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HHP Faculty Take Part in Tour de TAHPERD.

The TAHPERD Summer Conference was held in San Antonio this year.  One of the featured presentations was the Tour de TAHPERD Mission Ride. Thirty-four cycling middle and secondary physical educators and history teachers participated in this first time "rolling classroom" event.

The group rode their bikes to historical landmarks in the beautiful hill country of San Antonio with featured speakers present at each site to give a presentation about the site. HHP faculty Dr. Joel Bloom took part in this unique rolling classroom.

The Tour followed the San Antonio River along the route walked by the Spanish Friars and local Indians of 16th Century Texas. Due to concern for safety in early morning traffic, the 1.8 miles from the Alamo to Mission Concepcion was omitted and the ride began at Concepcion.

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The Tour Group

The cyclists assembled at Concepcion, mounted up and continued to Mission San Jose about 3 miles away. Here, docents from the National Parks Service presented a thumbnail lecture and walking tour of the mission, He spoke of its inhabitants, their lifestyle and sustenance and the Mission system in general.After some hydration and trail food, the ride moved on another 3 miles to Mission San Juan.

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Crossing a bridge on the way to Mission San Juan

The riders rolled across 4 suspension bridges and climbed rolling hills to reach their destination. Along this route, a group of 9-12 foot high "statues" appeared in a field across the river and provided a great photo op moment. This turned out to be an art project of UTSA students and was composed of hay bales and metal structures depicting field workers chores. The field itself was part of Mission San Juan and had been the pasture land for the 3500 plus head of sheep and over 150 head of cattle. 

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Making Hay - an art project near Mission San Juan

The "classroom" stopped at San Juan for more photos and another walking visit before completing the ride to  Mission Espada which was more of a fort than a mission.  We found out that San Jose, Espada and Mission San Juan are still operating places of prayer and modern day Catholic Priests still live and conduct their work from these rectories. 

The ride covered 18-miles and took 2.5 hours to complete. The riders all felt that the idea of combining a fitness adventure with a lesson in Texas history was a great way to take in the feeling of “being there”.  The next step is to convince school administrators of the values, both mental and physical, of students participating in the “rolling classroom” experience.