For some reason, I decided to dust off my bike (literally) and hit the Riverfront Trail today. I managed to finally lower the seat (it was a hand-me-down from my brother, who is much taller than I am) and after pumping up the tire three times (it refuses to hold air, thus my excuse for not biking in the last two years), I grabbed my helmet and my camera and left.
Then I promptly detoured. There are a few bars I had been meaning to find, so I ventured down S. Broadway, marvelling at how beautiful the stretch is right at Jefferson and Broadway. I went a little West, driving down Virginia, where I have recently found a wealth of great bars I can't wait to hit: The Office, The Wedge Bar. On Michigan, I found a little place that made me happy. And then I continued my meandering to finally find Frank's First Alarm Bar and Grill. I am a sucker for names, and this little ditty did me in by its title.
I drove up Broadway, finding a beautiful mural on the side of a market.
I went to Bellerive Park and watched the barges and the trains.
And then, I went North, up to the Trail. After pumping up my tire (again-- and I had to do it twice in my 3 mile ride), I biked. I passed no one else. The sun was shining. I heard the trains whining and wailing as they passed just west of me. I watched the river, and I thought over and over what a great city we live in. I ws thinking of Steve Smith's latest post on his blog, Word on the Street, about anti-love letters, people posting who are none too happy with St. Louis. I just kept thinking, if only they could feel this. I felt like a kid, my legs pumping as I cycled, and yet all I kept thinking of was what I had driven by in the previous hour, the amazing ways our city changes in just a few miles, and how the people who live in each neighborhood own that neighborhood and give it a feel, a vibe.
I drove home via Chouteau's Landing, marvelling at the Grafitti Wall. I drove the distance, 0.9 miles along the road before the road dissolved into train tracks. I had never seen the full span of grafitti before, and I was in awe at the things people need to tell, to show, to put down somewhere where it will have a life, an audience, and also a quiet solitude.
Maybe it was just the texture of the road on my old bike, thumping and rattling-- or perhaps it was walking and talking to the folks on S. Broadway who seemed so perplexed that I would find small slices of their street beautiful, but today, this city felt alive. And further proof of what a great day it is in STL, on the radio, there was talk of the BalLoon Race, and as I came home, I was awash in a sea of red-- Cardinals fans. If you can't find something to love here, all I have to say is, get the hell out.