Missouri Botanical Garden

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I rode my bike over to the Missouri Botanical Garden to wile away a perfect summer morning. I came in through the pedestrian entrance, and looked for the bike rack. I went towards the main entrance, but saw none. So I tooled across all the black-topped parking lots in search of the rack, but saw none.

From a distance, I spotted a security guard getting ready to open the front doors for the morning; that’s the man to ask where the rack is. I slowly pedaled toward him, keeping friendly eye contact. I was about 100 feet away when he quickly swung open the door and barked at me in a pissed-off father voice, “In the bike rack!” as he forcefully jabbed his finger in an easterly direction.

I looked over my shoulder and didn’t see a rack in that vicinity, but I was too stunned by his manner and attitude to ask for clarification. What’s his deal? I pedaled off in a perplexed manner to find this rack, and no wonder I couldn’t find it on my first pass through.

It was way over in the north front parking lot, camouflaged in battered old paint and tape so that it blended in with the black top and white stripes. It looked like they swiped it from a schoolyard, or something, but oh well, at least they have a rack.

As I put my bike in the rack (above), it rocked.

What? Is the bike rack moving? A tiny push caused it to scoot away from me. I kneeled down for a closer look, and sure enough, the rack isn’t screwed into the ground! Just perfect. Not only is it poorly placed and junky, but it’s unsecured!
Two people with a pickup truck could come by and scoop up this rack and its contents!

It would be safer to chain the bike to one of their trees, but then Surly Security Guard would really throw a fit, wouldn’t he.
MoBot is a class act all around, but this gruff and cavalier attitude towards bicyclists is completely unacceptable. Their actions show they’d prefer I visit on foot or by car, and while they are masters of botany they are not qualified to dictate my transporation options. I indignantly pedaled away.

Over Labor Day weekend, I returned to the Garden to document the Bike Rack Debacle. Because the man pictured above was on the phone the entire time he was locking up his bike, I didn’t get to make snide comments about how 2 men in a Ranchero could steal all these bikes.

But I did notice the bright blue bike with the bright red milk crate strapped to its rear. Also note that the other 4 bikes are as far away from it as they can get. That’s because everyone knows that a milk-crated bike belongs to an elite group of old men cyclists.

I now belong to the milk-crated bike ranks.

Rather than bright red or burgundy, I opted for a relatively sedate dark gray crate, but I have infiltrated their ranks, nonethless. And I couldn’t be happier. Rather than groceries, books and cameras hanging from my person, I just throw everything in the crate and pedal on.
But not to MoBot, no thank you.

2 thoughts on “Missouri Botanical Garden

  1. This post is a good one. Have you contacted anyone at MOBOT? I have been disappointed with the bike rack, too. The style makes it difficult to lock the frame of the bike, rather than just a tire. I also wish it were covered or at least closer to a building. My bike was there during a squall several weeks ago. The garden should have better.

  2. Toby,
    Great post – I’ve been meaning to post on this poor excuse for bike parking.


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