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Katy Trail Rock Island Spur Comments
type of bike?

Since the trail is gravel does anyone have an opine on using a road bike or mountain bike??

Also, are there plenty of places to stay along the trail? or does one need to plan in advance and make reservations? How about bike shops if needed?? Restuarants?? Best time of year to visit?? Any infor...greatly appreciated. Oh and should one do sections like out and backs so you could drive to the next section or should do entire route and turn round and return??
posted May 17 2011 12:14PM - Riv, San Antonio

All of your questions have been answered on this forum, just click the search tab. Also click on "Towns & Services" and "Trip planner"
As far as the bike, most any bike will work, but a hybrid is the most common. A recumbent is also a very good choice since there are no hills. I plan my trip according to where I want to camp, which usually includes the Hostel in Tebbets. But I don't make reservations. If you plan on staying in B&B's, you probably want to call 1st. Some people want to do the entire trail and others do out-and-back. There is something for every taste: nature buffs, camping, lots of wineries, B&Bs. As for me, I like to ride 75-100 miles per day with the river on one side and bluff on the other. I usually pack my own food and tent on my BOB trailer and stop at only one place: Augusta Brewery.
posted May 17 2011 1:15PM - Chris, Centralia, IL

A hybrid is the way to go. A mountain bike would be a lot of work, and a road bike with too thin tires I'd be worried about flats and whatnot.

I'd make a couple of other suggestions. Having a rack on the back with a well-packed bag (not too much but extra tubes, bike tools, clothes, a poncho, food, etc.) is important. A Camel-Bak is well worth the money.

Another point since I just rode the west side...Clinton to Boonville is NOT flat. In fact it's a lot of up and down. It's not terrible, but there were climbs when our speed cut 30-50%. There were climbs of many miles in some stretches.
posted May 17 2011 7:59PM - SJ, St. Charles

A hybrid or a touring bike work well. When I'd ride with slicks, I'd get flats. A heartier tire will serve you well.
posted May 20 2011 1:09PM - kevin, Jefferson City

If you choose a road bike make sure it is more of a cyclocross setup. I ride a mountain bike with michelin slick tires and kevlar strips on the inside(these came in very handy on my last trip). Regardless of where you stay you want to have a plan on possible towns to stay in and what your options are. If you stay in a B&B or hotel you might want to reserve it in advance. I start my trip in Sedalia and camp in Hartsburg and Hermann and on the third day ride to Kirkwood. i wouldnt' suggest out and back unless its a day trip, but any longer and you'll most likely only want to see one stretch of the Katy. I usually take the train to sedalia from kirkwood and ride home in two and a half days.
posted May 20 2011 1:27PM - Andrew

The trail surface is more like fine chat than gravel....fine crushed gravel perhaps. We ride hybrids and a tandem road bike, but between a mountain bike and a road bike....I'd take the road bike. We have riden Trek Hardcase 700 x 28 tires and got along fine. Recently switched to Continental Gatorskins but haven't been on the Katy with them yet.

I'd advise planing in advance for the nights stay. Maybe not required all the time, by why cause undo stress when you can't find a place to stay? Options are less in the small towns.

Some places close on Mondays, so using the trip planner and knowing what day it is and whats open can help.

There is a bike shop in Sedalia, Rocheport, Jefferson City, Defiance, and St. Charles.

It's all good riding whether you do out and backs or one way and catch a ride back. We do both and it usually just depends on the route and the time that we have.
posted May 21 2011 11:45AM - Trek

Just finished yesterday with an old single speed road bike with 28mm gatorskins. My favorite tires by far and perfect for the trail.
posted May 21 2012 9:37AM - John, Ballwin

Riv, if you are asking if you should take your road bike or your mountain bike, either one would be fine. If you have a road bike, put the widest tires you can on it...it will make the ride easier and cut down on flats. If you have a mountain bike, you can get rid of the knobby tires and get something a little more road-like.
If you are asking what kind of bike you should buy, you should get the kind that would suit the kind of riding you'll do at home.
The KATY is crushed limestone, which is different from gravel. The trail packs down to a road-like surface most of the time, but is prone to some washouts and rutting after rains. It's more like a rough road than a dirt track.
posted May 21 2012 5:29PM - kevin, Jeff City

Agree with many previous comments.

Almost always will need reservations. I wouldn't want to leave home without them.

I totally concur that a single-speed with good hardcase or gatorskin 28s are the way to go. I've ridden everything from 23s to 2" 29er tires on the KATY and I settled on 28s with great flat protection. Love them for the KATY.
posted May 21 2012 8:58PM - Anonymous

I would recommend reservations if you are planning on B&Bs or motels. I'm sure B&B owners would appreciate knowing if they need to plan for overnight guests and perhaps making breakfast the next morning! Also, our group has done 2 weekend trips on the Katy. We plan our overnight stays based on places we want to stay and restaurants and bars we want to visit. I know not everyone travels that way, but we have enjoyed our weekends and have not been disappointed! In Jeff City, eat at Arris Pizza or Paddy Malones. Just wonderful food and atmosphere. We stayed at the Baymont Inn and they were very bike friendly and accomodating. In Washington, MO we stayed at the Super 8 and were again treated like family. They are super bike friendly and very helpful. The Old Dutch Inn in Washington has amazing food and a fun bar. Again, it all works toward making the weekend a great experience! And of course a stop at Augusta Brewing on a beautiful afternoon is a must! We love the Katy and will keep doing our weekend trips!
posted May 22 2012 2:03PM - Bike Rider, Kansas City

I've ridden my carbon fiber Trek road bike with 700 X 28C and a Cannondale aluminum hybrid with front and seat post suspension with 700 X 38C. The trail is a smooth as many of the paved roads I ride so either type bike is fine. Minimum of 28C width is recommended for this or the Frisco Highline Trail and although I have been on them with 22C, I wouldn't do it again. I've seen flats on slick, knobby and puncture resistant tires. I've never had a flat on the trail so I think it depends on quality of tire, weight on the bike and how you ride. I've found the hybrid with wider tires is much more comfortable on gravel and that is all I will take on rail to trail rides anymore.
posted May 29 2012 11:34AM - Wayne Gale, Springfield, Mo

Whatever you ride, I suggest spare tube, as well as tire liners. The chat can pierce your tire/tube. I had supposed "thorn proof" tubes that the chat cuts through. My personal preference is hybrid with 35 or wider tires.
posted Jun 13 2012 1:42PM - zbiker

I think any bike will work. That is, if you're very comforable riding bikes and watch your inflation well. My girlfriend isn't the best at handling her bike (he's new to it) and wiped OUT on a commuter bike the other day. If you're good with handling the bike, though, even skinny, high-pressure road tires will handle fine. You'll just have to go super slow through corners and not panic by squeezing a lot of brakes if you see snakes. Your comfort from road bike tires will be lower, though. I prefer the comfort of mtn bikes :-D If you have all types of bikes, ideal bike would be hybred, though.
posted Jun 25 2012 8:43PM - Kurt, St. Charles, MO

Buddy and I just rode it Friday-Sunday (Clinton-St. Charles). He rode 25s and I rode 28s. Both are tough tires (Gator Skins and Bontrager Hard Case). Both of us are really pleased with the tires. No flats...no problems.

Totally agree with the previous comment that the Clinton to Boonville stretch has lots of long grades. Nothing killer...but certainly MUCH MUCH more uphill than the remainder of the trail.

Enjoy!! We had a blast!
posted Jun 26 2012 1:03AM - Anonymous

I have a road bike with 28mm non-slick kevlar "gator" tires with some tread. I rode the whole Katy trail and then from El Paso to New Orleans, plus training rides and never had a flat.
posted Mar 19 2015 9:44PM - Gordon Minns, Cave Creek AZ

A hybrid or touring bike is the best. The groundup lime stone would be hard on the skinny street tires
posted Jun 10 2017 8:31AM - Bill Young, Jefferson City

We ride road bikes with Armidiilo tires (Specialized's brand of belted tires for no flats). A comprobable tire is called Gatorskins. A road bike allows you to cover more miles with less effort. Never had had a flat with these tires. We've stayed at B&B's, always reserve. Some only have 3 rooms.
posted Jun 24 2017 9:32PM - Anonymous

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