HARLINGEN — The city of Harlingen aims to win the It’s Time Texas Community Challenge this year and appears to be on the right track.

As of Tuesday, the city is in the lead of the competition’s mid-size division with about half a million points.

This week, Harlingen cyclists will be able to meet other cyclists, explore the city on two wheels and help their community rack up more points.

Harlingen Social Bike Ride and Healthy Harlingen will host a free 6-mile social bike ride around the city on Friday beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The ride will begin and end at City Parking Lot behind the Prelude.

The group will make a social stop at McKelvey Park to rest and have refreshments.

According to organizers, the ride will be set at a slow pace so all riders ages 12 and older can participate.

The Harlingen Police Department will escort cyclists and will conduct a brief two to three minute presentation about safety tips, hand signals and an overview of the bike route before the ride starts.

According to Harlingen-San Benito Metropolitan Planning Organization Director Joel Garza Jr., the goals of the social bike ride are to promote healthy lifestyles and to help people feel comfortable riding their bikes on the road.

“What we have seen here in the Harlingen area is sometimes people are afraid to ride their bikes on the road,” Garza explained. “So, these social bike rides will kind of encourage them to have healthy lifestyles and help them know how to ride their bikes correctly on the roadway.”

IF YOU GO

WHAT — Harlingen Social Glow Bike Ride

WHEN — Friday, Jan. 25

TIME — Arrive by 5:30 p.m.

WHERE — City Parking Lot behind Prelude, 150 East Monroe Avenue

COST — Free

WHAT IS THE IT’S TIME TEXAS CO

WHAT IS THE IT’S TIME TEXAS COMMUNITY CHALLENGE?

The challenge is an 8-week competition hosted by HEB for Texas schools, businesses, organizations, community members and mayors. It’s aimed toward transforming community health and runs from Jan. 7 to March 3.