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Student cyclist tours culturally rich San Antonio
March 10, 2017

Student cyclist tours culturally rich San Antonio

Student cyclist tours culturally rich San Antonio

Brian Benavidez, 34, senior communications major at Texas A&M San Antonio, answers a question before he leads a bike tour of Downtown San Antonio on February 25th. Photo by Wyatt Matson

Texas A&M University-San Antonio Communication student Brian Benavidez knows his art. He and his bright green bike have embarked on many journeys, and he’s seen a lot of local murals in San Antonio.

Benavidez would ride his bike down the pothole ridden streets of the South Side, seeing older buildings and urban scenes. He’d take pictures of the things he saw and would post them on Facebook and Instagram. People soon began to ask him about the pictures.

Benavidez was so inspired by the art that he encountered over the years, that in April 2015, he started a mural bike tour, so that others could see the city he loves through his eyes.

A neon green bike rests against an abandoned wall in Downtown, San Antonio, on February 25th, 2017 during a break in the bike tour. Photo by Wyatt Matson
A neon green bike rests against an abandoned wall in Downtown, San Antonio, on February 25th, 2017 during a break in the bike tour. Photo by Wyatt Matson

San Antonio has several bike ride tours, but this particular one shows you what Benavidez sees in the city that he loves that others cannot offer.

“You get to see some of the artists, the street artists, the muralists and I don’t think there is any other ride that visits any sites like that,” Dan Rosales, another biker said.

His tours are free to the public.

The mural bike ride tour takes place at the end of each month. Benavidez makes it his mission for people to experience novelties on each bike ride tour.

I love the responses when people tell me they had no idea this art is here and they lived in the area all their life,” Benavidez said.

More than 200 cyclists come to Benavidez’ tours. They take pictures of what they see, and post their experiences on social media.

Benavidez claims that every individual sees each mural differently. Benavidez explained the most special part about the experience of the tour is witnessing the art most people wouldn’t acknowledge otherwise.

The bike group stops in Downtown, San Antonio to catch their breath and admire the local mural on February 25th. Photo by Wyatt Matson
The bike group stops in Downtown, San Antonio to catch their breath and admire the local mural on February 25th. Photo by Wyatt Matson

Tourists meet at Brackenridge High School at 10 a.m. to begin the mural tour. The tour lasts about 2 hours and consists of five different stops. Three popular stops are the Bottom Bracket Bicycle Shop, Alamo Ice House, and the Nolan St. underpass.

Excited tourists interact with each other, and collectively admire mural graffiti, which consists of urban settings, objects and characters.

At each stop, Benavidez speaks briefly about the artist and history behind the piece. He keeps communication with some of the artists via social media, and is aware of their current artwork.

“Brian is very knowledgeable about the artists,” John Banks, one of the bikers said. “So he tells us about the artists and what kind of styles they use, gives us a background. And he has knowledge of murals in other cities so he could compare San Antonio to New York or New Orleans or somewhere else.”
For more information on Benavidez’ bike tour, follow his Facebook page.

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