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Katy Trail Rock Island Spur Comments
Trail and Towns

Hi all,

I need your help.

I work for some of the towns along the Katy Trail.

What can they do to get you to visit them? I know mostly you are out there for a workout...when you aren't...is there something the towns could be doing better to get you to check them out? Better signs? More shops? etc.

Maybe they just shouldn't worry about trying to get you off the trail because it's never going to happen?

Thanks for any input!
posted May 9 2008 10:49AM - Mike, St. Louis

Festivals, fairs, or things like Bike Across (name your state) will have pies or beer or special things for sale for the riders. If I know something special is going on, I'd be more likely to stop in. Maybe some Katy Trail stuff to buy or a "passport" could be punched in each town. Within a certain time span, if you're passport is complete you get a free t-shirt or ... something cool. Not brilliant ideas, just brainstorming.
posted May 9 2008 3:46PM - ldixon, Lawrence, KS

Just to have better signs (with full directions) at the trailheads re services available would be helpful. Currently, you see the DNR signs with just small symbols for food, drink, etc. Occasionally there are listings on the bulletin boards.
If there could be more specific signs where stores, restaurants are actually located, it may prompt more people to get off the trail and through the towns to the places of business.
I like the previous posters idea of a "passport" type of card. There is a lot of possibility there.
posted May 9 2008 6:38PM - MAH, Blue Springs, MO

Of course folks are looking for a good work-out, but exploring the local towns is half the fun. I know allot of folks that ride the Katy feel that way. I almost always use the bulletin boards on the trailheads. They let me know who is "bike friendly". I remember just popping into a random restaurant in Boonville before. I got the stares up and down. They obviously didn't want me in there in my riding clothes, sweaty and all. (Which is fine. They are shooting for another target audience.) So now I always go with whats posted on the trailhead bulletin boards. They must be bike friendly, they are posting a sign for me.

Websites and what-nots are handy at the house, but obviously not available when I'm riding and I got a short-term memory.
posted May 9 2008 7:11PM - Frank, LSMO

I'd like to see the towns offer some type of hostel similar to the one in Tebbetts. It would allow people to have a cheap place to stay while they visit some of the local establishments.
posted May 11 2008 3:44PM - DougK, Troy

Agree with DougK, even well kept, conveniently located camping areas would entice Katy Trail bikers and hikers to spend some time($$) in your town.
posted May 11 2008 9:28PM - bears, Ashland

For us, it would be most beneficial to know what is available in each town and where to find it….in agreement with MAH here. I don’t really care to see any wallpaper along the trail or trailheads though…..we ride to see the skinks and green snakes, not funky signs along the way.

It would be nice if the DNR would use part of the trailhead signs to list in a common format where to find off trail amenities….perhaps with consistent and common headings such as Food, Groceries, Lodging, Water, Events, etc. To me stapling business cards to a board in random order is confusing and clutter…...I rarely pay attention to it other than to notice how tacky it looks.

And…..although we’ve rarely found it to be an issue…..the town folks just need to be kind and accepting. Yes, we are out of place in their world sometimes…..but we’ve got two important things…....cash and time to spend it in their town. More times than not if a business person is rude, I figure they must have enough cash on hand and don’t need any of mine.
posted May 12 2008 2:49PM - Trek Biker

How about a "Top 10 Things to Do in ____"? Every small town has a claim to fame, some sort of interesting architecture, some kind of monument or famous person, some little quirk, some reason for being. Even if it's 1) Eat a pickled egg at Joe's Tavern; 2) Say "hi" to Matt at Ace Hardware; 3) Find the four-leaf clover on the Republic Bank building. 4) Check out the Blue Star Highway monument at the corners of Pratt and Case streets... etc. The more special, "local" things you have, the easier it is to track results, see if people are using the list. I like the prior "passport" suggestion, too.
posted May 16 2008 2:47PM - Katy Trail Fan, Farmington

I think it would be extremely helpful if - at least during peak times of biking - that the businesses were open. I realize its tough to be open 7 days a week. But biking the trail is tough when the entire town is shut down 1 or 2 days a week.
posted May 16 2008 11:03PM - julie

I like to know there are places in town to sit and eat a sandwich and enjoy the scenery... a city park with benches, for example, where you can watch the business of the town go by. One of my favorite biking memories is of a little town along the New York side of Lake Champlain. We rode our bikes into the town, bought sandwiches and sodas at a local deli, and sat in the shade in a park listening to the church bells at noon. It would be nice to know just where to go where you won't be looked askance because you're in bike shorts and you can picnic in an attractive place.
posted May 17 2008 11:13AM - Terri, Summit NJ

Once users get over the initial awe and mystery of the trail, we seek further enjoyment in the surrounding towns and villages. I personally like the small locator maps and handwritten menus posted on the trail bulletin boards if they give the prices and rates, too. I would also enjoy community events, like, BBQ, bean-cornbread, brat, catfish, and chili feeds if welcome there. Other events like, annual festivals and local clogging, fiddling, or jigging demonstrations are fun as well. Hermann does well with their month-long Oktoberfest because everyone knows about it ahead of time, and they are welcome there.
posted May 18 2008 12:49PM - jd

I'd like to amend my previous comment. Water. I chose to pass by some towns when I hiked the Katy because I was focused on making it to the next water point. Hikers almost always stop for water.
posted May 18 2008 8:22PM - DougK, Troy

I agree with the last post. Water is a big hot-weather issue on the trail. Several 20-to-40-plus-mile stretches on the trail have limited water supplies at the actual trailheads, although the outrooms and trashcans are available there. However, most of these stretches and trailheads have other sources nearby, e.g, convenience stores, cafes, bar-cafes, filling stations, bait shops, fishing camps, vending machines, B&B’s, and other businesses/shops having hydrants, sodas, or bottled water. Tebbets also has a trail shelter with running water and air conditioning (the door key hangs on a telephone pole outside). A Bluffton B&B is very friendly toward trail users. A general store in Peers seems to be a hangout for users. If necessary, users might also find public-use buildings having outside faucets for emergency refills, asking first, if possible. If desperation sets in, one can knock on home doors, and ask for water. Additionally, other trail users will gladly pour part of their supply into your bottle. No one needs to die of dehydration on the trail. Although extra water is a good thing to carry during hot weather, signs or placards pointing to water outlets help a lot.
posted May 22 2008 2:05PM - jd, GKC

Your job sounds fun. I rode from Sedalia to N. Jefferson on a Sun-to-Tuesday in May, spending the night in Pilot Grove and Rocheport. People were very friendly and helpful, but there wasn't much open. In Rocheport the cafe closed just as we arrived (but the guy let us buy sandwiches from the fridge) and didn't open until after we left the next morning. We were counting on lunch in Hartsburg, but Dotties was closed, though she too let us have sandwiches from the fridge. Lucy's Diner in McBaine was a lifesaver for breakfast, but I only knew about it from calling Katfish Katy's and finding that they did not serve food OR sell groceries. So, the answer to your question is FOOD would attract me into a town.

Also you get a kind of highway hypnosis on the trail, so if the town isn't RIGHT on the trail, you think, "I'm not getting off the trail," even if it's only a quarter or half mile. One way to break the hypnosis would be to have high school kids selling lemonade at the crossroads that leads to town, say to raise money for their church, who could act as ambassadors for their town. No one would ride past kids selling lemonade, and they could answer questions ("yes, there's a store in town, Yes, your cell phone will work at the top of the hill, no, there's not a bicycle shop here, but the guy at the gas station can sometimes fix things...")
posted Jun 13 2008 4:57PM - RB, St Louis

I would like to see something similar to the Interstate Business Routes that take you through interesting areas of towns and back to the interstate. You could put up signs that would be followed to business and/or interesting areas and back to the Katy Trail to continue your journey. Add to that a small sticker on the window of businesses along that route that specifically cater to or provide services for bikers (like restrooms or water).
posted Jun 15 2008 11:35AM - Steve, Lynchburg

The Camino between Spain and France would be a good model for the Katy Trail with a passport stamped along the way at businesses. No time frame needed. Highway 50 in Nevada has a somewhat similar passport system. Scores of people from all over the world would come to use the Katy Trail and the businesses would thrive.
posted Apr 15 2014 1:01PM - M C Schwager, Higbee, MO

The DNR had a passbook several years ago, where you could visit businesses along the way to get your book stamped to verify that you were there. I don't recall the masses on their pilgrimage to get ink stamps in their passbook though.
posted Apr 16 2014 7:43AM - Trek

If you are doing this for several towns along the trail, I'd suggest the following:
1. At the trailheads, post a flyer in a plastic sleeve on the bulletin board with a list of local businesses, days and hours of operation, and a map showing where they are located.
2. Encourage the businesses to put a bike rack or someplace to lock a bike near the trail so visitors can explore.
3. Encourage businesses to put a sign in a window or banner somewhere welcoming Katy Trail visitors.
4. Work with Ray to make sure that info is posted prominently on this site.
posted Apr 16 2014 12:46PM - kevin, Jeff City

You do all realize Mike posted his question 6 years ago don't you?
posted Apr 16 2014 12:54PM - MidSouth, Rogersville, MO

Sure did notice that Mid. My comment was in response to a post made yesterday.
posted Apr 16 2014 1:23PM - Trek

I remember the passport. I think that was 5 years ago. Was for the 20 year anniversary or something...
posted Apr 16 2014 1:51PM - MidSouth, Rogersville, MO

Probably closer to an anniversary celebration than a religious pilgrimage.
posted Apr 16 2014 2:00PM - Trek

I don't recall many Europeans clamoring to get rubber stamps from all the bar & grills across Missouri...
posted Apr 16 2014 2:19PM - MidSouth, Rogersville, MO

When I was doing my cross-trail ride last year, it was all about which towns had drinks, food, and camping. That's the trifecta of Katy Trail passage. Like many others have said, having prominent signage on the trail about upcoming water, food, and overnight stopping points would be great. I never avoid going into the towns--quite the opposite...I'm very interested in the towns and what each of them offers. And I'm more than happy to pay for their services.
posted Apr 19 2014 6:45PM - Anonymous

When I was planning a trip on the Trail I was going one-way until my partner backed out now it is going to be a out and back. The one thing I was having a hard time with is Tent camping. As the last person stated I am all about the Food, Shower, and Tent camping. I would camp in the side yard of someones house just to get some sleep.
posted Apr 22 2014 8:22PM - Snail Male, The White House in Tennessee

Workout? I don't like workouts, isn't been ever in my life a time when I get in my bike and I think about that way.
About your question: Maybe the thing to come to my mind is "Camping", but also food, bicycle related stuff, parts, etc
posted Apr 27 2014 7:17PM - Miguel, Rogers, Arkansas

Tags: Peers, Bluffton, Tebbetts, Hartsburg, McBaine, Rocheport, Boonville, Pilot Grove, Sedalia, Hermann, Benches, Katfish Katy's, Turner Katy Trail Shelter Hostel, City Park, Lucy's Bar & Grill, Restaurants, Groceries, Lodging, Camping, Trailheads, Water, Restrooms, Vending, Route Suggestions, Weather, Running, Events Modify Tags

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