Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bicycle Dates: Spring Break 2012

What Are You Looking At?
Tina and Matthew's Bicycle Date Adventures! 
Tina Ready to Ride - Blue  Star
Tina Ready to Ride
Monday, March 12, 2012 was the first official off of work for Spring Break of 2012. I’m a third grade teacher and my wife, Tina, is a 7th grade English teacher. This school year has been a crazy year for my wife and I. That is thanks to budget cuts, larger class sizes and pushed emphasis on the new standardized test the State is pushing out and other stuff! So this Spring Break was one we were looking forward to. On this day we decided to make a date day via bicycles. We started at from the Blue Star Arts Complex and our first stop was only a few tenths of a mile away at Tito’s Mexican Restaurant on S. Alamo. We had never eaten there before, but were very impressed. The salsa and tacos al carbon were mighty tasty!  We had to park our bikes and lock up on to the rails of the porch because the on street bicycle parking stand was removed due to some red tape glitch. 
Missing On Street Bicycle Parking
Tito's Mexican Restaurant- Notice the black rectangle where there was once on street bicycle parking. 
While sharing tacos with my beautiful bride of the past 6 years, I learned she hasn’t ever been up in the Tower of Americas.  I had to solve that, so that was our next stop.  It was nice to see some bicycle parking next to the tower entrance although three of the four racks we saw weren’t fixed to the ground. Tina and I hitched the iron horses to the rack that was bolted down. We enjoyed looking down on the city and planning where we would ride next. We spotted other cyclists from above and a new red public art statue on the other side of the interstate and made it a point to ride over there.

Best Parking at the Tower
Bicycle Parking at the Tower of Americas
Downtown San Antonio, Texas
View from Tower

Red Art and Condos
Public Art Downtown
From the Tower of Americas we headed over to the Alamo Dome then Sunset Station. Sunset Station was a bust with nothing going on there except for a fire truck racing though, so we decided to search down the red statue we spotted from the tower and it was only a few blocks away. From the statue we rode down the bike route on Mesquite St. to the Hays Street Bridge. We stopped on the bridge and rested as it was now about 80 degrees and sunny and a rest was in order. While there we took some photos and noticed someone fitted the bridge with a helmet. (picture below) It really is funny how when you sit and rest for a while your body will tell you of its other needs, like thirst. We didn’t take water along and since the tower was charging $3.00 a bottle, we hadn’t had a sip of anything wet or cold since Tito’s which was a few hours ago at this point.

Cruisers at the Hays St. Bridge
Hayes Street Bridge
We decided to ride on over to the VFW hall and get some refreshments. On first Friday rides, the VFW has been anti-bicycle, meaning they will not even let you put you bicycle on their property, but today we rode right into the parking lot without incident. We didn't catch any grief from anyone at the VFW hall and they weren't that busy, so I doubt they even noticed the two bicycles there. Hopefully, someday their official policy toward bicycles will change. For a place that is meant to honor those that fought for our freedoms they sure don’t like to let cyclist or even motorcyclist be free in where they park.…enough of that soapbox. We did enjoy our sodas as we sat along the San Antonio river listening to the music playing.  

Next, we decided to ride over to the remains of the San Antonio Better Block Project and see what was left. We took some photos of the Better Block and rode past the San Antonio Fine Art Museum. From there we rode past Central Catholic High School and to the City Auditorium which is undergoing remodeling.   I was ready to chill by the Vietnam Memorial on a nice lush green hill of grass when Tina said, “Let’s go people watch at Main Plaza.” I have to give my wonderful wife credit; she knew where the party was. At Main Plaza there was a live band playing and what I was most excited about was that the fountains were back on! They had been shut down for so long due to the drought water restrictions that I had forgotten they were there.  It was relaxing to sit with my wife and listen to music while we watch people. People watching it really fun and if you haven’t done it before I highly encourage you to give it a try someday.  We saw a teen age couple making out on the steps of the Central Cathedral which is kind of funny place for Public Display of Affection (PDA). We also saw a woman with four or five others come up and sit on a bench with a clay sculpture and looking at the cathedral they added to it… we never figured out what they were doing, but we had fun trying to guess.  We watched the Segway tours roll through the plaza and concluded that cycling looks more fun than those two wheel contraptions. We saw another cycling couple who looked so cute, and like they were having fun together. Tina said, “That’s cute. We should do that. Oh, look. We are!”    Tina had been trying to incorporate this day into her self portrait project. I made her laugh and thwarted her efforts, but the pictures ended up being kind of silly and fun.

Smile Really Big
Silly Face Self Portrait at Main Plaza
After sitting for a hour or so, we decided to ride to Schilo’s Deli and get some good German food. After riding to Schilos's we locked the bicycles up at a pole near the Deli and went in to eat some tasty food. Once done eating we rode over to the Alamo and decided to people watch there. At the Alamo we saw many things like a college aged couple that obviously was fighting with each other, a thug looking man with a Carpe Deim t-shirt eating a blue snow cone, etc.  We talked with an older female park police officer who admired Tina’s bicycle about riding along the river walk. Apparently we can ride the entire main channel along the river. So we will have to do that sometime soon.

We ended the night by riding to The Friendly Spot Ice House. Their bike rack was full when we got there, but we still watched several other cyclists roll in as the night progressed. As we sipped our fruity drinks, and listened to drunken hooting and hollering over the Spurs game while Jupiter and Venus huddled over our heads in the night sky, we reflected on how this day was the most fun we’d had in far too long. If we had not ridden our bikes, we would have missed out on the smells of the mountain laurels in full bloom, and the sound of the ducks squawking on the river below. .. a sensory buffet...

 So, if you’re looking for a date full of fun and adventure, try heading out on the town on a bike!

Below are some more photos from the day:
Two Planets Align at the Friendly Spot Ice House (3/12/12)
Venus and Jupiter from The Friendly Spot Ice House

Feet at Alamo
Kicking Back and watching people at the Alamo.
Access Issues???
Strangest Bicycle Lock Ever... Shall I call the Number?
Best Friends at Hays St. Bridge
Skyline view from Hays St. Bridge.
Teleconference Ice House!
Screen at Friendly Spot Ice House 
Painted Loading Dock
The remains of the Better Block Project in San Antonio, Texas
Crowded Bicycle Parking - Friendly Spot
Nearly full bicycle rack at the Friendly Spot Ice House
Hays St. Helmet
Helmet strapped the top of the Hays Street Bridge

Art at Main Plaza
Art we saw the people making. 

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