City’s first casual bike ride will take to streets

HARLINGEN — The Tour de Harlingen?

The first of what will be monthly Harlingen Social Bike Rides will be held Saturday morning.

The route is 6.9 miles, and all riders over 10 with a bike, helmet and water are welcome to participate.

The social rides are a partnership between the Harlingen-San Benito Metropolitan Planning Organization, the City of Harlingen, Healthy Harlingen, Viva Streets Harlingen and the Harlingen Police Department, which will escort the bike riders.

“The intent of these bike rides is to create awareness of the different trails throughout the city but also create awareness on cycling on city streets,” MPO Director J. Joel Garza Jr. said via email.

“With the assistance from Harlingen Police Department, we hope families will be able to join us and feel safe in these bike rides.”

The route begins at City Hall at 118 E. Tyler Avenue and heads east until a northward turn on the 25th Street Hike and Bike Trail.

After a social stop at the Sonic Drive-In across from Pendleton Park at 1302 Morgan Boulevard, the bike trek resumes north to Rio Hondo Road. Riders then go west to Seventh Street and then wind their way south to end up back at City Hall.

Harlingen police officers will provide escorts along the entire route.

“Before every bike ride, HPD will give a brief safety presentation to let the rider know what to do and not to do on the road,” Garza said.

Garza said there are some costs to putting on the monthly rides, in staff time, promotion and Harlingen Police Department staff time, but believes it’s worth it to promote healthy lifestyles and allow riders to explore new parts of the city.

Bike routes will change for each monthly ride.

If You Go

WHAT — Harlingen Social Bike Ride

WHEN — Saturday, 8:45 a.m.

WHERE — Begin at City Hall, 118 E. Tyler Avenue

WHO — Riders must have their own bike, helmet and water, and must be over 10 years of age

ROUTE — 6.9 miles at a leisurely pace

COST — Free