The following is a summary of the event written by one of the event organizers. It sounds like it was quite the adventure!
Bubble Butt Bike Blowout brought over twenty Washington University students into the greater St. Louis community. The group met at the edge of campus beginning the adventure cruising through Forest Park.
It was smooth sailing until we exited the park and made a left on Maclind Avenue. There we saw our fate off in the distance: the hill up to the Hill, the highest point in the city.
All twenty of us stood idle at the traffic light at Manchester waiting for what we knew would be a struggle. Our thoughts worsened as a passing biker told us to beware, but when the light turned green, we raced to gain momentum.
Next thing we knew we all were howling in celebration of our arrival in the Hill. It was not so bad after all.
Joe DeGregorio, a Hill native, greeted our arrival warmly having his tour group give us an authentic American Italian welcome in unison. He explained a short history of the neighborhood being interrupted by family and friends casually walking by.
This was the Hill.
We parted ways and biked to Berra Park where two large pans of pasta prepared by a local restaurant sat waiting. We spent the next hour getting to know each other while enjoying the warm lunch.
As we prepared to hit the road for the next destination, rain droplets began hitting the ground. Was this the end of our adventure?
Our merry mood had shifted while we pedaled through the cold rain. I worried we would be standing outside soaking wet for our next destination, but when we met Richard Reilly at the Commerce Bank Center for Science Education he quickly motioned for us to come inside letting us bring our bikes with us.
It was just enough time to let the rain pass as Richard talked about projects he had worked on in the city. A favorite was a project in Old North St. Louis where a vacant lot was revitalized using sunflowers to remediate the contaminated soil.
Our next destination was Tower Grove Park. We spent time in a pavilion using a drawing exercise to help spark a discussion on the barriers that keep students from leaving campus.
An idea for an intervention was to post more signs around the city and around campus that detail bus routes and bus schedules.
Afterwards, we wandered through the park, encountering weddings, playing children, gardens, and trees.
We departed the park looking forward to our last destination, the Grove. Chris Colizza and Guy Slay, important forces in the revitalization of the Grove, met us and talked about the difficulties and excitements of working in a transforming community.
They left us to wander through Grovefest, a big street party with plenty of food, and music.
Congrats on a successful event guys! Looking forward to tracking your progress on future events and follow-up from the BBBB.