Exploring downtown St. Louis and visiting the Gateway Arch by bicycle

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There are so many beautiful and fun places to explore by bicycle in Missouri, and it is becoming easier to do so while you’re on duty as a truck driver. Regular readers know how I love to visit the 237 mile-long Katy Trail as it passes through historic St. Charles, but two new truck stops near downtown St. Louis now make it possible to park and visit the Gateway Arch and other downtown attractions by bicycle.

I began my trip from the Love’s Travel Stop off of I-70 at the Broadway exit. There is also a Phillip’s 66 stop with truck parking about a mile south of Love’s. Click here for a map of my route. From Love’s, it is about a 6.5 mile ride to the Gateway Arch downtown.

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imageThis was taken from the Eads Bridge, which has a bike and pedestrian lane which can get you over to Illinois.

imageThis is the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Museum, as viewed from the west with the Gateway Arch behind it.

imageBusch Stadium, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals. Yeah, I suppose you could come here during the summer and cheer for the Tigers or Cubs when they come to town.

imageThis mural depicting people escaping along the Underground Railroad is at the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing and Rest Area along the Riverfront Trail, just north of the Merchants Bridge.

20141213_105833Much of the Riverfront Trail passes through industrial areas just north of the Arch. If you’re a nerd like I am you might enjoy watching cranes lift coal out of train cars, and watch the coal be carried on conveyor belts above the trail and down to the river where it is loaded onto ships on the Mississippi River.

As usually is the case when I’m in the middle of a workday, I had to cut my trip short so I couldn’t visit as many places I’d like. I didn’t have time, or a bike lock, to make a trip to the top of the Gateway Arch possible. I’ve done that before though, and I recommend it. The views are spectacular. On my next trip I hope to make time for the City Museum, which I’m told is a lot of fun.
Did I miss anything? What other places would you recommend visiting in downtown St. Louis during a bicycling trip?

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Sunday morning Detroit bike ride photo album

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I took these photos in Detroit yesterday morning. I had never seen the Detroit Free Press Marathon before so I got down there early to ride my bike around.  I believe it is the only international marathon, routing the runners over the Ambassador Bridge to Canada then back through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.  The tunnel is nerve-racking enough by car, I can’t imagine running through it.  When I took the third photo the main pack of runners were beginning the Canadian portion of the route, and you could hear the thousands of supporters cheering from across the river.

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The runners return to the U.S. via the tunnel

If you’d like to see more of my photos my Instagram user name is Kevin_McKague.
Find my MapMyRide profile for route ideas.

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30 years later, I finally got to ride my bike across the Ambassador Bridge!

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Last year I told you about how back in high school a friend of mine and I tried to ride our bikes from our homes in Novi, Michigan to Canada via the Ambassador Bridge. The bridge officials politely turned us away so we ended up riding to Tiger Stadium where some nice fans offered us free tickets to a game. It was 1984, and the Tigers went on to win the World Series. It was a great year.
30 years later, the Tigers didn’t make it to the World Series but I finally got to ride my bike across the Ambassador Bridge! Once a year the good folks at Tour de Troit set up a ride for approximately 500 cyclists to make the rare international trek. This year it was Windsor, Ontario’s turn to host. After crossing into Detroit and returning we were given a 20-mile tour around the city. Windsor is a great bicycling city, with plenty of scenic trails with a great view of the Detroit River. After the official ride and a delicious lunch provided by Windsor Eats, a friend of mine continued on our own tour of the city. I will definitely be back.
Click here for some great coverage of the event from The Windsor Star.
International truckers, there is a truck stop in Windsor not far from the bike trails (Click here for a map), but I have not been there so I can not vouch for its quality. It certainly can’t be worse than the Detroiter truck stop in Woodhaven, Michigan! Take a chance and ride your bike around this beautiful city.

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See Lake Michigan on your 30 minute break

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On a recent round trip between Flint and Chicago Heights, Illinois, I stopped at the T/A Travel Center in Sawyer, Michigan and rode to Warren Dunes State Park along the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan. The trip is short enough to complete in 30 minutes, which is good because that’s all the time I could spare without being late. This is a beautiful beach and I definitely recommend visiting, especially if you have more than a half hour to spend.
Click here for the route I took. When looking at the map note that my return trip was far more direct than my trip to the beach. It turns out that some short cuts aren’t that short after all!
Remember drivers, just because the DOT says you have to take a 30 minute break it doesn’t mean you have to spend it moping in a truck stop! Go exploring!

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Bicycle Vacation Photo Album

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As much as I like my job and the freedom it gives me to explore different areas if the country by bike, I was due for a vacation. I cashed in some paid vacation time and spent nine blissful days away from the diesel fumes and lined up some bike rides.
My first stop on my itinerary was the Slow Roll bike ride in Detroit. Held every Monday night from early Spring until around Halloween, Slow Roll is one of the largest weekly group bike rides in the nation. You might have seen Slow Roll Detroit’s founder Jason Hall in an Apple ad. I’m usually out of town on Mondays, so this was my first chance to join the fun in several months. IMG_1683.JPG

On Saturday, I participated in the 13th annual Tour de Troit bike ride. This 30-mile ride took approximately 7,000 cyclists on a tour of the city’s many neighborhoods, including the historic Indian Village area, downtown and scenic Belle Isle, which is located in the Detroit River along the Canadian border.

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IMG_1765.JPGThis is Greg Ezzo. He has some very nice photos of the Tour de Troit at his website. IMG_1763.JPG

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Meanwhile over in Livonia, Michigan, cyclists had been asking the state for permission to ride along a closed section of I-96, which was in the final stages of a major reconstruction project. Our wish came true when it was announced that a small portion of the freeway would be open to pedestrians, cyclists, pets, families and marching bands before it opened to actual traffic. I took the opportunity to create a group bike ride combining the freeway event with Michigan’s Autumn tradition of apple cider and donuts. Starting at Parmenter’s Cider Mill in Northville, we carbed up on fresh homemade donuts then rode approximately 21-mile round trip along the beautiful and hilly Hines Drive and I-275 Trails. In between torrential downpours, the sun and blue skies came out just in time for the I-96 ride. All in all, it was a fun, delicious, muddy mess for everyone involved.
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It was a perfect vacation, and one that left me truly refreshed.

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Another week means another couple of round trips to Baltimore, and that means at least one bike trip to the Inner Harbor.
You can follow me on the Instagram by clicking here.

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Check out my interview at HealthyTrucker.net

In late July I had the honor of being profiled by the website HealthyTrucker.net, a great resource for those trying to stay healthy while working in what can be a very unhealthy profession. I fully intend to carry a paper copy of the article and use it in lieu of my medical card whenever I am pulled over by the police or at scales. I’m pretty sure that’s legal, right?
Click here to read the interview and to learn how I manage to turn a busy truck driving lifestyle into opportunities for adventure, fun and better health.

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