Boathouse Bike Ride

Boating has been a part of Forest Park since its inception, in 1876, and the Boathouse has been a landmark in the park for as long as we have lived in Saint Louis. Located on Post-Dispatch Lake*, boat rentals can be taken as far east as the Grand Basin, a landmark from the 1904 World’s Fair. Local ordinance makes it illegal to float your own boat in the park, giving the Boathouse a monopoly. Available rentals include row boats, canoes and pedal boats. Anne and I have always thought that the Boathouse would make for a great happy hour spot for Team Kaldis. It offers the unique opportunity for a pedal boat race, to raise funds for the MS-150. I can just see the team’s big dogs competing against each other, pedaling across the lake. The pedal boats are tandems, so all of the team’s tandem riders could strut their stuff too.

Boathouse Ducks

Those dreams are for next summer, because pedal boating today would also involve ice breaker duty. We always seem to visit the Boathouse in the winter. It is its off-season and is much less crowded. We got a table today, without any waiting, try doing that in the summer. Anne and I split the salmon BLT and a bowl of their white bean chicken chili. The chili came in a humongous bowl, fortunately it was like the Platte River, a mile wide, and only an inch deep. Post-Dispatch Lake is like that too. Still, I recommend the cup size. The salmon BLT came with slaw, it always has, but in the past it was bleu cheese cole slaw, not the plebian fare we were offered today. I also had a pint of the in situ Schlafly Boathouse Ale. After completing this repast, we had to swing our legs over our bikes and complete our 15 miles.

White Bean Chicken Chili

15 miles, I can hear some of you harrumphing. I have not yet checked Facebook, but I’m sure that that tally board is clicking. This was the first really good bike day, after our “major winter storm”, and we saw lots of other riders out today. We have a multitude of bike friends, a full spectrum of the genre. How should I address you as a whole?

Individually, I know how to speak with you. I can lump you into the category of either a qualitative bicyclists or quantitative bicyclists. With the former, I just converse normally. There is no fear in this conversation. With the latter, I never speak in numbers. Instead, I emphasize the esthetics of the ride, how warm or cold it was, or maybe an interesting story. My “interesting” story usually bores this type to tears, but not always. This week, I conversed with a member of the quantitative tribe, who just so happened to have just gotten back on the bike after surgery. His first shot out the gate was for way more miles than I am doing now, but somehow we got on the subject of Anne’s and mine great adventure. Step into the way back machine folks, way back to ’82. I waxed eloquently for five minutes and he seemed truly impressed. I’ll take that and be happy.

* Post-Dispatch Lake is named after the newspaper by the same name, which was once the flagship of the Pulitzer’s newspaper empire. A financial panic in 1893 led to the expansion of the lake and provided work for the Saint Louis unemployed. In 1894, the Post-Dispatch conducted a campaign to raise money for the expansion. Six thousand men registered to work on this project.

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