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THE FERGUSON CYCLIST
by Gerry Noll

NOVEMBER 2012

Ferguson has gone all BMUFL on us!

No, BMUFL isn’t the latest texting slang among young people. And it’s certainly o.k. to say in polite company. BMUFL = “Bicycles May Use Full Lane”. Two signs with that message popped up recently on South and North Florissant Roads. If you haven’t seen them yet they are right at the borders of Ferguson in either direction. The accompanying photo shows the sign at the south city limits along with a bicyclist (me!) using the full lane.

These signs are a testimony to how progressive our city leadership is. At the urging of Chief Tom Jackson of the Ferguson Police Department, the City Council passed an ordinance earlier in the year that affirmed the right of bicyclists to use the full traffic lane during their travels. Many bicyclists and motorists incorrectly believe that bicyclists must ride as far to the right as possible when traveling on the roads. Our state and local laws are ambiguous. But now with this ordinance and these signs the City has clarified the law. Way to go Ferguson!

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Last November I wrote about my fascination with cemeteries and the historical stories they hold. And then to illustrate that the best way to explore large cemeteries is by bicycle I told of a bicycle tour of Bellefontaine Cemetery. The tour was sponsored by Trailnet and led by Harold Karabell. You can read about last year’s tour on the Ferguson Cycling Club site at http://www.fergusoncyclingclub.com/articles_Nov2011.shtml.

This year Harold and Trailnet outdid themselves by conducting bicycle tours of two cemeteries, Bellefontaine and Calvary, on the last two weekends of October. To whet your appetite for the Calvary tour I’ll tell you about just one of the gravesites we visited and the people buried there…

When Lewis and Clark explored up the Missouri River from 1804-1806 they were helped by the Nez Perce Indians. Years later the Nez Perce sent a delegation of four warriors to try to find Clark and ask for help for their tribe. They had heard that Clark was living in St. Louis and came here in 1831. But because they had no immunity to the local diseases prevalent at the time, two of the warriors, Black Eagle and Speaking Eagle, died within one month of their arrival. The other two warriors, Rabbitskin Leggings and No Horns on his Head (gotta love those names!), left St. Louis and died on their return journey. Incidentally, among the many great paintings done by George Catlin are ones that he painted of these two warriors while they were on their return journey.

The journey that these four warriors had taken on behalf of their tribe lived on in Nez Perce lore. The tribe never forgot them. The final resting place of the two warriors who died in St. Louis remained a mystery until 2000 when the remains were discovered in an unmarked mass grave in Calvary Cemetery. With that discovery the Nez Perce dedicated a monument to them in 2003. It was a very moving experience to visit the Nez Perce monument to their fallen warriors.

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On a lighter note, what would the holidays be without a few bicycle rides!

Sunday, November 25: Northern Lights Parade.  As part of the Ferguson Northern Lights celebration all are welcome to decorate their bikes with blinking Christmas lights and ride with us in the Northern Lights parade.  Blinking lights to put on your bikes will be provided free by the Ferguson Bicycle Shop.  Please let Elizabeth Simons, the Live Well Ferguson Program Manager (521-7721), know if you plan to ride with us so we will have enough blinking lights. We may also dress up as movie characters in order to fit with the theme of the parade…Christmas at the Movies.  The parade starts at 5pm and is less than 1 mile in distance.  Join us as we light up the town with our bicycles!

Sunday, December 2: Home for the Holidays House Tour.  In a twist on the popular holiday house tour in Ferguson, the Ferguson Bicycle Shop will be leading bicycle rides to the homes on the tour. Here’s your opportunity to improve your health, be good to the environment, and tour the homes, all at the same time!  Ten beautiful homes will be open from 3pm - 7pm. Many homes along the way will also be lit up so the evening should sparkle. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 on the day of the tour, and all proceeds benefit the Ferguson Caring League.

Please contact Gerry Noll at Gerry@FergusonBicycleShop.com if you are interested in riding on the Holiday House Tour with us.

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As in previous years here are some suggestions for cycling-related Christmas gifts. You probably know someone who likes to ride. These are relatively inexpensive gifts that enhance the cycling experience and might be just what they are wishing for:

  • Water bottles
  • Bells and mirrors
  • A good lock
  • Blinking front and rear lights
  • Gloves and socks
  • Bike tools
  • Helmets
  • Saddlebags or handlebar bags
  • Cycling computers

And of course the best gift of all...a new bike!

Best wishes for you and your family during this Holiday season!

 

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If you want to talk about cycling, comment on this column, or learn more about the Ferguson Cycling Club, you can reach me at: emd0072-cycling@yahoo.com

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