by Caroline Hillard
What do beer, movies, and bicycling have in common (aside from being my favorite pastimes)? All three were featured at last Friday’s Clips of Faith Beer and Film Tour in Soulard, sponsored by New Belgium Breweryout of Fort Collins, CO. I was one of several volunteers pouring beer there for Trailnet.
New Belgium characterized the event as a celebration of “the creative expressions of both brewing and film.” The idea here is that both filmmaking and beer making are artistic endeavors, so why not enjoy handmade films while sipping handmade beer? The link becomes more explicit when you realize that many of the filmettes featured on the tour unabashedly promote NB beers. Take, for example, a noir vignette in which the enigmatic protagonist reaches for a Fat Tire or the clip about two anthropomorphized bottles of Lips of Faith that go to New York City.
In any case, the beers did have an inspired quality to them. Although the line-up included NB’s well-known varieties such as Fat Tire and Skinny Dip, there was also a selection of truly unique (some only available on the tour) craft beers destined for a more discriminating consumer. These “esoteric” brews included the super-sour La Folie, the likes of which I had never encountered before. The beer-tasters could record their reactions to the samples in a “beer passport,” a booklet with basic info about each beer and an “attribute flower” for charting its characteristics. A few more ambitious tasters applied their skills to the Lips of Faith contest. The contenders had to guess the names and percentages of three beers mixed together in a pitcher. The very excited winner’s name (there was screaming) was then entered in drawing for the chance to win a trip to CO.
What does this have to do with cycling? Although perhaps not obvious to the attendees, an important objective of this beer-and-film fest was to raise money for bicycling advocacy. All proceeds from each stop on the Clips of Faith tour benefit the principal bicycle-based nonprofit group of the host city, which in St. Louis is Trailnet. And since it was staffed mainly by volunteers, that means all profits from the sale of beer, t-shirts, and donations have gone directly to Trailnet. Got that? Drink New Belgium beer, and foster more livable, bike-friendly cities! What other major beer producer do you know that hosts fundraisers for cycling organizations? As a company, New Belgium not only makes great beer, but they do so with an eye towards sustainability and environmentalism that seems to be unmatched in the beer-drinking world. Hats off!
So this was a night of beer-drinking with a purpose. From my vantage point behind the tap, the crowd appeared to be a relaxed group of folks: lots of couples, some cyclists, some dog-walkers, a variety of people of different ages and stripes. The atmosphere in the park adjacent to the Soulard market was lovely. This was not a huge sprawling affair, but rather was somewhat intimate, with around 350 attendees. A perfectly delightful Friday evening.
This event was my first experience as a volunteer for Trailnet, and I was impressed with the hard work and enthusiasm of the other volunteers and staff. I’ve been cycling in St. Louis since I moved here eight years ago, and, having never owned a car, I rely on the work of Trailnet and other cycling advocates to promote the infrastructure and local policies needed to make the streets here safer and more pleasant for my daily commute. Participating in Clips of Faith was a modest way to give a little bit back, while enjoying a fun evening in the process.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
by Caroline Hillard
Friday, June 25, 2010
Brake for coffee with fellow cyclists, Trailnet, and the Downtown Partnership for St. Louis on your way to work! Enjoy coffee provided by The London Tea Room and bagels provided by St. Louis Bread Company. Join us downtown the last Wednesday of every month! For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
Location: The Old Post Office Plaza, 9th and Locust
Date: Wednesday, June 30th
Photos from Trailnet's Bike to Work Day
Why should I bike to work?
Commuting by bike is a great way to get exercise while making St. Louis a better place. Biking to work is not just for the Lance Armstrong look-alikes or cuffed jean hipsters--it is for everyone! Here are some quick facts on how biking to work cannot only change your life and your workplace, but the environment, as well!
Biking to Work Helps Your Health:
- Employees who exercise 30 minutes a day have lower health care costs than those who remain sedentary*
- 80% of new bicyclists improve their heart and lungs in only eight weeks
- Cycling leads to improved mental health and productivity in the workplace
- Cyclists on average live two years longer than non-cyclists and take 15% fewer days off work due to illness
- Those who bike to work are more fit, leaner, less likely to be obese, and have better triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and insulin levels than those who do not actively commute to work, according to a study of nearly 2,400 adults.
Biking to Work Helps Your Business:
- In a 2007 survey of young professionals, 92% said they prefer to work for a company that is environmentally friendly.**
- It costs three to four times more to enroll a sedentary adult in a structured exercise program than to teach them how to integrate moderate-intensity physical activity into their life (such as bicycling for transportation.)
Biking to Work Helps the Environment:
- Motor vehicles produce $56 billion in health and other non-climate-related damages, about 1.2 to 1.7 cents for every mile traveled, according to a 2005
- A short, four-mile round trip by bicycle keeps about fifteen pounds of pollutants out of the air
- The more cyclists on the road, the more aware drivers are leading to less cycling accidents and fatalities
*Active Living Research Active Transportation Research Brief http://www.activelivingresearch.org
**Statistics from the Bikes Belong Coalition http://www.bikesbelong.org/statistics
Posted by Trailnet at 9:15 AM
Thursday, June 24, 2010
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay hosted a press conference and signing ceremony this morning to sign the St. Louis Complete Streets bill into law. It's official.
Trailnet has been working closely with City staff and elected officials for nearly two years to move the bill forward. The work is one part of our Healthy, Active & Vibrant Communities Initiative made possible through funding from Missouri Foundation for Health. As the national movement to reconnect urban planning, public health, and public policy grows, the St. Louis Complete Streets bill stands as a great example of a broad partnership securing an important win that will benefit health, livability, the environment, and create a foundation for a strong local economy. Our staff worked hard to build consensus around this bill, and we are very proud that it passed with near unanimous support from the Board of Aldermen (26 yea’s and 1 abstention), as well as, strong support from the Mayor’s office, Board President Lewis Reed’s office, and key city staff in the Board of Public Service and the Streets Department.
Congratulations to all involved on this important milestone for the City of St. Louis!
Who is next? Do you think your community is ready to consider a Complete Streets policy? Trailnet staff are available to provide communities with information, resources, and technical assistance to move Complete Streets and other important infrastructure policies forward. If you are interested, please contact Trailnet's Active Living Program Manager, Phil Valko, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Trailnet at 11:41 AM
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Now that the Complete Streets Bill has passed in St. Louis, we want to continue the conversation by focusing on some specific ways that we can improve the walkability, bikeability, and overall safety of streets throughout the region. We'll be posting a series of videos and photos highlighting specific strategies that communities should consider. This first video from streetfilms.org showcases a technique called "daylighting" that improves visibility at intersections and crosswalks.
Posted by Trailnet at 11:47 AM
Friday, June 11, 2010
We are thrilled to announce that the St. Louis Board of Alderman just voted to pass the Complete Streets bill (Board Bill 7)!
Congratulations to the bill's sponsor Shane Cohn, all of the co-sponsors, and all the city staff who have worked hard to draft and promote this important bill! The Mayor will likely hold a signing ceremony in the coming week(s) to formalize the bill into St. Louis law.
We do not have the final vote tally; however, we believe the bill passed with unanimous support.
This is phenomenal news for St. Louis. In the next few weeks and months, we will continue to work with the City to develop a plan to implement Complete Streets throughout the City. As you might expect, implementation will happen gradually as the City undertakes street projects. We will keep you in the loop every step of the way.
Posted by Trailnet at 10:43 AM
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Photo Credit: Jan Moser courtesy of pedbikeimages.org
The St. Louis Complete Streets bill (Board Bill 7) was perfected by the Board of Aldermen last Friday and will likely head to a final vote this Friday, June 11.
What will a Complete Streets bill mean for St. Louis?
It represents a very important philosophical shift towards designing and maintaining streets for people, not just cars. Throughout the past few years, St. Louis City staff and elected officials have unofficially endorsed Complete Streets principles through their support of creating bike lanes and designing more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streets -- hopefully you have noticed many of these improvements throughout the City. In fact, just last Fall, St. Louis was awarded bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community status for the strides we have taken. Although the City still has quite a ways to go and quite a bit of old ailing infrastructure to take care of, the passage of the Complete Streets bill will mark a major turning point when St. Louis officially declares a commitment to creating people-friendly streets and neighborhood environments.
Complete Streets are good for everyone. They make it safer for all roadway users including pedestrians, individuals with disabilities, bicyclists, and drivers. Complete Streets are designed to support independence of seniors, individuals with limited mobility, and safety for children walking to and from school, the local park, or their neighborhood store.
If you have not already contacted your Alderman to ask for their support of the St. Louis Complete Streets bill, please do so today! If your Alderman is NOT on the following list of co-sponsors, it is very important for you to call them. If they are on the list, please still call and thank them for their support. The bill is sponsored by Alderman Shane Cohn with the following co-sponsors:
-Freeman Bosley Sr.
-President, Lewis Reed
-Kacie Starr Triplett
You can find Aldermanic contact information HERE.
To read more about Complete Streets work taking place from coast to coast, visit the National Complete Streets Coalition.
To read the federal Department of Transportation endorsement of Complete Streets, click HERE.
Thank you for all you do to promote safe, convenient and enjoyable walking and biking throughout the St. Louis region!
Posted by Trailnet at 3:41 PM
Monday, June 7, 2010
One of the plenary speakers at Trailnet's Livable St. Louis Conference, Chris Leinberger, just published an article in the Atlantic Monthly about the walkable future of American cities. Leinberger is a land-use strategist, author, developer, and researcher who is currently a fellow at the Brookings Institution. The article talks about the link between trains, regional walkability, housing, and the role that developers can play to kick-start the shift towards livable communities.
To read the article, click here.
To read a transcript of a conversation with Chris Leinberger, click here.
Posted by Trailnet at 3:43 PM