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Katy Trail Rock Island Spur Comments
First Trip

I'm thinking of a trip starting in Sedalia. I'm not a very experienced biker, but I am a runner in pretty good shape. Can someone give me a range of how many miles is recommended per day? Any suggestions on buying vs. renting a bike the first time around? Can someone give a range in price of a recommended bike? Any help suggestions would be appreciated.
posted Jul 1 2005 11:44AM - acahill, Kansas City

Your leg strength and cardiovascular endurance from running will help a lot. But cycling uses some different muscles from running so you can expect some soreness, especially in the quads, glutes, and a sore "saddle" (the area just south of the glutes). Before I got into cycling, I used to run marathons - when I was in marathon condition but rarely cycling, a 30 mile ride was no big deal but a 40 mile ride left me with aches and pains. Obviously this varies from person to person - you won't know your pain threshold until you get out and ride a few times. Many of the organized Katy Trail tours have 50-60 mile days, but a full tour requires some training.
Unless you only plan to ride a couple of times a year, don't buy a bike from a "big box" sporting goods store or Walmart type place. You'll want to go to a bike shop where they know how to help you find a bike that fits your body. Fit is important (they say Lance can tell if his seat is off by a millimeter) - a poorly fitted bike could leave you with mysterious pains that keep coming back each time you ride.
Your own budget is the biggest factor in what to spend. Most bike shops will let you try out several models on their parking lot, and you'll quickly feel the difference between a $300 bike and a $1000 bike. And of course how often you plan to ride - if you're only riding a few times a year then you really don't need an expensive bike. If you just want the occasional ride on the Katy Trail, you might be better off just renting. Sorry I can't give a more precise answer, but it's something each person must answer for him/herself after visiting a bike shop or two.
If you do buy a bike, don't forget to reserve some of your cash for accessories: helmet, car rack, computer (odometer), lock, bags/panniers.
posted Jul 2 2005 8:30AM - Ray (webmaster)

Good answer!

I've been there before and others have posted similar questions also. They are legitimate questions when you simply do not know.....but the answers do lie within each individual and their own personal discoveries in the cycling world.

On a personal note....as far as the question that comes up "How far can I ride on the trail?"...I usually ride 3 to 4 times a week on rides of 10 to 15 miles. I find 40 miles comfortable when on a trail though.....probably because I have more time than I do when riding for the evening after work. Thats how I'm equipped physically. I know people who ride 40 miles plus after work and three to four times that on the weekend.

As far as buy vs. rent.....personally and no offense to anyone, but the least expensive bike shop bike is far superior than the most expensive "big box" or Wally World bike. That aside, in making the decision to buy or not....I would have to keep in mind the rental cost. If you are looking to go for a bike ride.....rent! If you are looking to go on a "trip" as the poster stated....consider the cost to rent the bike for the whole trip. Riding for 5 days and having to pay $40 a day for the bike would tell me that I would need to seriously consider putting some extra cash with that $200 bucks and own a new bike. Renting is a good deal for the day perhaps, but not something that I would do for a "trip."

Very simply.....how far and buy/rent?......go to a bike rental shop on the Katy for a day ride. Rent a bike and head out......keeping in mind that no matter how far you go, you've got to turn around and ride that distance back to return the bike.

When you get done, evaluate what just happened and ask yourself some questions. Could I have gone farther? Did I go too far? Can I do that two or three days in a row to satisfy the trip urge? Do I need more water and supplies (snacks/gel/etc.) than I can carry on a rental bike with no bags in order to convert a day ride int
posted Jul 2 2005 1:56PM - Trek Biker, St. Joseph, MO

Do I need more water and supplies (snacks/gel/etc.) than I can carry on a rental bike with no bags in order to convert a day ride into a "trip."

Do your own little science experiment to see what you can do physically and financially. Only you know what works for you.
posted Jul 5 2005 2:01PM - Anonymous

Well, I have been riding only for about 2 months. I borrowed a Cannondale but have since been given a new Specilized-I have put about 200 miles on (split even between both)...the Cannondale had the slim seat & the mountain type handle bars (straight), the Specilized has the wide seat and the road type handle bars (upright).
My preference is the wide seat and the road handle bars. But that is a personal choice.
Find a good bike shop close to your home, try several types of seats, bars, gear shifts, etc.etc...all will either add to your enjoyment or make each ride a nightmare.
My first ride on the trail was a R/T from Sedalia to Calhoun (58 miles) a good experience since I thought the trail was flat!!! I was really shocked with the up grades (2%), doesn't look like much till you pedal up one for 1 to 1 1/2 miles...Good Luck!!
posted Jul 5 2005 10:18PM - CP, Grain Valley

We did 30-40 miles per day on the Katy and thought we could have easily done 50 or more. I'm a very experienced cyclist and ride my bike to work 20-30 miles round trip, but my companion is much less experienced. He walks a lot, but only rides the bike occasionally and felt 50 miles to be quite do-able. We're both in our 50's. It does help to go from west to east (Clinton to St Charles) because you do get more downhills, even though they're only slight. The padded shorts, a comfortable saddle and some kind of lubricant for chafing are really helpful.
posted Jul 10 2005 8:56PM - Sarah, Denver CO

These are not good answers....they're great answers!!! Having gone Car-less 6 years ago I can vouch for all advice in this vein. One slice of advice I would like to reiterate....don't go "cheap" if you're going to ride a lot....accessories are necessary (water bottles etc.), and those cycling clothes have many true functions...they're not just to make us look good. Heh, Heh. Never thought I would need a cyclometer....then I got one and I'm data hungry at the end of every day whether on my commuter bicycle, or road bike. Enjoy the Voyage Mark of the Dalton Boys
posted Jul 13 2005 7:41AM - The Dalton Boys, Austin, TX. Columbia MO.

Definately agree with renting & riding a couple of 10-20 mile rides first. Just to make sure you're going to actually enjoy it. I've known several people that went out & bought expensive bikes & then found they really hated riding. Personally, I bought a Wally World Schwin touring bike last spring, rode a couple of short Katy Trail trips & I was hooked. Ended up riding almost all of the legs from Clinton to Rocheport several times & then went out & bought a good road bike in the fall. Since then I've changed the tires to 35s to make trail riding easier. Am riding the the MS 150 this fall!!!!!
One last comment..make sure you get a good helmet. I crashed my bike in May .. ended up flying over the handlebars into trees & brush with the bike on top of me. Luckly, I only ended up with cuts, bruises & a lump on my leg that still hasn't gone down. IF I hadn't been wearing a helmet it would have been alot worse.

posted Jul 27 2005 11:52AM - Hooked on biking, close to KC

Tags: Calhoun, Clinton, St Charles, Rocheport, Sedalia, WalMart, Bike Shops, Parking, Water, Route Suggestions, Hiking, Running, Bikes and gear, Tires, Events Modify Tags

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