Friday, June 13, 2014

Grants Trail / Bike Links / Upcoming Events

We finally have a had a break in the humidity and we're getting our May weather in mid-June instead. Sure. Why not? It's been in the 60s in the morning and upper 70s most afternoons. We've had a little daily rain or the odd thunderstorm or downpour, but the humidity is much more manageable (either lower, or less oppressive due to the lower temps). It was still pretty muggy last Sunday, though, but I decided to ride the entirety of Grant's Trail, plus the trip to/from my house, which totals a little over 21 miles for me (the trail proper is around 16 miles round-trip, or about 8 miles start-to-finish). Every time I ride the trail, I am struck by how much I like it, and would love a connected network of trails like this to make covering large areas more pleasant. 

From the Kirkwood end, the trail starts out feeling suburban, with open, fairly-flat land, signaled crossing points where it intersects streets and arteries, and views of the backs of stripmalls. From there, it gets better, unfolding at Grant's Farm, which houses petting zoos, a train, and Clydesdales!

After Grant's Farm, you pass ball fields and a few more businesses.

But it's the other stuff that I find most interesting. You alternate between open fields and far-off backs of houses, to practically being in people's actual back yards, to railroad and highway overpasses and lush, overgrown vines and trees. With the humidity Sunday, it got downright tropical. And then it just ends, in the middle-of-nowhere (no disrespect to Affton/Mehlville intended) South County, with no indication that you're near anything at all (because other than a few homes, you aren't). You turn around and ride back to "civilization". 

In one open field, I saw a deer grazing contentedly.
On my return trip, a hummingbird hovered in front of me for several seconds.

The trail is remarkably flat (a nearly-imperceptible decline heading SE; a slightly-more-noticeable incline heading NW), can be busy (Grant's Farm users, other cyclists, joggers, rollerbladers, and the like), and  has parking at either end, plus a couple of lots in between. There's also a separate Clydesdale path marked, though I haven't tried it yet; I think it's a short loop?

I love this trail. I can relax and enjoy the ride, my thoughts, or music (I allow myself to do the one-ear-bud-only-low-volume ride-thing here, then remove them when I'm back on streets), and it reinforces all the things I loved about riding when I was a kid. I also love that animals don't skitter away (as quickly, if at all) when you're on a bike. It reinforces that this mode of transportation is earth-friendly, and people-and-creature-friendly, too. Bike-riding: Just a big ol' batch of awesomesauce.

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Upcoming St. Louis Bikey Events:
  • Trailnet hosts a lot of rides throughout the week and on weekends for various speeds and styles of riding. You can check their entire calendar here
    • In particular, for "ladies of the lane", there is an Arch Women event next week on Wednesday, June 18th - bikey crafts and beer at Perennial. More info here; preregistration is requested. It's free, but they are asking for a $5 donation to cover costs.
    • A week from Saturday, on June 21, Trailnet is also hosting a bikey bakery tour ("Bakeries on the Rise"). Info here. Cost is $5.
  • BWorks is a local organization that refurbishes and sells donated (to them) bicycles to raise money for bike training and donation to get children riding. How fantastic is that? They are hosting bike drives (to receive donated bicycles) at Weldon Spring on Saturday, June 21, and at Webster Groves on Tuesday, June 24. They are also hosting a family-friendly bicycle ride on Saturday, June 21, at Calvary Cemetery in North St. Louis. Info here. The Calvary ride is free.
  • You can also check out Bike St. Louis for events and advocacy!

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