Katy Trail End to End on a Tandem
Why A Tandem?
There is a funny fact about Tandem Bikes with Couples, they are either IN or OUT! There is a saying about Marriages and Tandems Bikes (a few sayings really) "Where ever your Marriage is going, a Tandem Bike will get it there faster."
Deron and I happen to be a couple that LOVES our Tandem Bicycles. We really enjoy riding together. He's the Captain, I am the Stoker. It works for us. We can, together, really get that Tandem rolling along!
And. When the hills or even the Trails get long, you could even hear us singing, "Daisy, Daisy.....On A Bicycle Built For Two!" Or one of the other Tandem Bike songs we now know. We like to keep the fun in it....when one of us starts singing the other will join in....usually with a smile.
So 'Why a Tandem?'. We have have many many miles on the Katy Trail and we have both ridden it in full, end to end, in both directions, so whats next? The Tandem.
This is an older photo, I'll replace it very soon.
End to End, Section by Section, Both Directions
Right now Deron nor I can not just take off for a week and go ride the Katy starting at one end and ending at the other. We have found however, that we can, as we did the Katy Trail last year on our 29ers, and we had done the Mickelson Trail in SD, we can do the Trail, a little at a time.
If we again make Day Trips out of Trail Heads, we will, again, have ridden the whole Trail, each direction, Section of the Trail, by Section. That is. Take a day, drive to a Trail Head, ride out 15 - 25 miles to another Trail Head, have lunch/dinner, then ride back. Then on the Next Day Trip, do the same to a different Trail Head or Section.
IF YOU LIVE IN MO or surrounding State, riding the Katy Trail Section by Section has so many advantages!:
Choose the Dates you are ABLE to go. Most of us work, and can not always get off for 5 - 10 days, but getting a Week End to go ride is much easier. You can ride a Section then come back for another Section at a later time.
It's' also lot of fun for a Day Trip, and not worry about Transportation to or Shuttle to one end then be picked up at the other. Not to mention, money saved. Yes. You have travel. But. You will not have as many overnight stays or meals. We usually eat Breakfast at home, pack something for the Trail, either eat out after our ride, or come on home and eat. YES! The food out there on the Trail is fantastic....and very pricey, at least by our standards.
If you are injured or happen to become ill, the entire trip is not ruined if you need to abort the ride.
By doing Day or two Day Trips you might find you have more time to enjoy the Trail and the Towns along it, rather then hurrying along to make sure you get your "fill in the days mileage", or have to be in a town to meet your group at a certain time for lunch or whatever planned.
Some people might not be physically able to ride the Katy Trail end to end in one trip. By breaking it down, it may work for more people to be able to see the entire Trail by riding a Bicycle.
Another LARGE advantage to doing the Trail like this is you not only get to pick your days, you can pick your weather.....this is MO and you still have to keep your eye on the weather for changes, but for the most part, you can avoid bad weather.
With Katy (our Yorkshire Terrier) In Tow
I had been wanting a little dog again, my constant companion, small Cocker Spaniel, died a couple years back. This time, I wanted a dog small enough, make that TINY enough, to ride inside a Bicycle Basket. After a LOT of research, we brought Katy, our Yorkie, home and not long after, she started riding in the basket and she LOVES it!
Yes. She is named after the Trail. At 6 months old, she already had almost 100 miles riding on that Trail.
Traveling and riding the Katy Trail with a dog should be interesting. Just a short list of what we will be taking with us for Katy:
Bicycle Basket. I love the one we have. It is very secure to the Bike, removes easily, it has a some what mesh top to protect her, that also gives a little bit of shade. It also keeps others from reaching for her.
Leash. I would take and use one anyway, but it is the Law for Dogs to be Leashed while on the Katy Trail.
Water. A must. We will also take her Collapsible Bowls with us.
Food. Of course. Also her favorite Treats.
Proof Of Vet Care and Shot Records.
Preparing for the Trip(s)
Working On Miles Under Us
Deron and I ride over 2000 miles per year, or we have for the last few years anyway. But. It is still important, when getting ready for a long Touring Ride, to ride longer miles in preparation. And. To ride the bike that you/we will be riding on that/those longer rides. For us. Getting out and putting miles on the Cannondale Tandem.
This also allows for making changes on seats or such, as well as deciding on the type and size Bags a person will add for trips.
Setting up 'Dashboards' or 'Cockpits', that is handlebars facing the riders, is also very important. Deron likes to mount his phone front and center. We both, on our other bikes, have cylinder type bags with clear plastic to slide maps and such under. We will each have those on the Tandem also. With the small cylinders, other items and or bags can still hang out the front, on the far side of the rider.
I really like an odometer. I have one on each of my bicycles. An odometer pushes me on, not only to more miles, but also on speed. For me, it's like a Work Out Coach.
Riding those miles before the trip can work out problems before your on the trip and it is too late, or you are saying...."I wish I would have....".
Tandem Tune Up, New Tires, New Tubes
Deron usually keeps our bicycles in pretty good shape. But for the miles we will be putting on our Tandem, it's a really good idea to give it a complete Tune Up and change out the Tires.
If you can not do your own Bike Tune Ups, I really recommend that you take yours to 'the shop' and have at least the spokes and brakes checked. Brakes on a Tandem work twice as hard as brakes on a single bike. When you add a load, your packs and such, your putting even more work onto each of your tires brakes.
Always carry tire changing tubes and tools. I can not even remember how many times Deron has 'fixed flats' for people out on Katy Trail. MANY! It's a very long walk between Trail Heads.
TANDEM TUNE UP
Deron does our Bike Work here. Thank Goodness he can do it all too. If you are going to attempt this, buy the correct, and well made, Tools.
A well turned up bike not only raises your confidence as you leave the Trailheads, it not only can make your bike safer for the ride, it might just save you aggravation, or worse a break down on the Trail.
more to come
NEW TIRES, NEW TUBES
Yes. You can stick any old tires and tubes on your Tandem and go. And for most people riding on pavement not far from home, they may be just fine.
But if you are planning a Trip, whether on pavement, gravel, or Trail, you should put the best Tires on your bike as you can afford. And carry extra tubes.
Panniers ~ Bags ~ Baskets
This is a bit harder than you might think. For Deron and I, riding Section by Section, we will not carry much more than enough items for overnight...as well as the stuff we carry on most trips; tubes, tools, raincoats, bandana and everything else in our small bags.
But not only, when riding a Tandem, do the bags need to go on right, they need to be balanced within or on the bike.
Our Tandem has TWO chains. Neither has a chain guard. Just sticking a Frame Bag into the Down Tubes would not work. If the, and most do, items settle in the bag, there is a very good chance of the bag rubbing on not one side, but both, on each of the chains.
much more to come
We have a lot of other Bicycle Information on our Does My Butt Look Big In The Saddle website. There is information there on how we took a Garage Sale Bike Children's Trailer, we bought for a Song, and revamped it for Cargo.
Deron even pulled our GSD pup for miles and miles inside the Trailer.
One thing about a Cyclist Trailer for long trips, you will tend to bring more along with you than you really need. The Trailer can become a literal 'drag'. And your bicycle will handle different pulling a Trailer.
If you do chose to pull a Trailer be sure to pack tubes for the smaller tires. You will probably need them. Try not to overload the Trailer, not just because it will be heavier, but because it will be harder on the Trailers Tires and Wheels.
When pulling a Bikepacking Trailer on Katy Trail remember that the wheels are wider than your bicycle. Keep in mind where your Trailer Tires are rolling. If your tire rides off the trail you are more likely to have flat tires due to thorns and stickers.
Like riding on a Tandem, a Bike Trailer will make your 'rig' longer. You will need a bit more room for turning, and a bit more braking time when stopping.
Take any extra tools you may need for Trailer Repairs as well as Tie Downs. You do not want your whole load bouncing around for 240 or more.
Deron and I enjoy the outdoors. We used to Winter Camp, Backpack with all sorts of animals, we met when we were Racing Sled Dogs. I used to make all of our outdoor equipment. Including and not limited to, Bikepacking Gear. I have some patterns and ideas on our website, DoesMyButtLookBigInTheSaddle.com
What you carry is up to you. What each person needs to Bikepack can be very different.
One thing is for sure, if you are Camping, Of Course! you will need to carry more. You will also need some 'practice rides' with all your gear, and unloading and loading practice, before a 5 or more days on the Trail. We have seen an awful lot of folks think 'Bikepacking is the way to go'.....only to find out that the weight and sway of their loaded bikes is far more than they can handle.
Also. Riding bicycles for days on long Trails, then camping, can really be too hard on some. It is not that they are weak. It's just different for each person. Age is also a factor.
Order of Trail Heads
If you follow this page and notice that Trail Heads are being filled in but not in the order of one end to another, that is because we might not want to do them in order. We might want to ride further, or less, on a certain day. We might have other business in the area of riding on that day. As far as the Herman Area, it might be done in Oct. for all the Deals and Good Octoberfest Foods offered. The same is true of other areas, they might have something going on in the towns so we choose to ride them at that time. Or, it could be, weather. While there might be Sunshine in one area of the Katy Trail, their could be Thunderstorms and Tornado Warnings on another area, at the same time.
Below are the list of Trail Heads. We will post dates we were there and what we found open and closed on those dates. One thing we sure learned riding the Katy Trail is that just because it says on the Map (found at the Trail Heads) there are things available at the Trail Heads....they might not be, or to reach them you need to ride another several miles into town.
Information Such as:
It is a loooong NOT so flat ride between Sedalia and Pilot Grove, and we can not tell you how many people did not prepare for that ride, thinking they could 'refuel' in Clifton City....there is NOT even Water (at the present time) there.
Another example is North Jefferson, listed as having Food/Groceries/and Camping. Most people are surprised, we were, at how much further you actually have to ride your bikes off the trail to find such things.
We ride this trail often, from our home and locally, several times per week, every week. But we will, for the sake of this page, only list the information here, on this page, as we ride our Tandems on the upcoming Day Trips we are planning for our End to End.
WHAT YOU MIGHT CARRY ON YOUR KATY TRAIL TRIP
It will, of course, depend on how far you are riding. For example, you won't need as much for a One Day Ride, as you will for a Five Day Ride. But you should ALWAYS CARRY, take with you that is some items:
Good Humor ~ Many times, especially on very hot or very rainy days, Your Good Humor are what you will need the most of!
Water ~ More than you think you will need. Water is good for far more than drinking, such as cooling off, or a wound.
Flat Tire Repair Kits ~ Whatever you carry, Carry. Tools, Tubes, Pump, whatever YOU need to fix your flat tires on your bike. You may or may not run into other people that will help you with this.
Cell Phone Recharger ~ THIS is one thing that many people forget.
Snacks ~ It amazes us how few areas have food along the way. There is a Cafe in Pilot Grove, but like so many along the way, it never seems to be open. Be Prepared.
First Aid Kit ~ Most people do not carry these. They are usually the ones that need them.
Bandana ~ There are so many uses for a Bandana. We always carry several. I always make sure I have a CLEAN fresh one with us. More than once I have given them away to injured people along the trail. For BikePacker, a Bandana is a MUST x 3. Please see our 101 Uses For A Bandana page here on this site.
We tie a Brightly Colored Bandana to the back of our Camelbaks so that it flaps around as we ride. There are many Detours and you will be riding on the Road, if not Highway. This brightly colored flap of color might just save your life, distracted drivers might just look up and see you if that flap catches their eyes....off their phones! Wearing all black, as we see so many folks do, really blends the cyclist into the pavement. Drivers really don't see them until they are right up on them.
Rain Jacket ~ THIS is MO. Even when not in the forecast, a Thunder Storm can pop up any day. Sometimes they come in fast and hard.
For overnight Stays in Hotels....we LOVE a Hot Tub. We carry our Swimsuits with us. We also carry a change of clothing. And FLIP FLOPS! Walking around in sweaty Bike Shoes is not fun after a full day on the Trail in them.
We also carry copied ID in our bags. I leave my purse at home. I am not driving, so I do not bring my actual Drivers License, I carry a copy of it.
$20 or more ($100 is better) tucked into a hiding place in your bag. This is 'stash cash' and not counted in on your Trip Money. You never know when it might come in handy.
We carry a small Bible.
Extra set of Bicycle Gloves, I carry both long and short fingered padded Gloves.
Hand Sanitizer. Not only great for when stopping to eat a picnic lunch, but GREAT after changing a flat tire. There may be other times you reach for it too.
Wet Wipes. You don't need a whole pack, just fold a few a put them into a zip lock bag. You never know what all these might be used for....when you've got to go, you've got to go.
Keys. Be sure to take your house and car keys with you. Unless you have made other arrangements in advance.
more to come
Food AND Water
As I said before; Carry MORE Water than you think you will need. In some areas there is not Water at the Trail Heads. For Example, between Sedalia and Pilot Grove, it is a long way, not flat, and NO WHERE to get water. Deron and I ride between Boonville and Pilot Grove, usually at least 3 times per week. We run into 'Ride Thru' folks that thought they could get Water in Clifton City, and the poor folks were so dehydrated by the time they got to the next city, they could barely talk. I am neither making this up, nor exaggerating.
Water is also good for so much more than just Drinking and Staying Hydrated. In the hot weather wet down a Bandana and cool your neck. If you carry a patch kit rather than a tube for a flat tire, you might use the water to find your puncture for repair.
As far as food, I highly recommend you carry at least a Snack of some sort. A bag of Trail Mix is light weight and might just save you from more than hunger.
Your body is going to be working hard riding the Katy Trail. It gets hot and humid in the Summer and Cold and many times Windy in the Winter. Those factors alone can over work a person riding for hours on end. Not having water and food with you can mean the difference of getting to the next Trail Head or calling a ride, sometimes that ride might be an Ambulance.
Our Favorite Areas
Above and Beyond
I have to say, Katy Trail is a Jeweled State Treasure. I can see why it is rated #1 of Rails to Trails in the Nation. I understand why folks from out of the area, out of the Country, come to ride this GREAT TRAIL!
Deron and I have ridden other Rails to Trails and since we were born and raised in St. Louis county, and have used the Katy since it first opened, we always compare other Rails to Trails to it. Using Katy Trail as the 'Bench Mark'.
There is so much to write here, I am just going to hit a few highlights.
We have found, and this from riding on other Trails other than MO, MO is one of, if not THE, friendliest. People smile and speak on the Katy Trail. Often at Trailheads, long time friendships are made.
more to come
We LOVE the Bike Work Stations that are now at Many of the Trailheads now. We have used them more than once. And we see them being used very often! What a blessing they are when out riding and a problem comes up.
Our Katy Trail Pet Peaves
Deron and I have ridden the Trail, in every area, and in many areas, many many times. So when we write these Pet Peaves, it is not from a 'one time visit' point of view. We live in the Boonville area now, but used to ride and hike the Weldon Springs area, that is St. Charles to Dutzow, every week end as well as many week days to boot.
Deron and I are on the Katy Trail at LEAST Four Times a week EVERY week....we also Snow Shoe and Ski in the Winter on the Trail.
We often take our bicycle to other areas of the Trail when we are on our way to St. Louis or just for a Day Trip and ride different parts of the Trail.
I think for both of us one of the things that bugs us the most is the Augusta Out House. Not only is it used by Trail Riders, and a HECK of a lot of
Trail Riders every week end; BUT! it is also used for the Beer House/Restaurant Customers. That Out House STINKS! and is usually a mess! Not only does Augusta need another Out House at that location just for the Trail Riders, I do not think that a place of business, perhaps 2 with the Bike Shop there, should not have their own Toilets for their customers. Further, there is no running Water to wash hands with there either...and off people go to eat at that place. Yummmmm!
The Clifton City Trail Head does NOT have Water, at all. With the Sedalia Detour, that should have been finished a couple of years ago, it is OVER 25 miles between Water refills. I can not even tell you HOW MANY Cyclists we have met on the Trail, usually near Pilot Grove, Dehydrated. Some, near health problems! Clifton City is also THE HILLIEST areas on the Trail, that too, people are not expecting and need to drink more of their water.
more to come
The contents of this page for Katy Trail End to End on a Tandem will be under construction for a while. Please check back often.
-- The MKT Farmhouse Team
Thu, 23 Apr 2020 13:54:09 -0400