Launching 2019 with the Mississippi Valley Bike + Outdoor Expo


Launching 2019 with the Mississippi Valley Bike + Outdoor Expo

A letter from Trailnet CEO Ralph Pfremmer

This past weekend Trailnet participated in St. Louis’ oldest and largest show of its kind, the Mississippi Valley Bike + Outdoor Expo.  It was produced by our friends and partners at Terrain Magazine and it was a wonderful way to get out of the house and see what’s happening outside.

Terrain Magazine, published six times a year, focuses on all things outdoors and is significant to our region. Trailent’s mission is to make walking and biking better in the St. Louis region and our alignment with Terrain is an important partnership. We’re proud of the magazine’s publisher Brad Kovach and applaud his team for their efforts in highlighting Trailnet’s work in their magazine.

Trailnet’s event calendar is also published in Terrain Magazine. If you are a Trailnet member, you receive a free subscription to Terrain through our partnership. Sign up here to be a member today.

This year the Mississippi Valley Bike + Outdoor Expo moved locations from the Gateway Executive Center in Collinsville IL, to St. Louis Union Station, Downtown. Also new to the event was the inaugural Gateway Outdoor Summit put on by our friends at Active Strategies. Deputy Executive Director, Cindy Mense, joined me to facilitate the day’s wrap-up, an hour-long craft beer inspired collection of ideas using an instant polling platform. Participants at the summit did exercises to explore the different challenges in improving outdoor recreation for all ages, abilities, genders, races, and ethnicities. Feeling welcome in outdoor recreation can mean different things to different people. Attendees were able to text opinions on how we can improve the region’s outdoor experience while seeing the results in real time. We had a good time and there were some important takeaways. More than 100 people braved the snow to spend the day celebrating the region’s achievements in outdoor recreation while imagining what’s possible when advocates work together toward, among other things, better transportation access for all.

While presenting that afternoon I couldn’t help but acknowledge the people participating seemed to be feeling something special–a warm connection to one another with a common bond. It was inspiring to see the diversity in the partners that were invited to join in on the conversation, particularly local advocates from Outdoor Afro and GirlTrek.

From the panelists who shared a wealth of lifetime experience to those who are just starting out on an active lifestyle, the opportunity to learn from each other while broadening their networks was front and center.

In the two days that would follow, we would see thousands of people walking through the doors of Union Station. What was once our region’s premiere transportation hub transformed, for three days, into a community asset focused on connecting people through the outdoor activities they love. While the purpose of Union Station has changed a bit, she is still connecting people. The ideas and connections forged last weekend certainly engendered a new camaraderie while setting an important stage for powerful acts of teamwork to come.

Cheers to you and the entire outdoor community!