Great River Road 16 - Chain of Rocks Bridge, St. Louis, MO

A nice Sunday afternoon bike ride turns sour.

Eleanor

We bought MsBoyink a new bike just before leaving Michigan - a ‘70’s era Schwinn. We’re hoping the upright seating position, swept back handlebars and skinny tires are a good fit for her “less than hardcore” biking abilities.  The bike just seemed to need a name - something old school and elegant. I dubbed it Eleanor.

Biking in St. Louis

We got a map from the campground office laying out the different bike paths in St. Louis. The ambition to make St. Louis a bike-friendly town is evident with marked lanes and signs visible wherever we’ve driven.

What we haven’t seen much of is bikers using them.

Chain of Rocks Bridge

We wanted to ride across the Chain of Rocks bridge - a former Route 66 bridge now open to bikers and pedestrians only. It gets its name from a long rocky section in the Mississippi River that it spans.

After years of being the marquee Mississippi crossing for motorists on Route 66, the privately-owned tollbridge went unused for 30 years after a free public bridge went in just upstream. During that time the bridge was used in the movie Escape from New York (along with several other locations in St. Louis).

 

Not sure why, but it seemed like a place to strike a pose.

Not sure why, but it seemed like a place to strike a pose.

New art made to look old on the Missouri approach to the bridge.

New art made to look old on the Missouri approach to the bridge.

Old signs on the Chain of Rocks Bridge

Old signs on the Chain of Rocks Bridge

Our motley crew of 70's, 80's and 90's bikes.

Our motley crew of 70's, 80's and 90's bikes.

MsBoyink and Miranda take in the view

MsBoyink and Miranda take in the view

View on the Chain of Rocks Bridge.

View on the Chain of Rocks Bridge.

Water intake towers in the river.

Water intake towers in the river.

Symmetry.

Symmetry.

Biking the Chain of Rocks Bridge (a replay of a Periscope recording). Apologies for the orientation issue.

Our Ride

The closer lot on the Missouri side was closed so we backtracked to another park just a mile or so from the bridge.  We parked, unloaded the bikes, and left for the bridge.

We did learn one possible reason we didn’t see more bikers out - the bike trail had a crossing over a busy road. It had dedicated stoplights activated by a standard “crosswalk” button. We pushed the button, the lights went yellow and then red. And the cars just kept driving through the red lights.

I’ve never seen more people blatantly run red lights in my life. We just sat aghast and waited for a law-abiding driver to stop.

Overall we spent about an hour and a half biking over the bridge, enjoying the views and biking back.  It was good to be out riding again as a family - something we have hoped to do more of along the river.

Turned Sour

When we got back to the truck we found that it had been broken into. This was our mistake. We ignored some “yellow flags” while finding parking. It took longer to get where we wanted to be so we were in a rush and not making good decisions and trusting our gut instincts.

We’re fine, we still have a truck, nothing is gone that we can’t live without or replace easily. We filed a police report, talked to our insurance company, and already have the truck scheduled for a small door repair.

It’s actually the first theft or vandalism that we’ve had during our 5 years of travel so we feel lucky in that regard.

If You Go

There are other parking areas on the Illinois side of the bridge that are better. The bike ride from where we parked on the Missouri side to the bridge wasn’t all that anyway - so you won’t miss anything.

River Crossings

This ride brought our total Mississippi River crossings to 41.

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2 Comments Great River Road 16 - Chain of Rocks Bridge, St. Louis, MO

  1. Picture of AnneAnneOctober 30, 2015

    I live in St. Louis and lately there have been a bunch of truck and van break-ins downtown.  I’m sorry to hear that you have to add that your St. Louis experiences.

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