In the ultimate San Antonio throwback, Sky Rides are coming to Trinity in August
by LeeRoy Tiger
Trinity University engineering and history students created the ultimate throwback project - bringing the Brackenridge Sky Ride back to San Antonio. While many people have talked about bringing back the Sky Ride and reconnecting the city through the sky, none have succeeded in bringing back this gem in the sky until now.
With Trinity’s recent purchase of City Vista as the University’s newest residence hall, there was an immediate need to find a solution for students to get to main campus. After a 14-hour brainstorming session, whiteboards filled with scratched out ideas, and 1,869 KIND bars consumed, students took a tip from the Sky Ride exhibit at the Institute of Texan Cultures.
What better way to get to the main campus than on a gondola?
Coming this August, students will be able to hop on Tiger Ride, Trinity’s own unique take on the Sky Ride, that will be accessible from the Bell Center on lower campus and City Vista.
Tiger Ride was conceptualized by a team of sophomore students along with the guidance of professor Carey Latimore, chair of the Department of History.
“Trinity is celebrating its 75th year in San Antonio, so finding a way to incorporate such a nostalgic piece of San Antonio’s history was gratifying,” Latimore says. “The era of self-driving cars and hoverboards is upon us. Now, when San Antonians look to the sky they will see an addition to the Trinity bell tower.”
Christina Moore ’17, a senior communication and art double major, was part of the design team for Tiger Ride and characterized this experience as one of the most rewarding projects of her life.
“I can’t wait to see my fellow classmates getting around campus on a gondola. At first, we were a little nervous about how to create air transportation that would work safely between our oak trees and buildings, but we were able to develop a retractable material that allows for the sides of the gondola to travel easily between trees,” Moore says. “Our initial concept was a zipline, but everyone knows Tigers don’t swing from trees, so gondolas were the perfect solution.”
Tiger Ride was recently approved by President Danny Anderson and construction permits were gained by the USDA and FDA. Each Tiger Ride gondola seats six passengers and travels up to 1 mph. The gondola compartment is fully equipped with a parachute and glass bottom so people have a full view of their surroundings.
Josh Hernandez ’17, a senior geosciences major, is excited about Tiger Ride coming to Trinity - so much so that he is taking another year at Trinity.
“With the Tiger Ride, I can now enjoy my breakfast tacos with a scenic view,” Hernandez says. “But Trinity always pushes the envelop and values innovation. I am happy to see the Sky Ride coming back to San Antonio, and this addition to Trinity’s campus will make my second senior year a breeze.”