Guest Glahgger

Introducing my first guest glahgger of the week, since I *know* y’all are taaaaard of my neverending blather. grok grok! It was written by The Marquis, my cousin Pooh’s husband. He is an avid cyclist and tells about a trip they took this weekend. They didn’t take pics of their trip, I guess maybe they were actually concentrating on where they were going and not rubbernecking around? So this pic of Pooh in motion is from a few years ago. It proves that Pooh can move *fast* if she wants to! One of the only other times I have seen Pooh move this fast is once back in the Jurassic age college when I was playing hooky hanging around at the old Water’s Edge apartment and *someone* rushed in the door, scrambled around for a few minutes and cruised back out, all in a great blur, kinda like that pic. I was sitting there in a cloud of dust thinking, “Could that have been Pooh?!!???” Without further ado and with no editing, here is The Marquis’s account of the bike [and train] expotition he and Pooh took this weekend. Yay for bicycles in this day of $4 gasoline. (And, er, the “Anne” referred to in the story is Pooh. That’s her real name. Who the heck would name their kid Pooh, fer kee-reist?) And look at me. I can’t even shaddup when I have a Guest Glahgger!!! Kee-reist! Grok grok! Yeah, shaddup, ya stoopid ol’ bag. Grok grok. Not t’ menshun, yer usin’ that kee-reist werd too much. Grok grok. Ya don’t wanna git t’ be like th’ Ol’ boy, do ya? Grok grok!

Saturday Anne & I biked the most miles that we have yet this year, I got 60 miles and Anne got 52. We rolled out the back door at 8 AM. The weather was cool but clear and sunny, with light winds. This morning’s sun was about all we’ve seen in days and did see this weekend.

We were headed for the old Chain of Rocks Bridge, Route 66’s Mississippi crossing. This was to be the starting point of today’s organized ride. We rode east through the park and headed downtown, enjoying the light early morning traffic. I enjoy riding in the city of St. Louis over St. Louis County. The city has more roads and less people, while the county has more people and fewer roads. Hence, fewer cars pass you on the road.

Our house is 10 miles from the river. We reached the south trailhead of the Riverfront Trail before nine. The Riverfront Trail is also the riverfront levee’s access road. Sometimes you are riding inside the levee with a concrete wall between you and the river. Sometimes you are riding outside the levee with a concrete wall on one side and the river on the other. Sometimes you ride on top of the levee. The Riverfront Trail is also very industrial. It sports numerous industrial sites, on/off load points for grain and coal, metal recycling and auto junk yards and even a slaughterhouse.

It is also a greenway. Today we were riding along a two mile stretch on top of the levee and I spied a pair of deer. “Look Deer”, I said. To which Anne replied, “Oh, deer, deer”. “Deer me”, well you get the idea. We herded them for about a mile, before they bolted.

Near the north end of the trail we saw the construction of Cementland. Bob Cassilly, founder of the City Museum, a former 10 story shoe warehouse turned playhouse (how many 8 story slides have you been down?) is now creating a 54 acre theme park on the site of an old cement plant. He seems to be putting the mounds back into Mound City. I like his front fence. The fence posts are cement truck buckets.

We made it to the bridge by 9:45; you always make better time without stoplights. At this point we were two hours out and 20 miles from home. Anne had promised to pick up a friend at the airport at 1:45. To save time we decided to do the short organized ride. We crossed the Mississippi at the old Chain of Rocks Bridge. It gets its name from a rapids that at low water forms a natural bridge. The bridge is now a bike path. The bridge is a narrow mile long span with a kink in the middle. It seems hard to believe that two cars could pass each other on it. We crossed into Illinois.

We traveled another 10 miles to a new museum commemorating the departure point of the Lewis & Clark expedition. The ride coincided with the anniversary of the departure and was being commemorated with a Departure Days festival. Picture this, leather and broadcloth clad reenactors discussing with spandex clad cyclists the finer points of quilting. It was 10:50 as we headed back.

Time was running late and heading south we found a southeast headwind. When we got back to the bridge, Anne turned down an offer of a lift from a friend who had a car there and opted for taking the light rail at the south end of the Riverfront trail. I left her at the station and headed towards home. Heading west that freshening headwind now became a great tailwind. I cruised through downtown catching almost every light. In midtown I was passed by a pair of faster riders, but managed to hang on and got pulled into the park.

Anne said she was going to take the 1st train that came. That made it a 50/50 chance that she might take the train to the park. I looked for her, didn’t see her and was surprised to find that I had beat her home, but she had to wait through 3 eastbound trains before the next westbound one came. She made it to the airport on time and the flight from O’Hare was late. Go figure. It was a great ride and as Anne remarked, “Last year I didn’t get this many miles in a day until Labor day.”

3 Responses to “Guest Glahgger”

  1. Kathy Farnell Says:

    I’m not a bike rider but Scott (my son) goes all around the country (or at least the eastern 1/3rd of the country) to ride his bike on trails. He is going to West Virginia over the Memorial Day Weekend to ride down a hill really fast. I guess that sounds silly, but you have to buy a lot of special safety gear to make the trip, and the idea is to ride really fast down a hill. He is going with a group of about 9 people. I think he took a trip in March and rode on a trail in Missouri. You will have to get together with Scott when you are in Michigan because he knows of some neat places to ride. I enjoyed your guest blog!

  2. Maquis Says:

    Yesterday’s storm has passed and today it dawned another nice day. This is Bike to Work Week culminating on Friday with Bike to Work Day. Every year on this day one of the STL bike advocacy groups hosts Bike to Work Day in the park. They offer coffee, juice, donuts & bagels. Since I regularly ride in the mornings there I attend also. Although under false pretenses, because after I get enough miles to get to work and back, I return home, shower and DRIVE To Work.

    This year instead of just one “refueling” site in the park in conjunction with the Y and others there will be over 20 sites. I’m planning on bee lining straight to the Companion Bakery site. I’m betting that they’ll have way more then just donuts. OBTW, the CBS Morning Show will be broadcasting Friday from STL, their story, Bike to Work Week. So look for us. With all this advocacy work I might just have to take a vacation day. 😉

    With all this hoopla imagine my consternation when I opened the morning paper and read the front page headline. War in Iraq, no, home loan crisis, no, the headline read “Missouri gets ‘D’ in cycling”. See the link:

    But really folks, I mean after Anne’s 52 miles can’t we at least get a C- ?

  3. Kathy Farnell Says:

    I’ll try to be watching CBS on Friday A.M. I’ll look for you! I’ll give you an A+.