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John from Ashland, OH on 4/3/2005 9:36:40 PM:
We had a very pleasant Katy trail experience. We are very gratefull to the State of Missouri for supporting the sport of bicycling and for making a trail like this available to the public...for free.
We were very impressed with the Sadalia depot. Definately a must see. Stop by the little bike shop along the trail in Defiance. The proprietor is very nice, helpful and grateful to cyclists. Another good place is the Trailhead Brewery in St. Charles. I could go on and on about positives with our ride, but I would like to address some issues that will affect whether or not we would return.
The big one - the trail needs to be paved. I know big $$$. The poor trail conditions in several areas just makes for a long frustrating ride. The softness of the trail in certain areas was hard to deal with. Ever pedal in sand? It's not fun. Working my tail off for 7-8 mph is demoralizing and then coming to a complete halt when I stop pedaling. Got a great workout though.
Next are the horses. Stay off the trail please. If anything is going to ruin this trail for sure it's horses. Ruts and poop, not a good thing on a bike trail.
Maintence equipment - also a problem with ruts. We encountered several sections where someone drove a tractor on the trail when it was wet and by the time we got to it, we were riding on a washboard.
Dust - Well, we rode 290 miles on the trail and my bike is filthy (we did some backtracking).
Paving the trail will no doubt be expensive and it will create a whole new set of challenges, but I just cannot see ever coming back to ride it again until it is paved. Where we live in Ohio, there are a lot of paved trails and they are thriving. We ride them often and spend $$$ in the communities. Take a look at the Little Miami trail in southwest Ohio. It is a long trail 70+ miles and it is totlaly paved. It is nice.
In closing I'm glad we rode the trail, we met a lot of nice folks and I would not discourage anyone fro

Sarah from little rock on 4/4/2005 10:27:42 AM:
I would agree that the horses and maintenance equipment have damaged the trail BUT, paving the trail would not be the answer. Part of the adventure of the Katy, to our group, was that it isn't paved. It took time and effort to ride it, even though it's flat. If it were a paved, flat trail, then there's no challenge. We could have ridden it in two days, missed the great towns along the way, and gone back home. Where's the fun and accomplishment in that?

savage24 from KC MO on 4/7/2005 8:55:29 AM:
Glad you had a good time John. What time of year did you ride the Katy? I think the soft and rough places are worse in the spring.

If you wait for the trail to be paved before you return, well, it will be a very long time! This ain't Ohio! I don't believe bike trails have as much support from the general public in Missouri as they do in some other states. There was a lot of opposition to the trail from landowners, and while many of them now think it is a good thing, many others are indifferent to it and a few are still very much opposed to it (did you notice the little white signs along the trail encouraging you to "maintain your progress through this area"?)

I believe the most ambitous improvement to the trail now is connecting it to Kansas City. If/when that happens, I think the trail will really take off! I'm 40 years old, I hope to see it in my lifetime.

I am looking forward to riding the Little Miami Trail in July (if I can afford the gasoline to get there!).

Nurtured by Nature from Kansas on 4/13/2005 5:39:53 PM:
Can someone tell me where the worst of the soft and rough places are? We are riding at the end of May approximately 100 miles over 4 days with some older children. Suggestions on the best stretch for this?

TRinJboro from Jonesboro, AR on 4/14/2005 8:07:51 AM:
I would start at either Booneville or Rocheport and ride east. This portion of the trail runs along the MO river and is beautiful. My second choice would be to start at N. Jefferson City and ride east to St. Charles. This portion travels through wine country.

Sarah from Denver CO on 6/12/2005 11:54:17 AM:
I'm surprised anyone even mentioned the roughness of the trail. We just finished riding from Clinton to St Charles and thought the surface was fantastic! No, it's not paved,and, as someone else said, that's part of the adventure, but for a gravel trail it was great. We averaged almost 11 mph on our hybrids (we're in our 50's) and were very comfortable. We have shock absorbers on the front forks and under the seats and comfortable saddles. I think we ran into one soft spot and a very few bumps on the eastern end. We rode the Mickelson trail in SD a couple of years ago (another really wonderful ride--check it out) and the Katy's surface is better.

Trek Biker from St. Joseph, MO on 6/14/2005 1:47:53 PM:
I'm surprised too....the Katy seems to be pristine compared to other trails that are in a country setting.

I also like paved trails, but it is very difficult to be out in the middle of nowhere and have all the comforts of home. I stay home when that's what I'm after.

From your posts, you had a wonderful time on the Katy. It is a terrific experience and I'm glad that you traveled to our state to enjoy it.

Marylin from Jefferson City on 6/18/2005 2:38:01 AM:
I too agree with the opinion that there is no way this trail will ever be paved, and I don't think it needs to be. Just to be able to get to some of the remote sections of the trail with concrete would be so hard. The trail is normally actually in pretty decent condition - at least the parts that I see the most. If you rode right after some heavy rains or storms there can be washouts - but they do get them fixed. Part of the trail is rough in a few places right now between Jeff City and Hartsburg but it looked like they were working on it - but these were very short areas, over and done with in a few moments. Around 147-148 they have put in a new bridge and it is still a little rough for a short distance there as well but again, I hope they will have this smoothed over soon.