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Reply to Paving the Katy Trail

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Reply to Paving the Katy Trail
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KC from St. Peters on 10/4/2019 3:26:03 PM:
Is there any chance that the Katy trail would be paved, say from Weldon Springs to St. Charles? This would huge for road cyclist who can't take their bikes on the trail in its current state. It could be a great expansion for the greenway system.

Marna from Boonville on 10/4/2019 6:21:07 PM:
It would be cheaper and easier for YOU to buy a Mt. Bike....

ArkyKenny on 10/4/2019 6:34:11 PM:
My vote on paving is EMPHATICALLY NO! Some day it might happen, but no time soon (and that is a good thing).

Dave from Kirkwood on 10/4/2019 8:51:11 PM:
I ride my road bike on the Katy Trail all the time. Of course, my tires are wider and not designed for road racing. And that is a key point - most people do not want racers on the Katy, as it is a state park that works great for tourism, recreational cycling, family outings, walkers, runners, and other users.

BikerBoy from Maryville, IL on 10/5/2019 2:43:15 PM:
Every couple of years this question comes up. At one time, I calculated the cost to asphalt the entire Katy at around $20 million, or about $85,000 per mile. That might be feasible for the very popular Eastern portion, but would be wasted in a lot of other areas. But there are major problems with paving. Here is what I wrote two years ago: The maintenance of an asphalted (or even oil-and-chip) trail the length of the Katy would be astronomical. Here in Illinois, on our wonderful paved trails, the tree roots are pushing up the asphalt in hundreds of places. They would not be noticed on a gravel trail because the gravel flows around them. But on these asphalt trails, they become teeth-chattering bumps and are dangerous. To repair these, the asphalt must be cut out with a saw and then patched, or at the very least, ground down. If you ride the Hennepin Canal Trail (105 miles), you will see the result of good intentions (paved surface) gone bad (no maintenance). It would have been much better to leave it in limestone gravel.

Michael from London on 10/6/2019 7:21:51 AM:
Just completed cycling Sedalia to Defiance on 1 October over 6 hot days; I'll post more when I get the chance. I am also against paving or tarmacing. I have cycled in France on tarmac trails and it's easier than gravel, of course. But it has to be maintained and after a while it starts to feel less trail and more road - loses some of the feeling of being off the beaten track. In UK we have some good shortish rail trails which have gravel like the the Katy or the Allegheny Passage. They make for good riding. We thought that the work to repair the Katy has been amazing. The trail surface still seems a bit rough (and that excludes the Coopers Landing to Hartsburg section which we avoided), but largely as you expect in autumn - twigs, walnuts, stones here and there, leaves starting to fall.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 10/6/2019 6:15:59 PM:
Maintenance on asphalt trails would be a lot more expensive. Plus, it would attract people going wayyyy too fast. Your road bike will probably fit some fatter tires that will make the gravel doable for you.

Jerry Whittle from Belleville Illinois on 10/7/2019 7:05:31 AM:
I like BikerBoy's answer. I ride on the same trails that he does over in Illinois and the cost of creating asphalt trails and maintaining them is huge. However there's an answer. It's a well know opinion in the cycling community that the optimum number of bikes is N+1 where N is the number of bikes that you have now. In other words, buy a bike that works better for the Katy Trail. A relatively cheap hybrid is a great bike for the Katy. If you want to go upscale, cyclocross or gravel bikes work very well. I went from a hybrid, to a touring bike (both with 700x32 tires, to now a gravel bike that has fat 650b x 47 tires. A dual suspension, knobby tired mountain bike is probably overkill, but still would work.