Big Bend Conservation Alliance hosts community bike ride around Presidio 

The Big Bend Conservation Alliance hosted the first Bike Around Town slow ride in Presidio this Saturday. Photo courtesy of Elvira Hermosillo.

PRESIDIO — Last Saturday, the Big Bend Conservation Alliance (BBCA) hosted a bike ride around Presidio, encouraging locals and visitors alike to get active and take in the views around town. Nineteen cyclists attended the event, including a handful of folks from Marfa who wanted to help make Presidio’s first community ride a success.

BBCA Community Liaison Elvira Hermosillo organized the event with the help of Sharon Hernández of Presidio Pour Over Coffee. Big Bend Coffee Roasters provided the beans and Hernández offered warm drinks and a meeting place before the ride. “It was a success, given that it was our first time doing this and the fact that it was a little cold,” Hernández said. “It was great, we’re going to do it again for sure.”

Mayor John Ferguson set up shop an hour early with his toolkit in case anyone needed a tune-up, ensuring that anyone who wanted to attend could. He started doing basic tune-ups for constituents during COVID-19 lockdown, ensuring that stir-crazy Presidians had a way to get out of the house and enjoy the sunshine. “I thought I could make things a little brighter for everybody, even if [their bike] had been sitting in a dusty shed or baking out in the yard,” he said. 

The mayor said that he and a few other long-term residents felt they didn’t see as many people out and about on city streets as they used to. Encouraging Presidians to take up cycling could help build community — and keep locals healthier in the long run. “It’s a great way to get physical activity and it’s not stressful on your joints,” he said. 

Most of Saturday’s riders were Presidio locals, but a few had a longer commute. A few weeks prior, Hermosillo contacted Mark Scott of Convenience West BBQ in Marfa for tips on starting a community ride — Scott and his friends have been hosting weekly “slow rides” for friends and neighbors for a few years. 

Scott advised that spiny local plants were the desert rider’s biggest enemy. “I grew up riding bikes in Marfa — you’d be living your best life and then you’d get a flat, and if my dad couldn’t fix it there was no one else to help out,” he said. “Maintenance is tough out here, especially for young kids.” 

There was one flat tire at Saturday’s event, but the rest was smooth sailing. Scott and his friends enjoyed getting to see Presidio from a new perspective. “When we go to Presidio, it’s either to go somewhere to eat or on our way to Big Bend,” he said. “We haven’t really gotten out into the neighborhoods, so it was nice to see a little bit of that.” 

Folks enjoyed the ride so much that they started kicking around ideas for future events. Ferguson had started connecting with riders across the river, and proposed trying to make Presidio’s next ride an international one. “I go bike riding over there quite a bit and am familiar with the neighborhood streets,” he said. “We could involve both communities with a big event with people on both sides.”