31 July 2009

I did not like St. Louis

Except for the riverfront, but I always like riverfronts.

All of you who love to bitch and moan about how terrible the cycling conditions are in Chicago and what a joke it is to call this city "bike friendly" and the grossly inadequate number of bike racks installed and the asinine bike lane striping and the morons clogging the Lakefront Trail and how much politics and marketing have stood in the way of real progress should drag your bikes on a Lincoln Service train down to St. Louis for an afternoon. Seriously.


At 01 August, 2009 10:02, Blogger Katherine said...

I've never been to St. Louis, but now I know what to expect!

I guess Baltimore is an abyss compared to Chicago, because I never thought it was too bad. Of course, I ride the bus and take the El when I'm there...and I'm not a serious rider. :)

At 01 August, 2009 22:28, Blogger Jennifer said...

No, I meant that St. Louis was so awful that Chicago would seem bicycle heaven in comparison. There were NO bike racks at the train station, the visitor center, the arch, or anywhere in between. The bike route signs pointed in directions without indicating where they led, and I swear I was directed through surface parking lots most of the time. There weren't any curb cuts on the sidewalks leading from downtown to the arch, and there weren't any access ramps from the arch to the riverfront. I'd planned to wander around downtown and the riverfront a bit, but conditions were so hostile that I scrapped those plans in favor of returning to Illinois as soon as possible. I didn't even stop anywhere for lunch. (Where the hell was I supposed to park, anyway?) I just got a very unwelcome and unfriendly vibe from the city. Visitors to Chicago from Europe who rent bikes here report feeling the same way, which fuels indignant rage among those in the bike community, but I had no idea how good we really have it here compared to that godforsaken hellhole I was for some reason so excited to visit on a bike trip.

At 11 August, 2009 22:07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's certainly a broad set of criteria you have there for judging a city. Stay home if you're only able to assess the value of a locale based upon one factor.

With a few exceptions, the U.S. is much like my STL re: biking. Vis-a-vis Chicago , maybe the Lou isn't as bikey, but perhaps you're just not a born traveller, ready to roll with the punches that come with a foreign environment.

Baby w/bathwater, yo!


At 12 August, 2009 12:17, Blogger Jennifer said...

Again, I'm not so much complaining as informing Chicagoans who frequently complain about Chicago that we're actually pretty spoiled around here.

I usually do stay home. I'm a born stayer, and I hate everything. Tell me something I don't know.

At 12 August, 2009 12:50, Blogger Jennifer said...

Besides, what would you say to a limited-mobility visitor expressing concern about the lack of something as basic as curb cuts on the sidewalk? "Sorry, but it's your fault for judging this place on only one criterion. Just stay home, then." You'd get your butt sued off if you did that.

At 18 August, 2009 22:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before you go to St. Louis next time, check out trailnet.org, or bikestlouis.org for a little up-front homework. Sounds like you missed the long riverfront bicycle trail that starts a few feet North of the Arch on the riverfront. Here is a map of the city routes. There are a lot more across the river in Illinois and in St. Louis County out West.


At 19 August, 2009 09:53, Blogger Jennifer said...

I did plenty of up-front homework. I didn't miss the Riverfront Trail at all (in fact, I rode the whole thing up to Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, where I picked up the MCT Confluence Trail in IL); I just had an exceptionally difficult and frustrating time getting to the damned thing from the Amtrak station. For shit's sake, my bike was nearly confiscated by security because there was nowhere to park while I went to the fraking bathroom! I had to secure it somewhere, and the only secure thing available was the railing on the ramp. Believe me, I didn't want to stick my bike there, either. And there's no reason for a national monument to be so damned inaccessible to persons with limited mobility.

I would elaborate further, but there seems to be no point, since everyone seems hell-bent on assuring me that I'm just making groundless complaints.

At 19 August, 2009 10:00, Blogger Jennifer said...

Okay, why doesn't somebody please tell me exactly how to get to the St. Louis Riverfront Trail from the Amtrak station by bicycle with loaded panniers. Or wheelchair. Since it's kind of the same thing.


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