Cycling has been ramping up recently in the St. Louis area to become one of the region’s most popular — and fastest growing — pastimes and modes of transportation. St. Louis has several local cycling organizations – Trailnet, for example -- which provide resources for riders and advocate on their behalf, working to make local traffic more bicycle friendly. The area is the setting for some fantastic riding, including over 120 miles of paved bikeways in the St. Louis region.
And all of this is about to get dramatically better.
With the passage of Prop P in the spring of 2013, voters in St. Louis and St. Louis County approved a small sales tax increase that will generate more than $9 million a year for the Great Rivers Greenway district to accelerate its trail-building. Great Rivers will be able to finish 90 miles of off-street trails in about 10 years, about half the time that would have been required otherwise. That means that in about 2023, cyclists will be able to bike, and hikers walk, from Jefferson Barracks Park in south St. Louis County to the Katy Trail, more than 30 miles away. The Katy Trail, in turn, stretches a bikeable and walkable 225 miles across the state of Missouri.
And looking ahead too, the region has plans for an on-road bicycle system of more than 1,000 miles through the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and parts of St. Charles County.
Even before the passage of Prop P, in 2012, St. Louis was named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, which identifies communities that welcome cyclists, encourage bicycle transportation and provide safe accommodation. The league recognized the region for its many initiatives and remarkable progress, including over 75 miles of on-street designated bicycle lanes and the McKinley Bridge Bikeway and Trestle, a 3,000-foot-long cantilevered bicycle lane spanning the Mississippi River and developed by Great Rivers Greenway.
Some already completed area bikeway projects include scenic trails along the Mississippi River, others in the Illinois counties of Madison and St. Clair and still others, on the Missouri side in the City of St. Louis and in St. Louis and St. Charles counties.
If rougher riding is your preference, several local parks offer a network of rugged mountain biking trails as well, like Castlewood State Park. For a look at all of the area’s trails or to learn more about cycling in St. Louis, check out these Web sites: (list to come)