Is St. Louis a Bike Friendly City?

Bustling city scenes in movies and television shows always feature fast-riding cyclists zipping through traffic. But are all cities really that bike friendly?

For those moving to the midwestern city of St. Louis, a bike is both a practical and fun mode of transportation. Find out more about the bike lanes, public greenways, bike shops and bike rentals available in the Gateway City.

And the experts say…

According to the experts, St. Louis is a bike-friendly city!

As of 2017, St. Louis has been ranked a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists—and it is one of only two communities in the state with that high of a ranking. That being said, five levels of awards are given by the League of American Bicyclists (diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze) so a silver level still has serious room for improvement.

Bike lanes

While dedicated bike lanes are not available throughout the entire city, many parts of the community feature them. As of 2017, 150 miles of bike lanes are available on St. Louis streets, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Street routes and greenways are easy to find using the city’s interactive bicycle routes map online.

Getting around

With St. Louis City and St. Louis County taking up nearly 600 square miles, a bicycle may not be sufficient transportation for many residents. Bikes may be used in correlation with St. Louis’ public transportation system. While this system is widely known as less than perfect—and ongoing improvements frequently in the news—it does offer both buses and trains that allow commuters to bring their bicycles.

Places to ride

For those looking to stay off the street, St. Louis is filled with bike-friendly greenways. Are you trying to ride in St. Louis City? Check out downtown’s Mississippi Greenway. This flat, paved trail runs along the Mississippi River and offers 12.5 miles of prime cycling space with a fantastic view. Amenities like benches, drinking water and public restrooms make the Mississippi Greenway a fantastic way for any bike lover to spend an afternoon.

Riders located in St. Louis County, Grant’s Trail is a popular destination. Officially titled Gravois Greenway, Grant’s Trail runs through six municipalities with 8 miles of paved routes and another 2 miles of park trails. The bike trail leads to the beloved family spot Grant’s Farm just outside of city limits.

Looking for more bike trails in St. Louis City or St. Louis County? The Great Rivers Greenway website showcases St. Louis’ best places to enjoy the outdoors on a bicycle.

Places to buy or repair

Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist looking for bike repair or a new rider hoping to buy an affordable used bike, you’ll need a good bike shop. St. Louis has plenty of options across the region.

Located in the popular South City region? South Side Cyclery has been helping riders since 1933. In University City, Recycled Cycles & Service helps riders find and customize the best used bike for their needs. And from Chesterfield to downtown, four areas in and around St. Louis have locations of the popular Big Shark bicycle company.

Need to rent a bike?

Love to ride, but missing the bike? Bike share programs recently launched in St. Louis. Two bike share platforms (Lime Bike and Ofo) began service in the Gateway City earlier this year. With prices starting at $1 anyone with access to a smartphone and a credit card can unlock a green or yellow bicycle and go for a ride around St. Louis. Both of these bike share services are dockless, meaning any rider can hop off it when they are done and simply leave the bicycle where it is for the next rider to find it.

Just remember to be courteous: Pull bikes to the side of walkways and ideally leave them near other bicycle parking areas—and remember to keep them out of landscaped areas, avoid blocking sidewalk ramps and leave enough space on paths for those using wheelchairs.

 



Julia Cain