. Depression had zapped all physical activity from my life. When I started cycling agin, my health improved drastically – endurance and stamina. I had energy again to play with my children! SATX Social Ride had a lot to do with it. I also went vegan and that helped too.
What tips do you have for riding with children?
I ride with the baby that I nanny, Monday through Friday, all around downtown. My children are 15 and 19 and we also ride. If you’re riding with small children, pack lots of snacks, water and toys. (Do not hand them a phone or iPad).
We ride about 10 miles every day, stopping a couple times to run around and snack. My favorite spots right now are Brown Coffee, Essex Modern City, Confluence Park, Yanaguana at Hemisfair, and Brackenridge Park. When the parks are open, we park hop and splash pad hop too. We love to check out different coffee shops. The missions are also a very family friendly ride.
We’ll continue to wait patiently for the next SATX Social Ride. In the meantime, enjoy exploring your city on two wheels by participating in Bike There month! Participate in our first-ever Scavenger Hunt and log your rides in Alamo Commutes. You'll be entered to win a $50 gift card and other special prizes!