Taking active transportation to the next level
Like many local professionals, Adrian Stillman makes frequent trips to other cities in the Midwest. Unlike most business travelers, Adrian makes these visits without getting into a car or walking through an airport. His modes of transportation include his bicycle, Metro bus, MetroLink and Amtrak.
In order to get in better shape and to save money, Adrian sold his car five years ago, bought a used bicycle, and began commuting to his office by bike—a twelve-mile round trip. Never a bicyclist before this, he soon decided to extend his car-free travels beyond St. Louis.
Adrian’s most recent trip took him to Milwaukee in early November. Loaded with a change of clothes and his laptop, he left his house at 4:30 a.m., biked a few blocks to catch an express bus to the Brentwood MetroLink station, rolled his bike onto the Metro and arrived at the Amtrak station in plenty of time for his train’s 6:40 a.m. departure. Adrian estimated door-to-door travel time for his trip to Milwaukee at ten hours. A nonstop flight to Milwaukee from St. Louis takes just over an hour. This begs the obvious question: why does he do it?
“I love being able to explore and appreciate the world as I travel,” Adrian said. “Using my bike and transit, I can relax and enjoy the scenery, look at the interesting architecture and hear the music – I can explore the new city in a way that you just can’t in a car.”
Most importantly, Adrian values the way that his travels allow him to “connect with other people by sharing physical and social space with them.”
Trailnet staff member Ginny McDonald accompanied Stillman on the St. Louis leg of his journey and observed Adrian connecting and conversing with everyone from the bus driver, to other early-morning commuters, to the person who sold him his first cup of coffee at the Amtrak station. Other transit commuters shared the value of time spent together rather than being isolated in a car. Two co-workers who knitted during their bus ride described their commute as “much more relaxing than driving and a lot cheaper than therapy.”
Would Stillman recommend this mode of travel to others?
“It’s very empowering to travel like this, especially to new places,” he said. “We are all good at throwing obstacles in front of ourselves that prevent us from doing new things. It is up to us to overcome those obstacles.”
One of the barriers that Adrian encountered on this trip was having to dismantle and box his bike for the train from Chicago to Milwaukee. Amtrak baggage staff helped him with the transfer.
“Those guys were great,” Adrian said. “Any connection is so valuable, even when you have to ask for help and show that you are a little vulnerable. That’s life.”
Adrian also appreciates the importance of Trailnet’s efforts in helping to break down barriers to biking and using transit in our region.
“They are doing some awesome things for our community,” He said. “Don’t keep it a secret – tell a friend!”
2015 Walk and Bike Count Data
The data from our 2015 walk and bike counts is in. Thanks to the 76 volunteers who donated 152 hours of their time to count cyclists and pedestrians throughout the St. Louis Metro region in September. Collecting such extensive data can be a real challenge, and it would not have been possible without them. You’ve helped make Trailnet a resource for advising the city and other organizations on transportation-related decisions. We have summited the data to the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, which compiles data for use by planners, governments, and bicycle and pedestrian professionals. We also submit the data to local planning agencies and nonprofits to inform plans for better biking and walking.
Host a DIY Bike to Work Day Station
Host a DIY Bike to Work Day Station at your workplace on National Bike to Work Day, Friday, May 15. Join Trailnet in counting 500 cyclists throughout the STL area. We will help promote your station and your business!
How it works:
- Recruit co-workers to run the station with you.
- Decide what breakfast items you will provide. If your workplace’s budget allows, these items may be purchased, or donated by partner businesses.
- Once you have an idea of who will run the station and what breakfast items will be provided, fill out the DIY Station form, found here. Trailnet will follow up with you to arrange for educational materials to be displayed at your station.
- Make a plan to promote Bike to Work Day through your workplace’s employee newsletter, email, flyers in the breakroom, and social media (don’t forget, Trailnet will be promoting your station too, so someone from outside your workplace might stop by).
- If your workplace doesn’t have one already, create a team on ShiftYourCommute.com. Co-workers can join your company’s team and log their car-free miles. On Bike to Work Day, everyone who logs their car-free commute is eligible to win prizes!
- Provide support and encouragement for your co-workers leading up to Bike to Work Day. Some ideas include:
Route mapping – Provide links or maps in your company-wide newsletter or break room featuring bike-friendly routes. If you are a regular bike commuter, list your favorite streets, shortcuts, and parks to ride through.
- Bike mentors – Pair novice cyclists with experienced bike commuters who can accompany them on their first ride to work.
- Bike trains – Identify a handful of meeting locations to “pick up” fellow bike commuters on the way to work. Designate an experienced commuter to lead the group from each spot, ending at your workplace’s Bike to Work Day station.
- On Bike to Work Day, make sure to track the number of people who visit your station (don’t forget to count yourself and any colleagues who help run the station), and send your final tally to email@example.com by Monday, May 18.
- Thank your volunteers, pat yourselves on the back, and start thinking of ideas for next year. Share your successes through your company’s social media, employee newsletter, and partners. Share the experience with Trailnet and send any photos or quotes to firstname.lastname@example.org.