Trailnet Champions – Mark and Robyn Wittry
Mark and Robyn Wittry have helping improve bicycling and walking in St. Louis for most of Trailnet’s lifespan. They have been Trailnet members for 17 years and regularly participate in our community and long-distance rides. Now, with the emergence of our Connecting St. Louis plan, they are more hopeful than ever that the region can become a nurturing community for people who bike—something important to them as lifelong bicyclists.
“I grew up in a two-car, five-kid family where my only means of transportation to school outside busses and hitching a ride was a bicycle,” said Mark. “When I got into [medical] practice, I knew I needed to get back into exercise and knew I needed a bike that was better than a hand-me-down.”
It was during his search for a new bicycle that Mark discovered Trailnet. Walking into Maplewood Bicycle 17 years ago, Mark saw one of Trailnet’s fliers for Bicycle Fun Club. The first ride he and his wife did was Tour de Fat (we’ve since discontinued this ride). He noted that at the end of the ride you got a beer rather than just a shirt (we’ve held on to this element, for sure).
As Mark and Robyn begin to enter retirement, they are faced with a changing St. Louis—making them reconsider their plans to move out of the region for a more bicycle-centric culture.
“The vision is impressive,” Mark said. “It has us re-thinking our plans. We thought about moving upon retirement to central Michigan to do more bike riding. Now there are more plans to connect us to the city and elsewhere… I think with bike infrastructure more people will take advantage for the exercise and commute.”
Mark said that for him bicycling is part of a healthy-living routine; riding your bike to work may take a bit more time out of your day, but your mind and body see the benefit and when you arrive home, you don’t have to worry about cramming in a workout. Instead, he said, you have time to socialize with your family.
The bicycling community, he said, is a major part of why Mark and Robyn have been such stalwart Trailnet members.
“My attitude is: I don’t want to just sit on my tush. So besides doing the exercise bike or single rides, Robyn and I would go out and socialize,” Mark said. “Now Trailnet has more to offer like Bicrobrews and historic rides. There is more incentive to go out on a Saturday or Sunday and socialize.”
One of Mark and Robyn’s most recent rides was our Vision Ride—a tour of various areas that could be improved for bicycling and walking through Trailnet’s vision for enhanced infrastructure.
Mark is a physician in radiology and Robyn is a retired administrative assistant for orthopedic trauma. They hope to volunteer more with Trailnet in the coming years once they are both retired.
If you know someone who would make a good Trailnet Champion, email Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org.