The prospect of afternoon rain in Clayton didn't keep bicyclists from visiting two sites in the city Friday morning in honor of National Bike/Walk to Work Day.
"It's been pretty successful," said Brooke Hendry, a TravelGreen intern with Trailnet, which sponsored the fueling stations. She said attendance wasn't as high as it might have been because of the uncertain weather.
She and Anna Kusnierkiewicz, a special events specialist with the Gateway Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation staffed a table in downtown Clayton outside of on Bonhomme Avenue. The cystic fibrosis group is sponsoring a Sept. 24 biking fundraiser in O'Fallon, MO, and St. Paul, MO, called Cycle for Life.
The Patio Cafe donated coffee and bagels for the event, which is aimed at recognizing alternative forms of transportation and encouraging people to be more green. Trailnet has similar goals, including making St. Louis more friendly to bicyclists and encouraging people to "start living a little more of a healthier lifestyle, Hendry said.
The two had seen a handful of bicyclists as of about 8 a.m.
Among them: Cole Mueth, a Clayton resident who lives in the Moorlands. The Monsanto chemist dropped by the fueling station on his way to work. He's had his bike for a few months and said he rode in college. In particular, he enjoys riding on trails.
Over on DeMun Avenue, Trailnet representatives had a larger crowd. They had a table with baked goods and other giveaways set up on the outdoor patio .
Joanne Boulton, a project coordinator with Trailnet, said her group had seen about 20 to 25 bikers as of about 8:30 a.m. A doctor who commutes to in Richmond Heights was among the visitors, she said.
Clayton resident Jim Mense said the availability of biking areas is one of the things that brought his family to Clayton. He came to volunteer with Trailnet, where his wife, Cindy, works as chief operating officer.
Cindy Mense said her office this week notified the cities of Clayton, Richmond Heights, Maplewood and Brentwood that $422 million in federal funding is available nationally for bicycle pedestrian projects. The cities have worked with Trailnet to develop plans for improving infrastructure for bicyclists and others.
She said the cities must act quickly because funding applications will only be accepted through early June.
Susannah Fuchs of the American Lung Association of the Plains-Gulf Region said her group will sponsor such a table at Kaldi's each month through October.
"It's all so good for air pollution and everybody else," said Fuchs, referring to bicycle transportation.
Clayton resident Mark Ashby lives in the DeMun neighborhood. He sat at an outdoor table visiting with Matt Dale, who works at Cannonball advertising agency on Maryland Avenue. Both rode their bikes to Kaldi's.
"I guess I've been doing it since I was in high school," Dale said about bicycling. He said biking to work doesn't really take anymore time than driving, even though he sweats a little bit more. He said he doesn't like to buy gas or support the practice.
"It's a nice commute, great way to start the day," Ashby said.
Ray Irwin, who lives just outside of Clayton on Skinker Boulevard, joined the conversation. In October, Irwin retired from LMI Aerospace in St. Charles. Before retiring, he had begun biking to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, a trip that took about two hours one way.
"I don't like to buy gas," Irwin said.
He's taking advantage of his retirement by going on biking trips, too. Beginning June 2, Irwin will start a ride across Kansas. In August, he'll bike along Lake Michigan.