The Lou: Bicycling in Saint Louis

Matthew Vandivort of Team Six Cycle-RK&O, a New York-based racing team, posted an account of a recent visit to his home town of St. Louis and ride through the heart of the city and along the Riverfront Trail

Bicycling in St. Louis
Bicycling in St. Louis

Our journey started at Big Shark Bicycling Company in the Central West End and headed east through North Saint Louis – a neighborhood comprised of historic townhouses that in many cases have seen better days – a neighborhood beautifully, and unfortunately accurately, captured in Demond Meek’s #slumbeautiful. A piece of street art in the neighborhood – “the land that time forgot” – appropriately captures the sentiment of abandoned and derelict buildings, interspaced with some optimistic but sparse signs of urban rebirth.

As we approached downtown – passing the Edward Jones Dome (originally christened the TWA dome, when TWA existed and St Louis was home to an airline hub) – we got our first full glimpse of the Gateway Arch, the icon that Saint Louis is perhaps best known for (Saint Louis mythology suggests that the city was also home to the invention of the ice cream cone at the 1904 Worlds Fair, but this may be more urban legend than reality).

We paused beneath the Gateway Arch for a few minutes to ponder the view – the muddy Mississippi and the numerous bridge crossings connecting East with West – before turning North, in and out of the shade of the large floodwall separating the city from the Mississippi. When the flood wall was original built in the 1950?s it presumably protected significant industrial properties, but on our ride the view was more industrial wasteland than anything else – scrap yards, automotive junk yards and the like establishing a stark contrast to the untamed natural beauty of the river on our right.

Read the rest of Vandivort's account and see his photos here.