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Gerry Noll, owner of the Ferguson Bicycle Shop in downtown Ferguson and a bicycle enthusiast, sent out the following invitation to those on his anonymous e-mail list recently:

Please join us for the last ride of the year on Saturday, December 3!

We will meet behind the Ferguson Bicycle Shop (429 S. Florissant) at 11am, ride for about an hour, then arrive at the Whistle Stop around noon for lunch. Charlie Stark, one of the owners, tells me that their new gourmet hot chocolate is awesome!

And for a special treat while we’re there: the local Morse Telegraph Club will be demonstrating the use of vintage telegraph equipment beginning at 1pm, using Morse Code to communicate with others around the U.S. As the club members put it, this method was “texting before cell phones”. You can read more about them at:

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/article_1fd4fe8d-8d16-5b35-bab4-642c70be8200.html.

Dah-dit-dit-dit dit-dah-dit dit-dah-dit dit-dah-dit? That’s Morse code for “Brrr?” It might be chilly but it won’t be real cold Saturday. So come on out and join us!

Gerry

The evening before the ride it rained unexpectedly, and the morning of the ride was a gray day in the 40s Fahrenheit with a high of 59F predicted. Fortunately, the clouds actually cleared and by midday when I rode to the Whistle Stop to join the riders for, in my case, brunch it was sunny although there was a strong southerly headwind.

To my surprise, no cyclists were at the Whistle Stop when I arrived and ordered a ham roll at 12:02 pm (according to my credit card receipt) so I parked my bike inside, as I normally do when I’m alone. (When I conduct a bike training ride I park outside, using the bike racks that were installed in 2006 as part of the Pilot BIKE Transportation Promotion Project I coordinated for the City of Ferguson, with the help of a federal grant.)

Some members of the Morse Telegraph Club were already there, setting up their equipment, and I took the opportunity to photograph the person actually using it, Derek Cohn from the City of Clayton, about 10 miles away. Formerly, members used equipment kept in a locked display case along the wall, which is still there, but this time they had carried in a new self-contained unit mounted on a board laid on one of the tables nearby, as shown in the photos below, the second photo showing the original equipment.

Derek Cohn of Clayton preparing to communicate by Morse Code at the Whistle Stop with other enthusiasts around the country

Derek Cohn in foreground and behind him at left is another member of the group at the plexiglas cabinet where the original equipment was housed

I had almost finished my meal when the first contingents of Gerry’s ride arrived. Apparently there had been some mechanical delays on the way, which had resulted in the ride being shortened. I took photos of some of the ride participants, as well as their bikes occupying quite a lot of room in the parking lot. I hope that Gerry can furnish some details of the ride.

Bikes parked outside the Whistle Stop after ride participants had arrived, overwhelming the capacity of the three inverted U racks on the concrete pad at left


Pictured below are Carl Thorn and Dick Bowes preparing to leave the Whistle Stop after lunch. Both Dick and Carl are experienced cyclists. Carl took a bike ed. course I conducted in Ferguson in 2001 and was already a confident on-road cyclist.

Carl Thorn after lunch at the Whistle Stop

Dick Bowes about to leave

Ride participant Jerren McKenney about to leave after lunch

Ride leader Gerry Noll (and owner of the Ferguson Bicycle Shop), at left, with fellow riders John Baer, Lou Axeman, and Joseph Brown, who lives in St. Louis

2 Comments

  1. Nice writeup, Martin. For a day that started out fairly chilly we had a good turnout with 13 bicycle riders. We started by riding the Ted Jones Trail from downtown Ferguson to the UMSL campus. After crossing campus we linked up with the St. Vincent Greenway in order to ride south through St. Vincent Park, then reversed direction and used the Greenway to cut back across campus and ride to the the Hanley Metro Station. Most of the riders had been on the section of the Greenway through the park but had not been on the section running to the Hanley Metro Station. From there we sailed back into Ferguson and all the way to the Whistle stop via S. Florissant. And I do mean “sailed”, with a strong tailwind pushing us down the road.

    We started with 13 riders but only 9 arrived at the Whistle Stop by bicycle. We lost 2 riders because of mechanical problems. One rider had two flats along the way. He left his bike at the shop to be worked on but then walked to the Whistle Stop. Another rider returned to her home in Ferguson and walked to the Whistle Stop with her children. We ended up with more people at the Whistle Stop than we started with!

  2. Can the Whistle Shop share your photos on their Facebook page?

    Martin Pion’s reply: I’d be delighted if you did, provided you include the link http://tinyurl.com/74uup97 back to the original blog.


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