November/December Trailnet Champion | Cass Rose Carnahan
Whenever Cassandra (Cass for short) Rose Carnahan gets on her bike, she feels like a kid again. “There are very few things that still feel like childhood fun to me. Biking is fun, it gives me this feeling of exercise freedom out in the fresh air. It’s pretty much the same to me now as it was when I was little,” she says with a huge smile. From a young age, Cass has always had a passion for health and fitness which is why she took part in various athletic activities growing up. Although her interest in high school sports ended with graduation, her interest and passion for biking continued to grow. Riding her bike to and from school or to meet friends was her first taste of independence and freedom as she explored her hometown.
At 18 years old, Cass moved away from her rural hometown of Red Bud, to the big city, St. Louis! She was overjoyed that she could finally call herself a “city girl.” Riding around on country roads in Red Bud did not prepare her for riding on the streets of St. Louis. “I had to learn how to get around safely. I had learn to share the road with cars– even though some drivers didn’t want to share the road with me,” says Cass about her first few weeks riding around St. Lous. Yet, it didn’t take her long to adjust to the city cycling rules of the road. Biking helped her come to love St. Louis. Cass had found her home in our city.
Cass started beauty school in St. Louis and tried out a few different career paths after graduating that centered more around health and fitness, but she missed being a Hairstylist. She spent time trying to figure out a way to merge the two worlds so her career could combine her two passions. Cass decided to focus on naturally curly hair helping clients to maintain their natural beauty in their curls using healthy hair styling techniques. This is the moment her career path became clear and her studio name, Curls By Cass, was born.
Cass has been a Hairstylist for 15 years and she currently hosts her own studio within ChopShop in The Grove. For the past five years, Cass has watched The Grove grow and it is now one of her favorite St. Louis neighborhoods. “The Grove is an absolutely amazing diverse neighborhood. There is art everywhere, delicious food, craft beer, and small businesses are opening left and right. Plus, this area is perfect for biking!”
As someone who loves to be social, but isn’t big on the typical bar scene — Cass found an immediate connection with the biking community in St. Louis. She is a huge fan of group rides such as the Ghost Ride, South Side Cyclery Group, and the Monthly Cycle. Riding with these groups helped Cass keep up with her fit and active lifestyle while engaging in social gatherings that included food and drinks with many of her best friends. Cass recently got an urge to advance her riding from community rides to more long distance cycling. She decided to get advice from the one person she trusted the most– knowing he’d point her in the right direction– Mike Weiss from Big Shark. Mike fitted Cass with a Cannondale Synapse and recommended that if she wanted to ride longer distance rides, she should join the Trailnet Bicycle Fun Club rides.
Most new riders transitioning from casual group rides to long distance rides like to take their time by working toward 50, 60, or even 80 mile rides, but not Cass — she was ready to take on a century right away. She learned from Mike Weiss that Trailnet was hosting the Birthday Bridge Bash Ride, which had a 100-mile distance option the following month. Cass decided to learn more and reached out to Trailnet’s Rides Manager, Steve Schmidt. Steve encouraged Cass to tackle the century ride saying she’d have full support from our SAG van if she needed any help. Since then, Cass has completed five Trailnet rides, including the Bottleneck Bridge Ride and the 62-mile Metric at Ride the Rivers Century Ride.
Cass shared her thoughts on the Trailnet Vision for St. Louis.“The Grove and where I live in The Hill are pretty bike-friendly communities, but I hear people constantly expressing how scared they are to ride in the streets alongside people driving. There are just too many drivers who don’t share the road with bikers. It can be scary for people who aren’t comfortable riding. We need to have these lanes so people can ride and feel safe. This has to happen! St. Louis is capable of being a more bike-friendly city and this vision could make that happen,” Cass says with hope. She believes that everyone should not only have access to bikes, but also have the opportunity to easily bike to the places they want to go and our vision is helping make that a reality for St. Louis.