MoBikeFed's St. Louis Cycling Commission meets in Wentzville

The St. Louis Cycling Commission poses for a group photo
MoBikeFed's St. Louis Cycling Commission
Click for more photos from Saturday's Cycling Summit

Yesterday the Missouri Bicycle Federation's new St. Louis Cycling Commission held its first meeting, a Cycling Summit and Taste of Wentzville Reception.

The St. Louis Cycling Commission is a pilot project for an initiative that MoBikeFed and been working towards for some years: To create a powerful group of "movers and shakers" in each region of Missouri that can help take walking and bicycling to the next level in those individual regions and across the entire state.

Keynote Speakers
Mayor Paul Lambi of Wentzville, the Commission's co-chair, spoke about the potential for making the area a bicycling center and of creating a truly World-Class indoor Velodrome. The Velodrome would be part of a much needed sports and recreation complex that would include many other recreational opportunities. Including an olympic-class velodrome as part of the complex would make it only the second indoor Velodrome in the U.S. The velodrome would attract world-class athletes and events as well as creating opportunities for local and regional bicyclists, clubs, and events at the velodrome. The indoor velodrome would complement the existing outdoor Penrose Park Velodrome.

Honorary Chair John Howard, a Springfield native who has raced and worked with with many of the greats in bicycling, spoke about his experience with the LA Velodrome, the existing indoor velodrome in the United States. The LA Velodrome is part of the larger Home Depot Center Complex, a situation similar to that envisioned for the Wentzville Velodrome. The LA Velodrome is a hive of activity, drawing top notch international bicyclists and local bicyclists of all ages and ability levels for training and events.

MoBikeFed Executive Director Brent Hugh spoke about recent events that have raised the profile of bicycling in Missouri. "If we are going to have a world class bicycle race and now a world class indoor velodrome, we need to have make the state a world-class bicycling state, with world-class bicycle-friendly roads and trail systems to match." Two million Missourians bicycle regularly and bicycling is a billion dollar industry in Missouri--but it could be $2-4 billion industry if the amount of bicycling and bicycle tourism were comparable to several peer states that have put energy and emphasis on bicycling. The Missouri Bicycle Federation's Vision of Active Transportation in Missouri will provide a framework for where this region needs to go to truly become a World-Class Cycling Center.

Working Groups
The group divided into four working groups to develop strategies and start to work on four areas: Developing and implement a vision of a more bicycle friendly region, infrastructure and enforcement, velodrome planning, bicycling events and promotion.

The outcome was a number of steps that can be taken in each area that, together with the ideas generated at December's World Class Cycling Summit, will form the basis of a strategic plan. The Commission will then work--in cooperation with many other area groups and organizations--to implement this plan.

Action Items
Commissioners left Saturday's meeting with several specific action items to work on, including:

* Contact area legislators to show support for making Missouri a bicycle-friendly state to match the image our world-class bicycle events are portraying

* Find information and start to develop a plan to get more area cities working on towards the Bicycle Friendly Communities program

* Find information and begin to work towards getting more counties (Warren, Franklin, Jefferson) to join the Great Rivers Greenway District

* Contact designers and corporate sponsors of the LA Velodrome to start to develop concepts and corporate support for the proposed world-class velodrome

What's next
Members of the St. Louis Cycling Commission will work to develop the connections and further community support to make all these goals--and more--happen.

The Commission will meet again in August.

The Commission is seeking further sponsors and supporters in the greater St. Louis area to help carry out its mission. To find out more, contact Caryn Giarratano (573-680-5105 or nonmotorizedsolutions[at]mchsi.com).

Thanks to National Auto Warranty Services for providing meeting space for this event, Tim and Sylvia Ritzel for organizing the food, meeting space, and many other details, Brian and Toni of Bob Evans Restaurant for providing and serving the delicious food, and many others who gave their time and support to make this event a successful one.

MoBikeFed's St. Louis Cycling Commission
Honorary Chair: John Howard, Springfield native and the "Babe Ruth of Cycling"

Co-chairs: Mayor Paul Lambi, City of Wentzville
Brent Hugh, Executive Director, Missouri Bicycle Federation

Co-hosts for Saturday's event: Chuck Blossom, Michael Staenberg, Darain Atkinson, Chris Rowton

Meeting facilators: Caryn Giarratano, Missouri Bicycle Federation
Ed Watkins, Westplex Sports and Entertainment Local Organizing Committee

Commission Members and Sponsors
Platinum Level
Darain Atkinson and Chris Rowton, National Auto Warranty Services
Chuck Blossom, Boone Center
Michael Staenberg and Darren Ridenhour, THF Realty


Gold Level
Hunter Beckham, SWT Design
Terry Beeler, CenturyTel
Dan Brungard, McEagle Properties
John Donjoian and Doug Smith, Gateway Off-Road Cyclists
JT Fisher, Ghisallo Racing Team
Stuart Higano, Town and Country Cardiovascular
Doug Kiburz, West Central Missouri Orthopedics
David Kieffer, Orthopedic Surgery
Mike Weiss, Big Shark Bicycle Shop

Silver Level
Ed Martin, Ed Martin Law Firm LLC
John Merli, Dogfish Apparel

Bronze Level
Todd Antoine, Great Rivers Greenway District
Caryn Giarratano, Nonmotorized Solutions
Brent Hugh, Missouri Bicycle Federation
Paul Lambi, Mayor Wentzville
Ann Mack, St. Louis Trailnet
Darren Marhanka, Lindenwood College
Doug Smith, Robert Wohler Law Firm
John Sweet, St. Louis Bike Federation
Ed Watkins, President Westplex

Thanks to several new sponsorships at Saturday's Cycling Summit, this list is incomplete and still growing. If you would like to join or support the Commission, contact Caryn Giarratano (573-680-5105 or nonmotorizedsolutions[at]mchsi.com)

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