Free outdoor summer fun in St. Louis arrived last night with the first Wednesday night concert at the Botanical Garden. One of the big perks of bike riding is attending events without having to worry too much about parking, traffic, etc.
Instead of rushing to get there early, we cooked a nice dinner (featuring local black beans and salsa so delicious that I could just eat it by the spoonful). After a bit of digesting, we biked over to The Garden.
We arrived to find the bicycle racks full. No worries, on to the Forbidden Light Posts.
Background: Until about a year ago, when The Garden finally installed decent bike parking, the bicycle rack was a classic fail: wheel bender style, not bolted to the ground, sitting in the middle of the parking lot with obvious signs that it had been hit by cars in the past. Look my bike up there like a sitting duck? No thanks. Many other bikers obviously felt the same way; we preferred the safer and more secure alternative of locking our bikes to the light posts. The Garden disapproved and sent their minions in golf carts to inform us about the “proper bike parking.” Uh huh. After several failed attempts to communicate like reasonable people and explain to security why their idea of bicycle parking was unacceptable (and several attempts to contact higher-ups at The Garden to discuss ideas for remedying the issue, which received no reply), we resorted to simply ignoring the security guards and going about the business of locking our bikes to the Forbidden Light Posts.
Whether it was through our civil disobedience, or the contact attempts, The Garden finally got the memo. Since the installation, I have enjoyed the new bicycle accommodations on many occasions, but last night, with the “lot” full, we resorted to old patterns. (This is not a complaint in any way — I love indications that lots of people are bicycling. A full bike rack sends a powerful message!) No one gave us trouble, which was good, because what would they have suggested?
We suggest doubling the amount of bicycle parking. While the current amount is more than enough (at least right now), for business as usual at The Garden, the bicycle parking will continue to fill to overflowing during special events. For a relatively small investment of money and space (especially compared to car parking), they could accommodate all of the bicycles we saw last night, no light posts needed!