mcc bikes

McLennan Community College students ready their bikes for the first MCC Ciclovía on Saturday morning, organized by the Hispanic Student Association. The event from 8 a.m. to noon will close the inner campus roads to car traffic and offer a variety of activities and informational booths.

McLennan Community College, known as a commuter school, will go carless Saturday morning in the cause of better health with a first-ever ciclovía favoring cyclists, pedestrians, skaters and skateboarders.

Sponsored by the Hispanic Student Association, the ciclovía, inspired by city versions in Central and South America, will feature health-related booths and activities aimed at entertaining families and encouraging healthy living.

The central campus core will be closed to vehicles from 8 a.m. to noon, allowing participants space to walk, ride, skateboard or rollerblade to activities and informational booths. Those attending can also bring their pets on a leash.

Activity hubs located across campus will offer blood pressure and glucose screenings by MCC nursing students, a bike rodeo, Zumba and yoga lessons, T-shirts, DJs from Spanish-language radio stations La Ley 104.1 FM and 99.1 FM, a bike helmet giveaway by the McLennan County Medical Association, hula hoop and jump rope contests, and informational booths.

It is free, but donations will be accepted for the Hispanic Student Association and MCC scholarships.

The organization had mulled the idea of a ciclovía, Spanish for cycleway, for some time as a way of bringing people together and introducing them to more than a small portion of the campus, said Aranza Torres, a Highlander Central specialist and recruiter who is an adviser for the Hispanic Student Association.

“It’s something that’s been on our minds for awhile,” Torres said.

Last year, the organization held a Cinefest film festival that proved successful as a fundraiser but drew relatively few students.

The physical scale of a ciclovía makes it different from a street dance or block party that would also close a street for pedestrians and activities, said Ysabel Silva, a Hispanic Student Association member in MCC’s licensed vocational nurse degree program.

More than 50 people have signed on as volunteers for Saturday’s event, and the MCC organization has invited its counterpart at Baylor University, Silva said. In case of rain, the Saturday morning event would move under the cover of an MCC parking garage.

Torres and Hispanic Student Association co-sponsor Ruben Salazar hope the idea of a ciclovía catches on and a larger one could be held in downtown Waco in the future. Texas cities including San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Brownville, Fort Worth and South Padre Island have held ciclovías in recent years.

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