‘Make Your Own Adventure’: Cyclists Share Their Go-To Rides In St. Louis And Beyond
Bike sales skyrocketed early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, with one St. Louis shop reporting a jump from an average of 60 sales per week to nearly 140 in the spring of 2020.
In a world of shutdowns and solo adventures closer to home, the cycling uptick made sense. And if the region’s still-busy parks and trails are any indication, many people are still riding (and walking, running and rolling!) a lot, even with the return to a semblance of normalcy.
That includes Emma Klues, who last year finished a personal project to ride or walk every single mile of the Great Rivers Greenway network — all 128 of them.
“It was really cool to discover different parts of our region that I might not go to otherwise,” said Klues, vice president of communications and outreach for Great Rivers Greenway. “It’s three full counties. And so the time it takes and resources to be able to get out to all of them was really helpful in understanding what people’s experiences are like and helping me be able to talk about them better in my job.”
On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Klues shared several of her favorite trails in conversation with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl. Also participating in the discussion was Kevin Hahn, policy manager with Trailnet.
“The first place that I always think to ride is right out the front door,” Hahn said, “Whether you live on a street that feels safe and is calm and you can confidently ride on it or a park that’s nearby, that always to me is the best place. Just to head out the door on your bike is a really freeing feeling.”
He, Klues and Ahl ran through a number of recommendations on air, and listeners chimed in too. Here are just a handful of options to inspire your next close-to-home adventure:
Maline Greenway in Bella Fontaine County Park
“It is absolutely beautiful,” Klues said. “The park was gorgeous before, and we just upgraded some of their paths to be a full greenway, replaced some of the bridges over the creeks, [and] did some creek restoration work.”
Gravois Greenway: Grant’s Trail
Hahn recommends this ride because of some great recent connections between trails. “You can access a whole lot of the city and the county that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to, which is really wonderful,” he says.
St. Louis resident Terrie and her husband, Jorge, have been riding this one a lot as they prepare for Pedal the Cause in late September, a fundraiser for Siteman Cancer Center and the Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “We’ve been riding weekly … it’s just a highlight of the week,” Terrie said.
Madison County Trails
St. Louis resident Patrick wrote in recommending this whole system, and Klues noted that the network connects nicely to the transit system, making it easy to have a lot of choices when figuring out routes.
Ride to Clementine’s Creamery
Another listener, Lauren, asked, “Does the 1.5-mile ride from McKinley Heights to Clementine’s Creamery in Lafayette Square count?” (It absolutely counts!) “It’s a family fave,” Lauren added. “We also do a couple loops through Lafayette Park to feel like we’re getting a longer ride in, which is always lovely because of the shade and scenery.”
Start with the Christy Greenway
Rich wrote on the St. Louis on the Air Facebook page, “In south city, you can pick up the Christy Boulevard bike lanes which continue as the Christy Greenway, which in turn connects to the River Des Peres trail. From there, your options are widespread. You can go to Jefferson Barracks Park, or out Grant's Trail to Kirkwood, or north into Maplewood (from which a couple of miles of street riding will get you to Forest Park, which in turn connects you to the St. Vincent Greenway into north city, and trails which will take you all the way to Ferguson).”
Ahl recommended this eight-mile trail for residents and visitors to Rolla, Missouri. It winds through a variety of parks in the area.
The River Road in Illinois
Hahn, who used to live in Quincy, Illinois, said he has fond memories of riding from downtown Quincy all the way to Marblehead.
Klues said this path in St. Charles County is a favorite of hers because of the beautiful trees and “meandering quality,” as well as different choices for where to head next. “I appreciate that variety of being able to make your own adventure.”
The conversation also touched on the upcoming Moonlight Ramble, a unique way to experience nighttime St. Louis.
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. Paola Rodriguez is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.