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Old 10-12-04, 11:15 AM   #1
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Which Bike On Katy Trail

A friend and I are planning on riding the Katy Trail in Missouri next year from Sedalia to St. Charles and doing it in 2 1/2 days. Currently I have a Trek 3700 mountain bike and a Trek 7100 hybrid. Both have Trek interchange rack on the back for the Trek interchange trunk I have. I hope to outfit one of these bikes with panniers (both front and back) and probably a small handlebar bag. If I go the mountain bike route I will change to some kevlar inverted slicks for tires. My question is which bike should I focus on outfitting. Also are does anyone have any tips on riding the Katy Trail.
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Old 10-12-04, 05:19 PM   #2
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I rode the K trail last summer. I was headed to the west coast ands it was a nice diversion fo a few days.. I remember there were many cycists riding th etrail so there was always some to talk to or ride with . There were nice places to camp sopme with showers some not most of the small towns along the trail had a unofficial place to camp just ask someone. The bike shops in the area had maps of the trail with listings of cafes grocerys etc. this is a state park of Messoura there was no charge to ride the trail.
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Old 10-12-04, 05:56 PM   #3
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I did a ride of the Katy last month. Here's the link to the thread:

As for which bike: Either one. But if it's easier to fit panniers to one, choose that bike. I've tried to fit racks and panniers to my Trek 65000 MTB, and found that the chainstays were too short and my heels would clip the panniers. But for a 2.5 day trip you really don't need to carry a lot, so maybe you can get by with small panniers.

Another thing to consider is tire width. If the trail has been dry for awhile, you could ride with almost any size tire (I recommend at least a 700x28 or 26x1.25). But if it has been raining, you might want to go a little wider. There are soft spots along the shoulders, and places where you could wreck a wheel due to a major washout.

Be sure to look at the katy trail website link from the thread on my ride. It lists campsites, places to eat, etc.

Have fun.
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Old 10-13-04, 07:06 PM   #4
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My brother and I have ridden from Sedalia to Washington (and vice-versa) on two different trips. Either type bike is fine, but, I would recommend the mountain bike if, as BradW suggested, you can get the panniers to fit. Chainstay length is an issue on mountain bikes, but if your panniers mounts are adjustable fore and aft, as mine are, you can probably (just) get it to work. We were only carrying street clothes, extra bike shorts, and such because we stayed in B&B's (my brother does not camp).

I recommend the mountain bike because there are actually places where it can get very loose due to being too dry as well. We experienced that in '99 when it had been extremely dry all summer in Missouri and even on mountain bikes, Dave, a not very experienced cyclist, bogged down a few times.

My main recommendation is to try to find more time if you can. We spent a liesurely 4-5 days each time and really enjoyed ourselves. Great people, terrific scenery, and good food in places like the Stonehill Winery in Hermann and the Hotel Bothwell in Sedalia. Come to think of it, I wonder what my brother is doing next week?
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Old 10-14-04, 02:46 PM   #5
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I rode the 225 Katy trial this past summer from end to end. I used my Cannodale Jekyll 800 mountain bike on this ride. It was a overkill and did not need it. I rode with out 300 other cylcist and some used road bikes.. Next year I will be doing the Katy again from Clinton to ST. Charles Missouri. I will not use my Jekyll this this time, instead I going to used my older Cannondale Killer V900 mountain bike which is considerably lighter. I will remove the mountain bike tires and put smaller street tires or cylcle cross tires on it.I want to be able to go faster than I can on my Jekyll and this bike being much lighter with street tires should do the job well and I should be able to go much faster.

Personally I think you would do well to use your hybrid with tires similar to cycle cross tires. I mention that some used road bikes on the trail and a few of them did have trouble with flats. If you used smaller tires like I am planning on doing they need to be very good tires that are puncture resistance. Practically all of the Katy trial is like riding on concrete but it is a lime stone path and has many small rocks that can puncture tires. If it rains then you can expect some lush on the top but it did not go deep. There were a few places that was kind of soft but these were for only a very short distances. Practically every kind of bike there is was used by the group I was riding with. None gave any problems on the trail except for flat tires on some of the road bikes.
However it must be noted that with hard rains the trail conditilon can change enough in places that would make larger tires better suited. I have read where some section of the trail is undergoing repairs and before you make the trip you ought to check for trail conditions.
As for me I sticking to smaller tires on my old Cannondale for this summer trip which I will be doing in June.
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Old 07-16-08, 07:32 PM   #6
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I have a Trek 3700 that I a couiple of years ago and ride the Katy quite often between St. Charles and Dutzow. The bike handles the trail with ease. I have a quick release pannier rank on the rear, but have yet to use any bags on it. That's planned for the near future.

The Katy trail is made of a crushed limestone type material, which has been no problem to the stock MTB tires. I've seen many people riding hybrids and recumbents on the trail, so either of your bikes would be fine, the choice is yours.

Last edited by gbalke; 07-16-08 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 07-16-08, 08:06 PM   #7
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Trail conditions depend on weather. With lots of rain a wider tire will be useful, but with luck and moderate conditions, I'd not hesitate to take a road bike, and even less so a hybrid rather than a mountain bike. If I took a mountain bike it would have relatively smooth, narrow tires. The point about having good tires if you take a road bike is a good one. I use kevlar belts in nearly all of my tires to reduce flats from both spines and rocks, and especially when touring with added weight. Ride safely, Tom
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Old 07-17-08, 11:23 AM   #8
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You should be able to do Sedalia to St Chuck in 2 1/2 days, since it mostly slopes downhill going east.

My brother and I just did half of it the other week, going from St Charles to McBaine and up to Columbia in two days, and we camped overnight in a city park in the middle of Hermann with shower facilities.

I used my LHT and my brother used an old Motobecane Grand Touring road bike from the 70's, both bikes performed well on the trail.
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Old 07-17-08, 01:12 PM   #9
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bring a dust'll need it, cough, cough, cough. I did it and got covered
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Old 07-23-08, 12:32 PM   #10
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I realize the original post is quite old and that ride has long taken place but since this thread has resurfaced I'll unlurk and comment.

I do most all my riding on the katy trail...usually 5 days a week. My bike is a Trek 700 hybrid and is perfect for the trail. I ride with someone who uses a mountain bike and it slows her down a bit.

I have never had a problem with my tires (thinner than a mountain bike, bigger than road bikes) and the trail surface ever. I've also never had a flat on the trail. When I see someone changing a tire on the side of the trail it's always a road bike.

The trail is dusty (and splattery when wet) but I've never needed a face mask. Only my legs get dusty.
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