A Pedal in the Park

Boathouse Flotilla

I’ve mentioned before the little mystery of Forest Park Boathouse pedal boats appearing in the police pasture, on the south side of the park. At first there were only three of them and I could convince myself that they had been repurposed as horse troughs. Now, there are almost a dozen, plus a purpose-built horse trough was already there. In light of this deepening mystery, our only recourse was to head to its source. Near the end of our ride on Saturday, we headed over to the boathouse for a late lunch. While waiting for our table the mystery was solved, when we spied the new blue boats along the side of the venerable green ones that are being put out to pasture, sort-of-speak.

Cycle Zydeco is less than two-weeks away. Our bicycle training is beginning to feel like it is having an effect. We both feel stronger on the bike now. It is with some trepidation though that we hear the news from Louisiana. Last week’s church burnings have given way to this weekend’s deadly storms. Still, we will be accompanied by Saint Louis friends and this event appears well-organized.

I’ll leave you with another mystery story that was in yesterday’s paper. It comes from Oregon. There Police responded, guns drawn to a report of home invasion. Exercising restraint, while still under extreme duress, they faced an unknown danger behind a locked bathroom door. The suspect rejected repeated demands to surrender. Defiantly choosing to respond with “banging and rustling” noises. It was unclear if a hostage was involved. Even with three officers already on the scene, backup was called for. A detective and two canine officers responded from the nearby Beaverton Police Department. Repeated calls elicited no more response than the same banging and rustling, “Like a loud thud, thud, thud on glass.” Finally, after exhausting all avenues of negotiation, the moment came to bust down the door. There they encountered a most dastardly villain, a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. “Book ’em, Danno.”

Forest Parkour

New Signage

The weather yesterday was fantastic, which is good, since today’s forecast goes back to regular winter humbug. Anne and I got out on our bikes again and rode around the park. The bike path was a little drier than Wednesday and it was definitely warmer, what with a high in the sixties. Anne got to wear her new ¾ length tights. A strong south wind was the cause of this warmth and it was also the cause of more exertion on our part, giving us strong headwinds to battle.

This fancy new signage is at the Wells Drive entrance, just off Skinker. I’m glad that it is finished, because it was more than a year in construction. The work site caused a minor detour of the bike path. It looks nice, except that the spacing on the letters is a little funky. While I was lining up this shot, a guy walked into the frame. I thought that he was going to photo-bomb my picture, but he sat down on the benches that are on the other side of the wall.

This is the latest addition to the new signage that has been placed throughout the park. Hundreds of directional maps now make it easier for visitors to figure out where they are and where they want to go. There’s nary a straight road in the park and it is easy for people unfamiliar with it to get lost.

Forest Park Forever, a charity dedicated to park upkeep has shouldered most of the responsibility for doing park maintenance and improvements. On this day, like most days, they have more workers in the park than the city has. The city couldn’t afford to maintain Forest Park and had allowed it to fall into disrepair. Forest Park Forever had a crew out that was managing the savanna around Deer Lake, when we rode by. They were raking the forest. Anne had to laugh. This organization’s work has truly brought back this once decaying gem.

Before the 1904 World’s Fair the park’s land was known as Skinker’s swamp. There’s a reference to this in the movie, Meet Me in St. Louis. Speaking of which, we saw the new Loop trolley entering the park at the History museum. Clang, clang, clang went the trolley!

Back on the Bike

The Road to the Badlands

On our first full day back in Saint Louis, among chores of unpacking and doing laundry and such, I found time for a bicycle ride. Anne had her own errands to run, so I launched solo towards the park. I came upon two other cyclists, waiting at the light, at Wydown & Big Bend and had timed it to pass them, as the light turned green, when one of the bikers called out to me. It was Captain Chris of Team Kaldi, our Bike MS club. He and his son were headed to the park also, so I tagged along with them, at least the best that I could. I got dropped at the Science Center, but Chris waited for me by the zoo and told me that they were headed over to the DeMun Kaldi for lunch. Taking this as an invite, I eventually showed up too and we shared a patio repast. After lunch, they headed home and I headed towards the grocery store for some supper fixings and then home.

This was my first bicycle ride for the month and next month’s riding schedule looks even more doubtful. Still, I’ll have August to get into shape for the annual Bike MS ride. I lost ten pounds on our camping trip, which is odd, considering that we ate out most days. Still, we got lots of exercise in the mountains, lots of hiking, but no biking. When we were not dining at the [insert national park of choice here] lodge, we were doing our own rustic cooking. We have a Jet Boil stove that we used every morning to hot-up water for breakfast coffee and oatmeal and we usually cooked a dinner stew using a combination of fresh vegetables and canned goods. Lunch was mostly cold sandwiches, with veggies and fruit, which was fine, because most days warmed up quite nicely. 

Hello, World!

Schooner at Sunset

Ten years ago, with the same post title as with this one, I started this blog. That’s right folks, I’ve been posting everyday for ten consecutive years now. Who would have thought it possible? Certainly not me. It has been a life changing habit. I do more and I see more than I did before. Soon after I began blogging, I realized that I was mining my life experiences as blog fodder at an unsustainable rate. To remedy this problem I’ve vowed to go out and do more, see more, so that at the end of each day, I would have something interesting to share. At this I have been mostly successful. It has been a great ride. I hope that I have another ten years of blogging left in me. We’ll have to see how it goes.

No news from the scat-cam. Even though it did register about half-a-dozen alerts last night. They were all either raindrops that were running down the front of the plastic bag enclosing the camera or an occasional lighting flash. There was no midnight pooper to be seen. We’ll try it again tonight, but this time I’ll leave the porch light on, for better visibility.

We had a luncheon today, with Dorothy and the Ons, Don and Ron. These bike buddies and I used to ride together so much that Dave, in typical teenage fashion took to collectively referring to them as the Ons. As in when I got home from work, “Dave, did anyone call me?” “Yeah.” “Who was it?” “I don’t know … It was one of the Ons.” We dined at Mai Lee. 

Off to the Races

Racing Quartet

It’s the weekend! Even this retired guy can get excited about this weekend. It’s Labor Day weekend and there are lots of things happening around town. Anne had to teach today, so I soloed on the bike. The Gateway Cup bike races begin tonight. Today, I snapped a pic of these four racers. We were all out for a noon time ride in Forest Park. The Cup will run all weekend long. The Japanese Festival is occurring this weekend at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. It is the fortieth anniversary for the Japanese gardens, so this festival should be special. We have a couple of biking parties to attend and a date for the Greek festival. It should a busy holiday weekend, plus the weather should be quite comfortable. 

Assisted Living

Zion Canyon Overlook

Anne and I love to bicycle. It is our favorite form of exercise. As we get older though, I wonder about being able to continue pedaling about the busy streets of Saint Louis. Hopefully, this eventuality is still many years in the future.

The Saint Louis electric car club routinely puts on electric car shows and I have attended a couple of these over the years. Early on, the vehicles on display were all of the DIY sort. Later, these car shows turned corporate, with mainstream car manufacturers showing off their wares. Joining them were electric bike vendors. I checked them out, but found these bikes too heavy and too expensive.

Once, I was cycling in Forest Park, when I got passed, while going uphill by a guy who was pedaling, but obviously in an effortless manner. As he sped away, I figured out that he was riding an electric bike, an e-bike. After I realized this, I felt some indignation, but soon settled into a mood of moral superiority. 

We were in Zion National Park and at the main pedestrian entrance, I spied a sign that announced that “No E-Bikes Allowed in Park”. In my opinion, the National Park Service has always looked rather askance at bikes, particularly mountain bikes. I viewed this e-bike prohibition as just the latest manifestation of the parks service’s biking prejudice. This prohibition is especially perplexing, since in Zion most bicyclists use the park’s shuttle buses to haul them and their bikes up to the upper end of the valley and then coast back downhill to the start.

The New Yorker recently published an article, The Electric Bike Conundrum that wrestles with acceptance of e-bikes. Author Thomas Beller personally struggles with his love-hate feelings towards electric bicycles. He accepts the efficacy of using e-bikes for NYC delivery services. Who wants cold pizza? But wavers in his support of e-bikes by city commuters, citing safety concerns. It is this article that coined the term ‘assisted living’, with regard to electric bikes.