May is National Bike Month and a group of local women have heard the call. LezRideSA is an LGBTQ Bike Social providing and promoting a safe space for all cyclists. They meet on Tuesday at 6:30 at Luther’s Hamburgers on North Main Avenue in the name of health, wellness, friendship and fun.
Lisa Ortega, a community health worker at Methodist Healthcare, said the group was formed last summer and May 12 was their inaugural ride. “We will meet to ride bikes every Tuesday in May, and starting in June, on the second Tuesday,” she said. “We will eventually add a meet on other Tuesdays at Crockett Park.”
Ortega said the events at the park will range from exercise to self-defense. “We want to make the area a safe space for the LGBT community,” she said.
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Reasons for riding bicycles are as varied as the participants. “For me, it’s about exercise and community building,” Ortega said.
Kate Scully, from nearby Monte Vista, said she’s been riding bikes since age seven. “The group is an alternative to bars,” she said.
Gabby Alyssa said she rides a lot in the Leon Creek Greenway. “The Mission Trails are really nice too,” she said. “I want to support the lesbian community in San Antonio.”
Ann Wawrose from Austin rides for a similar reason. “It’s important to support the bisexual community,” she said.
Wawrose got used to the B-cycle system in Austin so she rolled into Luther’s on a San Antonio B-cycle. “It’s cheaper than buying a bike,” she said.
Others rode bikes suited to their personal styles. The bike styles ranged from mountain bikes to speed bikes. And while some bicycles were modern, some were retro; all were built for fun.
Downtown traffic was not a problem as the group made their way to their destination of Southtown. About 15 cyclists rode together and passed cars, trucks, and busses. Cheers erupted from friends and supporters as LezRideSA passed by the Filling Station on St. Mary’s and the Friendly Spot on S. Alamo. Such enthusiasm was answered by hoots and hollers from the women on wheels.
The group wants to take it slow and easy so that all members can participate. The ride on May 12 was from Luther’s on North Main to the Blue Star on South Alamo. Tours will visit different sites each month and will cover about five miles or 45 minutes.
Cory Elias from San Antonio enjoys the Museum Reach and hopes LezRideSA will visit there. “But my favorite spot to ride is the Hays Street Bridge,” she said.
LezRideSA is sponsored by REI, the Health Collaborative, A&N Realty, and Cilantro Creative. Follow LezRideSA on Facebook and join them on a weekly event, ride, or the upcoming Fourth of July Pride Parade.