Chris Freeland power cleans his bicycle after completing Trailnet’s Ride the Rivers Century, making everyone else feel extra weak. Way to go, Chris!
Trailnet’s 12 Walk Bike Ambassadors are located throughout the St. Louis region. They help address walking and biking issues in their communities and assist Trailnet in advocacy campaigns and events. We’re excited to tell you about their recent successes!
Chris Freeland has deep roots in the Tower Grove East (TGE) neighborhood of St. Louis. He’s lived there for 16 years, is a past president of the TGE neighborhood association, and has built many productive relationships with elected officials and other TGE neighborhood residents. Tower Grove East is an area where many residents walk, bike and use transit. A passion for bike safety was one of the factors that motivated Chris to apply to Trailnet’s Walk Bike Ambassador program. Chris has increased many TGE residents’ bike safety awareness and bike route IQ by organizing group rides from the neighborhood to the Riverfront Trail and back. He also reached a personal milestone this year by completing his first 100-mile century ride in Trailnet’s Ride the Rivers event. Next year Chris will be designing a community bike ride route for Trailnet to tour libraries of St. Louis, which is a natural for someone who works as a librarian at Washington University! Chris will also work with Trailnet on TGE community outreach when the City completes a design proposal for traffic calming improvements on Louisiana Ave. In his spare time Chris and his husband, also named Chris, are often busy with their soap making business. Their product can be found at a number of local stores in the Tower Grove area, and at various community events.
The tour wound its way through Tower Grove Park, visiting the Christopher Columbus statue (one of few examples in the world of the explorer sporting a beard), and the stone ruins salvaged from the Lindell Hotel that sit at the edge of the park’s central pond.
Many thanks to LaBerta and Sons Cycles for providing eco-SAG support, to Michael Allen for choosing our destinations and sharing his seemingly limitless knowledge of the area, and to Mark Axe and Peter Wollenberg for the great photographs. Trailnet thanks The London Tea Room not only for providing delicious food and a variety of fancy teas to riders, but also for donating part of the proceeds from their sales to Trailnet.
On June 21, Trailnet hosted our first ever bicycle-powered bakery tour, “Bakeries on the Rise.” The day was slightly overcast, offering a reprieve from the hot summer sun, with a slight breeze all morning. Conditions were prime for a ride– and 94 people (!) of all ages came out for this 8-mile South City ride.
We began our quest for pastries at Whisk: A Sustainable Bake Shop. Owner and baker extraordinaire Kaylen Wissinger offered up some cookie samples, as well as a little history on her Cherokee Street storefront. We then made our way through Dutchtown, across Grand, and into the South Town neighborhood to visit the Companion Earlybird Outlet. Only open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, this hidden gem is a great place for anyone on a budget who wants top-notch breads and pastries. From here we crested a great BIG hill (whew!) into the Tower Grove South neighborhood and then turned into Tower Grove East, where we visited the brand new Grove East Provisions and Red Fox Baking and Catering. Proprietor Barry Kinder told us all about the process behind building a wood-fired brick oven, and how Red Fox and Grove East Provisions came to enter a neighborhood cornershop partnership. Our final stop took us back to Cherokee Street, where we paid a visit to Black Bear Bakery, which is operated as a cooperative establishment.
Many riders said that we visited places they had either never heard of, or had been meaning to try for some time. We saw bike baskets and panniers filled with loaves of bread, bagels, and sweets to take home, and heard plenty of riders saying they will be back to visit these local businesses again soon!
Thank you to Great Rivers Greenway District and Enterprise Holdings Foundation who provided funding for this ride, and to everyone who came out, supported local business, and learned some new bicycling routes through the city. Special thanks also to the participating bakeries who welcomed our riders with great service and plenty of delicious treats to choose from. Life is sweet when you’re two-wheeled in St. Louis!