Regular readers know we just love our e-bikes. Since we bought the e-bike rack for our Expedition, I’ve been scouring the internet for new places for us to ride. I found a “new to us” trail on Great Rivers Greenway. Great Rivers Greenway is an organization which is working to add greenways to the St. Louis area. Their motto is “Live Life Outside.” God bless them. The trail I found was called the Dardenne Greenway, Legacy Park to Dardenne Park.
Dardenne Park is closer to our home than Legacy Park, so we thought we’d start at that end of the trail. Why not save gas, right?
Dardenne Park is 11 miles from home, 19 minutes. Perfect. The Dardenne Greenway map pictured here is from the Great Rivers Greenway website.
It looks fairly straightforward, right? Just don’t turn right or left off the main trail, and you’ll be at Legacy Park before your heirs even know you’re gone.
Now this is the representation of what we actually rode from the “Map My Ride” app.
When enlarged, sections of it remind me of the ole’ Spirograph art kit we used to have when we were kids.
The darker lines indicate we rode that part at least twice. Any lines which end abruptly indicate places where we turned around, either by choice or, in most cases, out of necessity.
I count eight of these end points. Ever make a U-turn on a 60 pound e-bike? Repeatedly?
We even reached out twice – asking a couple walking and later, a police officer (in a vehicle) how to get to the trail heads. All either could do was point in a general direction. I was too polite to tell them that we’re not birds.
We also kept ending up in residential areas because the trail led us there. This is great for access to the greenway from these homes, but for us, we were thinking we were in some bicycle version of “Ground Hog Day.” We didn’t think we’d ever get out of there.
When we finally did make it make to the car, Dan said, “My dear, how about next time you pick a trail you find one which just goes out and back or one that goes in a loop?” Life experience has taught me that at moments like this, the best thing for me to do is just not talk. Don’t say a word. Nothing. Nada. So, I didn’t.
Later at home, I wanted to learn more about this trail and how, moving forward, we could have a better idea of how to travel a new trail. So, I looked at the “All Trails” app and signed up for a free account.
Here’s the maps from All Trails. Sorry, I had to break it up into three sections, so the map would be enlarged enough for you to see all the trail options. Every dotted line is a bike trail.
In this first section, you may be able to see the confusion getting across “Mexico Road” after leaving the Dardenne Park. You can also see Dardenne Greenway outlined in red. However, the straight trail (along the yellow line) on the left side is also called “Dardenne Greenway.”
Notice the Roundabout in Woodlands Sports Park. This was the maze that kept spinning us around and leading us into residential areas.
One way or t’other, we got past Woodlands Sports Park and headed towards the Community College.
The section above is the area past the community college. Can you see all the spinoffs for residential areas? Somehow, we did make it to Legacy Park. This is located in the lower, left corner. It’s right near where “N” crosses Dardenne Creek.
Even after studying these maps and riding the trails, I’m not sure I could navigate the route again without mistakes. I’m glad we were on e-bikes. Yes, there were signs, but apparently, not enough – for us. It’s not like it’s a super, big problem. It’s just more fun when you can just ride and explore without continually getting lost.
So, what’s the solution?
I plan to review the information on the All Trails app before trying a new trail. Other than that, there is an All Trails Pro version. It costs about $30 a year and can give you notifications if you go off trail. I’m not sure it is worth it – for us. Just knowing this is a feature of the Pro version does make me think we are not the only ones getting lost on trails? Right? Have you ever gotten lost while bike riding – or even hiking?
Any other ideas or suggestions?
Because the next trail I have in mind is called “Spencer Creek Trail.” It’s one that goes straight out and back. Pretty Much.