I’ve encountered many interesting people and sights over the seasons of doing the Saint Paul By Bike blog. I’ve ridden on about 40% of the streets of Saint Paul, so I’ve got a lot of blocks to travel to reach the goal of biking each and every block in our city. I’m not in a rush to complete my travels because the fun is in the journey – meeting interesting people, encountering curiosities, oddities and rarities, and learning about the history of Saint Paul.
Here’s how what became “Saint Paul By Bike” began. As I traversed Saint Paul about 2010, I saw various interesting, curious and cool things. It was interesting and fun to visit parts of the city to which I didn’t often or ever get. I also noticed sights while biking that I would have otherwise missed.
This got me to thinking. What would I experience if I were to bike every street in Saint Paul? How long would it take? What fascinating people would I meet? What interesting things would I see? What would I learn? Could I keep my curiosity at bay enough stay out of trouble?
In summer of 2011 I began biking the more than 800 miles of city streets in Saint Paul and writing about my adventures, complete with photos, maps, interviews and anything else that clarifies my experiences.
Saint Paul By Bike has been all I had hoped and more. Cliche’ perhaps, but true. I am most impressed with the people I’ve met; their willingness to talk to a sweaty bike riding stranger and share their interesting tales. From Highwood to Highland, Como Park to Ramsey Hill, Dayton’s Bluff to Frogtown, folks have been without exception a joy to talk with. I’ve made it to all of the 17 major neighborhoods; I’ve found good, friendly and helpful people nearly everywhere, which is a great counterbalance to what is often reported in the news and neighborhood forums.
Biking through places I’d never been is enlightening, educational, eye-opening and sometimes all three. I’ve also learned that rides take much less time than writing about the rides. First, I’m not the fastest scribe to bang out a story. Second, transcribing the interviews of the people I talk with so as not to misquote anyone chews up more time. The actual posting of the blog has been a great skill to learn but requires a chunk of time.
Thanks for checking out the blog. I hope it gives you a greater appreciation of Minnesota’s Capital City, the willingness to explore your world a little more, and maybe, a chuckle or two. While I experience many things, I know I’ll miss some interesting, important and historic people and sights. If there is place I must visit or a person I must meet, let me know. And don’t hesitate to say “hi” if you see me riding down your street.
Fun talking to you yesterday at Lilydale Park-Monica
Thank you Monica. It was a pleasure to meet you and Tom! I enjoyed looking over your blogs.
Very interesting site. As a 64 year resident of St. Paul and a fire service person I’ve
seen many of these locations also.
Thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate you reading the blog, David.
Thank you for this blog! I have lived in St. Paul for almost 25 years but it is so interesting to get some of the back stories on these familiar sites! Love it!
Thank YOU for reading and commenting. If you have suggestions of places to visit or stories please let me know.
I enjoyed reading your blog. You’ve been close to a great trail – try the east end of the Vento Trail. Takes you through some old railroad tunnels, up Sweed Hollow past the old Ham’s brewery, and connects up with the Gateway Trail – which you can turn left on and end up back behind the Capital after crossing some interesting old rail bridges and ridding along 35E.
See (someone else’s site) http://ronspace.org/2003/Swede_Hollow_Vento_Trail for a preview.
Thank you for reading the blog and your nice comments. I will jump on the Vento Trail when (if?) the weather turns nice and post about it. I always appreciate suggestions like yours.
Have you ridden on the bicycle boulevard yet?
I have ridden the bicycle boulevard many times. The city is talking about adding some new bicycle boulevards, which I look forward to trying. Thanks for reading the blog and commenting.
Just went to look at your blog and saw the Star-Trib article. Wow! You are famous!!! What fun.
Neighbors Cathy and Danise
Hi Cathy and Danise,
Thanks for all of your support with the blog!
Great stories Wolfie!
We loved the episode on TPT this morning!
Mike, thanks for reading the blog, for checking in and for the nice comments.
Hey! I’m trying something similar! Just started June 1, 2014: My progress so far: http://cyclemn.com I like the content of your site.
Thanks for reading. Good luck with your project. There are more than 830 miles of streets in Saint Paul and likely more in Minneapolis. Be safe and have fun.
Awesome blog Wolfie! Thoroughly enjoy- have read them all! Great pics too!
Thank you very much for your nice email and for reading the blog. I’m always open to suggestions so if you have any ideas of things I should see, let me know.
Again, thank you Jim.
Dear Wolfie Browender,
This David Freedman the webmaster of the Extra Alarm Association of
the Twin Cities at http://www.extraalarm.org and I’m writing to you from
Davao City, Philippines where I have made my home for the last for years.
I am now 68 years young, but I was bornin St. Paul and spent my whole
life there (born at 304 Macalester St.) until moving to the Philippines.
I really enjoy you photographs of ‘my’ city. I was disappointed to
learn of the demise of the ‘7 Corners Hardware’. As a long time woodworker
it is a true loss.
Now to the reason for my writing.
I have for years been developing 3D models of both St. Paul and Minneapolis
former fire stations, many of which the buildings no longer exist, or exist
only in severly modified states. You can find my progress here…
I have been searching for a detailed picture of the top ‘logo’ at od
fire station 4b (2) on Wacouta for some time. You have an excellent
picture of it on you site. If I might ask may I use a copy of it on our
site also with appropriate credits of couse. I would like to use it both
on our Station 4b site page at…
and to include it in the 3D model of Station 4b.
Thanks for you time…
I’m flattered that you have been following the blog from the Philippines. That explains a few of the international hits on the blog.
I have used the Extra Alarm Association site many times for research into the Saint Paul Fire Department. It has been extremely helpful on several posts, including the one to which you refer.
I am happy to let you use the shot of the top of Station 4. Thank you for asking.
I’ll look at your 3D models in the next day or so.
Enjoy your time in Davao City, especially as the weather gets colder here.
Good article on the postal vmf .and all the other stuff is great. Everyone should see your stuff
Carl, thank you very much for your contribution to the blog! I enjoyed talking with you about everything you and the other VMF mechanics do for the USPS!
Thank you so much for creating your brilliant blog. In doing so, you are not only recording past history, you are making current history. Your interviews with people on the street are akin to Studs Terkel’s documenting of personal history from primary resources. I am a Saint Paul native, professional tour guide (I traverse many of these roads with frequency on a bus with microphone in hand) and an avid walker. You have taught me a thing or two about my city that I may reference in the future.
As a side note, I wrote about growing up working class in St. Paul in a solo show I presented at the History Theatre in 2009. One of the people of note who grew up in my neighborhood was Charles Schulz. Have you written about him (ie: living above O’Garas)? If so I’d love to read it!
A sincere thank you for your very nice comments! I did not see your 2009 show at the History Theatre but I hope you have plans for an encore presentation, which would surely be entertaining and enlightening.
Your knowledge of our city, both as a Saint Paul resident and a tour guide, have piqued my interest. I’d enjoy learning more about your experiences. If you’d like to connect offline please send me an email.
Would love to chat with you about St. Paul history. Am happy to connect via email. Is this the best email to reach you by or is there another. Feel free to respond at your convenience!
Michelle Myers Berg
Hi Michelle. This is the best email to reach me. Thank you so much and I really look forward to talking with you.
I’m looking for the photograph of Cap Wigington standing in front of the Highland Park Water Tower that you posted sometime in the past. It is for the MN Architectural Foundation’s fundraiser for our Wigington Minority Scholarship. Where can I find this photograph?
Hi Sylvia, I think I got the photo from the Minnesota Historical Society online library. Let me know if you cannot find it there.
Thank you Bruce. And thanks for reading.
I belatedly stumbled upon SPBB via Streets.MN and am enjoying browsing it. I’ve got something similar going by foot in Minneapolis: https://allofminneapolis.com
Hi Max. Thank you for looking over SPBB and for taking the time to comment. I look forward to checking out All of Minneapolis. Perhaps we can meet and share stories sometime.
Sounds like a great idea! For maximum symbolic value, we ought to meet up somewhere near the St. Paul / Minneapolis city line. (Sea Salt? Surly?) When you want to set something up, I’ve got an email link on my blog page. Best wishes, -max
Greetings Wolfie. I would like to use a photo from your website. Photo is of the “construction of the Lafayette Bridge as it proceeds over the maintenance building.” Photo would be used to provide a visual to accompany bridge construction costs data for the Lafayette Bridge as part of a database/presentation I am developing for major bridge construction costs. If you are agreeable to this use, please specify how I should credit the photo.
Hello Ken. Feel free to use that photo and any others for your project. I thank you for asking first. Please credit it to Saint Paul By Bike blog or SaintPaulByBike.wordpress.com, whichever you prefer. If you are able to share your presentation I’d enjoy seeing it.
Very cool!!! I’m riding every block of every street in Arlington, MA – about 80% done: https://www.facebook.com/repesia
Hey Anthony. Thanks for the check in from Massachusetts! It will be fun to follow your treks and learn about Arlington. BTW, how did you come across Saint Paul By Bike?
Very great blog I found here by accident! I am a Saint Paul resident. Born on the East side in 1965. My father was born in the Hollow and one of the last families to live there. I am also employed at WestRock (formerly, Rock-Tenn, Waldorf)
I can give you much insight if you like to more on these subjects.
Hello AJ. Thank you for your comment. I would love to talk to you about your father’s time in the Hollow, WestRock-Tenn-Waldorf and the East Side. Please email me at WolfieBrowender@yahoo.com. Looking forward to it.
This has been one of my favorite local blogs for quite a few years…. little did I know you are Amy’s dad! Oh my gosh such a small world! This blog is terrific and if you ever need help researching please let me know!!!
Yes Kody that played volleyball with Amy!
Hi Kody! Thank you so much for your very kind comments regarding the blog. I appreciate that you are a regular reader. Let me know if you have any ideas of people to talk to or places I should visit.
Of course I remember you very well from the years of volleyball. I am interested in talking to you about doing some research. Please email me at SaintPaulByBike@gmail.com and we can discuss it.
Thank you! Wolfie
Do you offer bike tours? Your blog is everything I’ve been searching for. It encompasses so much of what I love about living in St Paul! Thanks in advance for the hours of enjoyable reading ahead of me.
Hi Anne. Thank you for taking the time to comment on “Riding Across the City…” and your interest in SPBB blog in general. Giving bike tours has never crossed my mind. I might consider doing it on a limited basis. Perhaps through Saint Paul Community Education or something similar? If you have an idea I’d enjoy discussing it with you.
Thanks for your wonderful blog. Here are just a couple of notes from my own biking:
1. /there is a short street called Skyway Drive tucked along the river ridge in Highwood Hills, beautiful views. It also leads to a crazy place called Henry Park, quite mysterious.
2. But the most hidden street is called Brookline Ave, off Springside street coming up from Point Douglas Road. You can go either direction on Brookline and find hidden homes!
Note — I have some neat pictures of St Paul. What email address can I send them to?
Hi Robert. Thank you very much for your nice comment and information on Highwood streets. I’ll check them out when I’m back on the bike – spring or summer 2022. I’d love to see your pictures of St. Paul. Please email them to me at SaintPaulByBike@gmail.com. Again, many thanks. Wolfie