The Bike Stalker

I biked before work on Tuesday morning.  I was wheeling towards the Park before dawn.  I was too lightly dressed for that morning’s mid-fifties low, but just pedaled harder to generate the necessary body heat.  The eastern sky was visibly lighter by the time that I crossed Skinker and entered the Park.

I started on the bike trail, but quickly moved on to the roads.  I saw a few other cyclists at first and their numbers rose with the sun.  Throughout the ride there was one other cyclist that I kept running into.  We always passed each other going opposite directions, but after a while the frequency of these chance encounters made me begin to wonder.

I was following my own itinerant path, looking for egrets and owls.  I did a lot of doubling back; always finding this other rider coming my way.  I did one last turn past Post-Dispatch Lake and the waterways between it and the Grand Basin.  I jumped off the curb onto Lagoon Drive and headed for home.  Out of the rising sun my stalker pounced.  I never saw her until she had already sped past me.  I gave chase, but it was a half-hearted effort.  At the Forsyth exit, she turned around for her victory lap.  I got fifteen miles.

I returned to the Park again on Thursday morning: there before dawn, fifteen miles, the same drill, just no stalker this time.  It was warmer, so I stopped to take a few pictures.  I got the sun peeking through the pagoda that stands before the Muny’s main entrance.  After the ride, I mentioned this picture to Anne.  She had seen an article about it just the previous evening, on our locally produced PBS news magazine show, Living Saint Louis.

The official name for the pagoda in Pagoda Circle is the Nathan Frank Pagoda Bandstand.  The original bandstand, the first in Saint Louis, was built on this spot in 1876.  This pagoda was featured in the 1904 World’s Fair.  Bands performed daily to entertain the public, but after the fair, it fell into disrepair and eventually fell down.  In 1925 Nathan Frank paid to have the current pagoda built.

He paid for the pagoda, but unlike modern naming rights, he deserved to have it named after him.  Nathan Frank was Vice-President of the World’s Fair.  He was also a US congressman.  He holds the distinction of being Missouri’s first and possibly only Jewish congressman?

The morning light has a quality about it that I enjoy using for photography.  Its yellowish hue makes everything that it touches seem more alive.  I like the way this morning light paints the feathers of this Snowy egret above or the dried grasses below.

59 thoughts on “The Bike Stalker

  1. I am myself going for a mountain bike ride…right now…beautiful pics. And as I read the name of the pagoda, for some insane reason I wondered if “Abe Vigoda, has a pagoda named after him” you know…the Abe Vigoda Pagoda… I know…I’m insane….but only a little. Thanks for sharing…see you on the trails..

  2. loved the story and your photos are terrific, especially the water features. I also love to use water in my photos and have had many succesful results. I loved the photo of the shadow biker….:) reminds me of a few months ago when I was cycling in Kent UK, I took a video of myself cycling downhill!! it was great fun.
    I had a walk this morning at the duck pond near Hampstead Heath, London and took some great shots of the early morning.
    Thanks for sharing your really beautiful photos, I will subscribe to your blog and look our for more.
    As someone who is passionate about travel I love to see photos of places I have yet to go.
    my blog is

  3. Good photos and article. Although I’m in Florida, I loved traveling with you through the parks in the St. Louis area. Thanks for sharing via your blog.

    Am about ready to read your other posts and from their titles, they will be equally interesting, if not more so. Especially the bikepaths of Madison County!

  4. Pingback: Three Days in the Sun « RegenAxe

  5. this is too awesome for words… the story was so intriguing and the shots are gorgeous. I agree with you on the morning light! it’s beautiful

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