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Thread: KATY Trail

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    Senior Member John Bailey's Avatar
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    KATY Trail

    I'm planning on riding the KATY Trail the first week in April. I'll be taking the train to Sedalia, arriving on April 2nd, April 3rd riding to Clinton and then doing the entire KATY in the next 6 days. I'll be credit card touring for the most part, however, I will have a small tent just in case.

    I've got a few questions:

    1. I've got 2 good bikes, a Trek FX 7.3 and a Bianchi Eros. I've put 700x35 nobbies on the Trek and figure that will be the best for this trip on the crushed limestone. It's also got a longer wheelbase and will handle panniers better. Both bikes are very comfortable for long rides. I've done metric centuries on both. I'd like to hear your views on whether or not I'm right in assuming the Trek would be the better bike. I'd really rather take the Bianchi, but I love the Trek also.

    2. I loath having to be tied down to a schedule. Do any of you have experience on the trail at that time of year and will I have problems if I don't schedule a room in advance. I'd like to be able to ride about 50 to 60 miles a day and then look for a room. (Hence, the tent just in case.)

    3. Do any of you have experience riding the train from St. Louis to Sedalia? Is there any advice I need to heed?

    4. Finally, is there a Clyde, or two, or three or ? that would be interested in joining the ride?

    Any other advice would be appreciated. I've already got the trail book and it's been very helpful. I'd be interested in any first hand knowledge, or any stories of the KATY Trail you could pass on.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post
    April 3rd riding to Clinton and then doing the entire KATY in the next 6 days.
    How are you getting to Clinton? Down the Katy I suppose? Or some other way?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post
    1. I've got 2 good bikes, a Trek FX 7.3 and a Bianchi Eros. I've put 700x35 nobbies on the Trek and figure that will be the best for this trip on the crushed limestone.
    It depends on whether you feel comfortable on it or not. It also depends on the day in question and the weather. The weather will influence your ride much more than the bike (mud is no fun with any bike, especially weighted down with gear, but snow/frost might be a factor for the time you selected as well), though the bike with nobbies will be fine. (I've seen some with slicks on the trail when I was there on dry days.) You'll have to ask others what to think on the bikes.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post
    2. I loath having to be tied down to a schedule. Do any of you have experience on the trail at that time of year and will I have problems if I don't schedule a room in advance. I'd like to be able to ride about 50 to 60 miles a day and then look for a room. (Hence, the tent just in case.)
    http://www.bikekatytrail.com/ will be a great site to explore this question on. I know, though, a lot of the businesses are seasonal, so you'll have to research them before you go. There are also good resources on this site to plan your rides, any tourism you would want, and so on. The resources on that site aren't too good for terrain that you will encounter, or if you decide to hit any side trails (or roads) along the path. But you can always ask on any of that and I'm sure someone can say something about it. MO DNR holds a 5-day supported ride on the trail each year as well, so you should be able to get some ideas from how they've planned those over the years. http://www.mostateparks.com/katytrail

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post
    3. Do any of you have experience riding the train from St. Louis to Sedalia? Is there any advice I need to heed?
    It's the Amtrak Missouri River Runner route. While I haven't rode on it in a very long time (I didn't think ill of it for riding it when I did), I would presume the only major question will be if/how they would accept your bike on it. But you can always ask them, or someone else that has done it. There may be some info on the other site I linked about it, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post
    Any other advice would be appreciated. I've already got the trail book and it's been very helpful. I'd be interested in any first hand knowledge, or any stories of the KATY Trail you could pass on.
    The main one I mentioned is to keep an eye on the weather and trail condition, given the time that you are thinking of. The other one is to have a plan/idea for dealing with weather (rain/storms) - both awareness and ways to deal with it - since storms/rain come along often, within hours, at that time of the year, too. Some are fine to just ride through if you have the gear, but for others you want to be able to take shelter for.

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    Senior Member John Bailey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn1234 View Post
    How are you getting to Clinton? Down the Katy I suppose? Or some other way?

    Thanks Glenn,

    Yes, I plan to stay overnight at Sedalia and then ride the bike to Clinton. The next day I'll ride to Sedalia again and will, more than likely, stay at the same place.


    It depends on whether you feel comfortable on it or not. It also depends on the day in question and the weather. The weather will influence your ride much more than the bike (mud is no fun with any bike, especially weighted down with gear, but snow/frost might be a factor for the time you selected as well), though the bike with nobbies will be fine. (I've seen some with slicks on the trail when I was there on dry days.) You'll have to ask others what to think on the bikes.

    I feel comfortable on both bikes. I like the road bike best, but I've done full days on the Trek also. I've done a metric century with the Trek on crushed limestone when it had 700x32 slicks, and I thought at the time a little wider tire would have been better. I've got a background of wilderness camping, so I'll be used to getting weathered in at times. I'll be going to enjoy the ride more than meet the goal of doing the entire trail, so if I don't make it because of weather, it won't be a killer.

    It's the Amtrak Missouri River Runner route. While I haven't rode on it in a very long time (I didn't think ill of it for riding it when I did), I would presume the only major question will be if/how they would accept your bike on it. But you can always ask them, or someone else that has done it. There may be some info on the other site I linked about it, too.

    According to their web site, I can reserve a spot for the bike for an extra $10. That seems reasonable.

    The main one I mentioned is to keep an eye on the weather and trail condition, given the time that you are thinking of. The other one is to have a plan/idea for dealing with weather (rain/storms) - both awareness and ways to deal with it - since storms/rain come along often, within hours, at that time of the year, too. Some are fine to just ride through if you have the gear, but for others you want to be able to take shelter for.
    I'll, of course, have rain gear, tarp and a tent. I'll have some food, but won't be set up for cooking. It doesn't look like I would have to treat this as an emergency situation if I get stuck on the trail by weather. It doesn't seem to be wilderness.

    Thanks for the reply.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post

    I'll be going to enjoy the ride more than meet the goal of doing the entire trail, so if I don't make it because of weather, it won't be a killer.

    I'll, of course, have rain gear, tarp and a tent. I'll have some food, but won't be set up for cooking. It doesn't look like I would have to treat this as an emergency situation if I get stuck on the trail by weather. It doesn't seem to be wilderness.
    That's good. There's lots to see, and you can (potentially) spend a good amount of time doing just enjoying the ride and sightseeing. That's part of the appeal of going on the Katy. There's not much wilderness on the Katy to contend with if you plan things right - you're generally not *that* far away from most services. Much of it just depends on how you want to approach it.

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    Senior Member John Bailey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn1234 View Post
    That's good. There's lots to see, and you can (potentially) spend a good amount of time doing just enjoying the ride and sightseeing. That's part of the appeal of going on the Katy. There's not much wilderness on the Katy to contend with if you plan things right - you're generally not *that* far away from most services. Much of it just depends on how you want to approach it.


    Thanks Glenn,

    That's kind of why I'm picking the KATY. I've spent a lot of time in the wilderness, myself, and being a guide. At this point in my life I'm not looking to "test" myself anymore. A nice easy 5 day jaunt down the Missouri looks pretty inviting.

    John

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    Subjectively Insane MilitantPotato's Avatar
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    I'm hoping to hit the trail with my kids early next year and visit family in STL. Have fun, from the bits I've traveled on it's a great (sometimes boring though) trail.

    I've found no need for knobs on it, tread seems to pickup the little stones and can hold them till they're pushed into the tire. Wide knobs wouldn't have that problem, but would likely be overkill unless it's recently been flooded. Even then though, the trail holds together fairly well.

    Fenders with full length flaps help. The trail is dusty. If wet, it slings a sandy mix that gets pretty hard as it dries. It's also bad for your drive train, sort of like sand paper.
    You've got a bike, so you gotta move.

  7. #7
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    I suggest the 7.3 fx out of loyalty to Roark, who took me down the GAP and C & O three times, the Montour trail twice, through Pine Creek Gorge once, and on the Perkiomen and Thun Trails too many times to count. Perhaps I'll ride the Katy one day.

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    I strongly suggest fenders on a Katy Trail bike. They help keep down the dust. Also, if you happen to get rained on, the Katy deposits a concrete like substance over your entire bike.

    You really don't need knobbies on the Katy Trail, though wide is definitely good. Any 32mm or larger tire is fine, even if its slick.

    You shouldn't have any trouble finding rooms, though if you're thinking B&B's some of those folks probably prefer a little notice. There's a few obvious places to stop for the night -- Rocheport is probably a must. Jefferson City would also be a convenient stopping place, though there aren't any accomodations along the trail there. You have to cross the Missouri River bridge in order to get to Jeff City. You can do it on a bike, but a couple of the hotels/B&Bs offer a shuttle service. There used to be a hostel-like way station in the town of Tebbets for trail riders. Not sure if it's still there or not. Hermann would be another highly recommended destination. There's like 50 B&Bs there, plus lots of wineries and a couple of brew pubs. It would be a short next day, but Augusta is also a cool area (as is Dutzow).

    I've not ridden the entire trail (not even close) but I'm familar with all the towns along the way. Frankly, I think you'll find the western end of the trip to be pretty boring. I could even see skipping the Clinton to Sedalia leg, unless you're just determined to ride the whole thing. Once you get to Boonville you'll probably enjoy it a lot more.

    As for the train, the schedule can be a bit optimistic. Amtrak runs on tracks owned by the freight railroads and there's often delays along the way. Otherwise, it's good to go. And yes, you can haul your bike on the Amtrak.

    I'm new here and just getting back into riding and April is a long way off, but I might be up for riding along for a stretch -- particularly near Jeff City. Otherwise, I could accompany you to one of the local pubs and listen to your tale of adventure. Michigan has been pretty good to me, it's probably time to return the favor.
    Last edited by bladeswitcher; 11-01-09 at 01:26 PM.

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    Senior Member John Bailey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    I Perhaps I'll ride the Katy one day.
    What are ya' doing next April?

    John

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    Senior Member John Bailey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bladeswitcher View Post
    I strongly suggest fenders on a Katy Trail bike. They help keep down the dust. Also, if you happen to get rained on, the Katy deposits a concrete like substance over your entire bike.

    You really don't need knobbies on the Katy Trail, though wide is definitely good. Any 32mm or larger tire is fine, even if its slick.
    That's good to know. I've still got the 32's and they're almost new. I'll try them both on a limestone trail here in Michigan and see which ones I like the best.

    John

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    Non sibi sed patriae thestoutdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post


    What are ya' doing next April?

    John
    John, I live in Columbia, MO and have played a bit on the KATY. I am interested in riding the whole thing before I move in MAY '10. Keep in touch and maybe I'll run into you or join you next year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post
    I'm planning on riding the KATY Trail the first week in April. I'll be taking the train to Sedalia, arriving on April 2nd, April 3rd riding to Clinton and then doing the entire KATY in the next 6 days. I'll be credit card touring for the most part, however, I will have a small tent just in case.


    Rather than take the trail to Clinton from Sedalia, I'd suggest riding the train all the way out to Warrensburg. Take MO13 south to Clinton (about 30 miles). It's an okay road. My wife and I did it in 2008. Even in rain and dodging dead turtles...Eww!...it wasn't that bad. That will cut one day off your trip and you won't have to retrace your route.

    Even without going to Warrensburg, make sure you book your train early. There are only 4 spots on the train for bicycles and they go pretty quickly. Basically, they take two rows of seats out of a single car and that's your bike rack.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post
    I've got a few questions:

    1. I've got 2 good bikes, a Trek FX 7.3 and a Bianchi Eros. I've put 700x35 nobbies on the Trek and figure that will be the best for this trip on the crushed limestone. It's also got a longer wheelbase and will handle panniers better. Both bikes are very comfortable for long rides. I've done metric centuries on both. I'd like to hear your views on whether or not I'm right in assuming the Trek would be the better bike. I'd really rather take the Bianchi, but I love the Trek also.
    The Trek would be a better choice. You don't need the knobbies. I've ridden the trail a couple of times with 37mm touring tires (smooth tread) and never had problems. The surface is pretty solid although it is a little soft when wet on the west end near Clinton.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post
    2. I loath having to be tied down to a schedule. Do any of you have experience on the trail at that time of year and will I have problems if I don't schedule a room in advance. I'd like to be able to ride about 50 to 60 miles a day and then look for a room. (Hence, the tent just in case.)
    There are a few places to stay along the way but most of the accommodations are of the bed and breakfast variety. If you are willing to go a little further off route, you might find more places to stay. Sedalia, Jefferson City, Boonville have regular hotels but the smaller towns usually don't. In Jefferson City, I'd suggest that you take the trip across the bridge and go into town. We stayed in the hotels on the north side of the river and there ain't much out there. Jefferson would be much more interesting.

    Take a day to explore Hermann if you can. It's a really nice town...if somewhat expensive. If she is still open, Betty Braun's Mumbrauer house is a wonderful place to stay and the least expensive in town. It's like staying with your grandmother.


    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post
    3. Do any of you have experience riding the train from St. Louis to Sedalia? Is there any advice I need to heed?
    Don't be in a hurry. Passenger service is below freight. When we took the train we were about an hour and a half late in getting to Warrensburg.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post
    4. Finally, is there a Clyde, or two, or three or ? that would be interested in joining the ride?

    Any other advice would be appreciated. I've already got the trail book and it's been very helpful. I'd be interested in any first hand knowledge, or any stories of the KATY Trail you could pass on.

    John
    Glen1234 already suggested the Katy Trail website.
    Stuart Black
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    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Rather than take the trail to Clinton from Sedalia, I'd suggest riding the train all the way out to Warrensburg. Take MO13 south to Clinton (about 30 miles).
    (more for the OP, but a general suggestion as well)
    As with any highway, much depends on the time of day you are considering doing this and your comfort level with traffic. MO13 is fine at times, and not so fine at other times (one of the state's "on the burner" projects is to widen it to 4 lanes for the obvious reasons). These times usually are weekdays around the normal rush hour times, but also if there's a special event of some kind in either place. Regardless, most of the people I'm aware of that are familiar with MO13 (the "locals") would recommend against taking it more than recommend taking it, for numerous reasons.

    My suggestion would be to be careful and have an idea of an alternate route if the traffic does get too "hot" for your comfort (or if the construction has gotten further south by 2010), if you were to take this route.

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    Senior Member John Bailey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Rather than take the trail to Clinton from Sedalia, I'd suggest riding the train all the way out to Warrensburg. Take MO13 south to Clinton (about 30 miles). It's an okay road. My wife and I did it in 2008. Even in rain and dodging dead turtles...Eww!...it wasn't that bad. That will cut one day off your trip and you won't have to retrace your route.
    The mileage chart says 37 mi. from Clinton to Sedalia. 37 mi. on a trail, rather than 30 mi. on a road, unless the road is very bike friendly, would interest me more. I've scheduled a day to get to Clinton from Sedalia, so I'm not worried about the trip there. I've got a couple of extra days built into the schedule, also, for weather delays. As far as retracing, it usually seems to me that traveling a different way on a trail looks totally different.

    Thanks for all the advice - it's making the planning process easier.

    John

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    Senior Member John Bailey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thestoutdog View Post
    John, I live in Columbia, MO and have played a bit on the KATY. I am interested in riding the whole thing before I move in MAY '10. Keep in touch and maybe I'll run into you or join you next year.
    Hi stoutdog,

    My schedule is pretty set as I'm a Charter School administrator in Michigan and I'll be doing this trip at spring break. You would be more than welcome.

    John

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn1234 View Post
    (more for the OP, but a general suggestion as well)
    As with any highway, much depends on the time of day you are considering doing this and your comfort level with traffic. MO13 is fine at times, and not so fine at other times (one of the state's "on the burner" projects is to widen it to 4 lanes for the obvious reasons). These times usually are weekdays around the normal rush hour times, but also if there's a special event of some kind in either place. Regardless, most of the people I'm aware of that are familiar with MO13 (the "locals") would recommend against taking it more than recommend taking it, for numerous reasons.

    My suggestion would be to be careful and have an idea of an alternate route if the traffic does get too "hot" for your comfort (or if the construction has gotten further south by 2010), if you were to take this route.
    My wife and I did it on a Tuesday at about midday. That's when the train gets in. It wasn't particularly busy nor particularly narrow. It is a fast mostly downhill to Clinton from Warrensburg and we covered the distance in around 2 hours. I know that's fast because my wife never rides 30 miles in 2 hours

    I have ridden worse.
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    Senior Member John Bailey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    My wife and I did it on a Tuesday at about midday. That's when the train gets in. It wasn't particularly busy nor particularly narrow. It is a fast mostly downhill to Clinton from Warrensburg and we covered the distance in around 2 hours. I know that's fast because my wife never rides 30 miles in 2 hours

    I have ridden worse.
    Thanks cyccommte, it's always good to have options, particularly when the option in downhill. Fits right in with my strengths.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    My wife and I did it on a Tuesday at about midday.
    If that translates to "around noon", then that explains it.

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    I have done the entire length of the KATY trail twice. Once was from Clinton to St Louis. The Other was the other way. Each time, I had a group of about 20 to 30 people with me.

    The hard part is negotiating the transportation issue. It is point a to point b, unless you ride all the way out and back. The train is an option unless you have a recumbent or tandem. They also do not take trailers or panniers.

    Like someone else said, pay heed to the weather. A wet KATY trail is a miserable KATY trail, particularly in areas they might have recently dumped some chat.

    This site here: http://www.bikekatytrail.com/ was a big help to me.
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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn1234 View Post
    If that translates to "around noon", then that explains it.
    A bit later than noon. My wife even remarked that the road would be busier at rush hour but, if you use the train, you aren't likely to get there at those times
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bentcruiser View Post
    The hard part is negotiating the transportation issue. It is point a to point b, unless you ride all the way out and back. The train is an option unless you have a recumbent or tandem. They also do not take trailers or panniers.
    We had panniers. I had 4 and my wife had 2. No issues with getting them on the train. A trailer would be another story altogether.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bailey View Post

    2. I loath having to be tied down to a schedule. Do any of you have experience on the trail at that time of year and will I have problems if I don't schedule a room in advance. I'd like to be able to ride about 50 to 60 miles a day and then look for a room. (Hence, the tent just in case.)

    3. Do any of you have experience riding the train from St. Louis to Sedalia? Is there any advice I need to heed?

    It's kind of tough to map out a 50-60 mile average and end up anyplace with lodging...and depending on where you're at, camping is not the most attractive option either. There are several private campgrounds along the way, but my experience has been that the bugs are horrible in the evening.

    If you're riding during the week, you will have better luck at snagging last minute rooms, but some of them may end up being at some of the more pricey B & B's.

    As for the train....you've already seen the comments about the lack of schedule. We found it really frustrating trying to get back to Sedalia. It took forever.....

    We were just on the section around Rocheport last week after some torrential rains and the trail was very rideable. In most cases, it's mature enough that it's pretty hard-packed and rain doesn't make too much of a difference unless you find yourself on a freshly repaired section. It's been a while since I've been on it, but the one exception to that is between Clinton and Sedalia. It got pretty soggy after a rain one time.

    You will encounter some long stretches that are kind of boring....but lots of others that are really cool.

    Have fun.
    Tracy Wilkins
    2011 Trek Madone 5.2
    2005 Burley Duet Tandem
    2009 Surly Cross-Check (Commuter)
    www.springfieldcyclist.com

  23. #23
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    Having gotten to ride this recently (Clinton to Sedalia) - this thread put the idea into my head oddly enough, I had a couple of more thoughts occur to me. (Ride pics to come once I sort them out if people are somewhat interested)

    Quote Originally Posted by MilitantPotato View Post
    Fenders with full length flaps help. The trail is dusty. If wet, it slings a sandy mix that gets pretty hard as it dries. It's also bad for your drive train, sort of like sand paper.
    Quote Originally Posted by bladeswitcher View Post
    I strongly suggest fenders on a Katy Trail bike. They help keep down the dust. Also, if you happen to get rained on, the Katy deposits a concrete like substance over your entire bike.
    This is very true. It also happens on a dry bike on a dry day. I found the lime dust all over my chain and drive train, and sometimes cemented to the tires (*). So you might plan on time to clean up and reoil things after each day to make sure the grit doesn't work its way into the chain and tear it up.

    The other suggestion I had is this one: Watch the trail closely. Sometimes you have to play dodge-em with the ruts that get put in during the wet days, as well as parts of tree limbs and even big steaming piles of horse dung. Even some of the roads you will have to cross will either bump down or up rather severely, or have something inconsistent there (coarse gravel). With any of the intersections, be careful. That especially is true for the stretch of the trail through Sedalia proper - it crosses a large number of busy city streets one immediately after the other. Don't hurry on that section when you go.

    You will encounter some long stretches that are kind of boring....but lots of others that are really cool.
    True that.

    (*) My bike has 26x1 3/8 slicks on it and I didn't have a traction (or other) problem with them. Hope that factoid helps someone.

    Edit: I also noticed as well that all the facilities (water fountains/bathrooms) were closed for the winter. I do not know what that entails, since I haven't come across a description. But evidently, they will open when some criteria is met that defines the season as "not winter" - probably temperature, again. For your time (April 3 start), you might research into whether these facilities will be open and be able to plan what you do accordingly.
    Last edited by Glenn1234; 11-15-09 at 10:43 PM. Reason: Added point/question

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn1234 View Post
    Edit: I also noticed as well that all the facilities (water fountains/bathrooms) were closed for the winter. I do not know what that entails, since I haven't come across a description. But evidently, they will open when some criteria is met that defines the season as "not winter" - probably temperature, again. For your time (April 3 start), you might research into whether these facilities will be open and be able to plan what you do accordingly.
    They open April 1, 2010. So you should be fine there.

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    Katy Trail Pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn1234 View Post
    Ride pics to come
    Here's a first set which shows the general flavor of things outside of the towns:

    1. This is the trailhead at Clinton. Each of the trailheads have a thing like this, which has tourist and historical information about the town and some general highlights of what you'll see along the path. They also will have water fountains, bathroom facilities, and (sometimes) parking. That's the bike I rode in the picture (I have pictures of all of them between Clinton & Sedalia).

    2. This is a picture of the trail somewhere between Clinton and Calhoun. It's a decent representation of what the trail looks like in most places between Clinton & Sedalia. In looking at the trees, keep in mind I took these pictures in November and things are normally much greener. The wooden platform bridge is typical of what you use to cross the numerous creeks and rivers you would encounter. Sometimes, the frame of the bridges used are artifacts of the railroad bridges, and this is one of them.

    3. This is another part of the trail where it crosses through the Osage Plains. The MO Conservation Dept takes an effort to restore & maintain the area to have plants typical of what grew there before it was settled and that is what you see on the sides of the trail. I have no idea what they look like when green, so that might be a good thing to see if/when I ride the trail next year. The poles to the left are more railroad artifacts - they are telegraph poles, which were used to relay messages to the trains as they traveled.

    The main thing, at least for this trail section, is to get into nature. Other than the road crossings (which generally have gates unless you are in town), and the towns, there is much to offer in that regard. If you're looking to do touristy type things, there are a few things. The biggest draw of this section, is more the ride in nature than anything else.
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