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Over the course of the next year, St. Louis Public Radio plans to address the issue of the St. Louis region's aging infrastructure.With the 250th anniversary of the city coming up in 2014, we will look at the importance of the area's rivers, highway system, mass transit system and the infrastructure (sewers, bridges, utilities, etc.) that keeps the region's economic engine running.Even though the series focuses on transportation and infrastructure, it's about a whole lot more than going from point A to point B. It's about all the little connections that happen in between, from economics to politics to the environment and more.The series will include in-depth stories and interviews by members of the STLPR newsroom, "St. Louis on the Air" discussions, special events, commentaries and web-exclusive content.

Why This St. Louisan Is An Avid Bike Commuter: His Truck Was Stolen

Erin Williams
St. Louis Public Radio

We’ve all been there: You get in the car and begin driving your normal route, only to hit construction and be re-routed to another street, or traffic that forces you to creep along at a snail’s pace. In your annoyance, you glance out the window and spy a cyclist whizzing by and think, ‘Man, I need to get one of those.’

For Sean Lowery, commuting by bike is more than a summertime hobby  - it’s a way of life. The 27-year-old Marine Villa resident has been commuting on two wheels for three years now, and has created a whole new transportation lifestyle for himself.

Lowery owns two bicycles – a 1973 fixed-gear Schwinn Varsity he uses for daily commuting and a 1983 Raleigh Olympian bicycle outfitted with fenders and front and rear racks for transporting groceries. He has a one-way, five mile commute that he takes year-round.

Six months ago, he became vehicle free when his truck was stolen from the driveway. He decided to savor the moment of being without four wheels and has yet to replace it.

“I called my mom and said, ‘Well hey look – a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders,'" Lowery said. "'I don’t have to worry about maintenance or gas or insurance.'”

Some excerpts from the interview:

Challenges: “The weather is a daily challenge. That’s something that maybe inhibits a lot of people from riding to work is that they think ‘Oh, I’m going to get all sweaty.’ Riding in the wintertime, riding in the rain, definitely it’s a learned skill. I drive maybe once every three weeks just to get dog food. I do still have a driver’s license.”

Pedestrian/driver relationship: “I feel like I see a lot of the same people every morning just because I’m there sometime between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. every day, and they usually give me a pretty wide berth. I don’t really see it as a me vs. them – it’s an us -together-both-getting-there-safely type of thing. Despite what you might think, they don’t want to run you over – I would hope not, anyway.”

On bucking the hipster trend: “I think if you were to look at the general demographics of bikers in St. Louis, you would find a whole spectrum of people, whether there be middle aged men or young women, everybody can do it. We should just be happy that there are more bikes on the road.”

Bicycle resources:

ShiftYourCommute.com – A Trailnet-sponsored site  that allows users to track how often and far they ride – and calories burned. Includes a ‘Workplace Challenge’ for companies and organizations to win prizes for going car-free.

Great Rivers Greenway – A regional resource on commuting outdoors in multiple ways, including news updates and an on-street path and trail locator.

St. Louis Biking Reddit page – a community forum where riders can ask general bicycle questions, post about events, and invite other riders to meet up.

Follow Erin Williams on Twitter: @STLPR_Erin

This story is part of How We Move, an ongoing series on transportation and infrastructure in the St. Louis Region. Have an idea for a story for the series? Email us at news@stlpublicradio.org.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.