My brother and I decided, this would be the year to do the Katy trail. We had both bought Vision recumbent bicycles in the fall of 1996 and had ridden them far enough to feel at home on them.
The Katy Trail is a linear park on the roadbed of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MK&T) railroad.
The Katy runs from St. Charles, on the east side of Missouri, to Sedalia on the west. About 200 miles of well maintained limestone surfaced trail. I believe it could be ridden on almost any kind of bike, even skinny tired road bikes. Of course, most of the people we met were on mountain bikes.
I had ridden part of the trail on earlier occasions, all on the eastern end of the trail. This time I would start at Sedalia and ride the entire trail. This was in the spring of 1997 and the weather decided to make a wimp of me. All I can say is it rained, lots, and was cold to boot. That is probably why Darrell, (my brother) sitting next to the Clifton City sign looks unhappy. He said the water was running down the back of his neck.
It was so cold, the goose bumps on my legs were getting caught in the chain. I was wearing Lycra shorts. Darrell was smart enough to wear a pair of Levis. I sent my wife, (support driver and logistics) to find me a pair of sweat pants.
This is the trail as it passes through Pilot Grove, where we stopped for a soda from a sidewalk machine, and were inspected by the bystanders as if we were aliens or something. Recumbent bike riders get used to that after a while, or they quit riding recumbents. You can't get away from the attention. Luckily, most are just interested in the bikes and want to ask questions. The kids just say, "Cool bike mister". Two followed us from the soda machine, back across the street, through a parking lot and to the trail, asking questions the whole way. "Where ja get it? Are they expensive? How much do they cost? Are they hard to ride. Can I ride it?" These questions need translation, "Where can I get one? Can I talk Mom and Dad into buying me one? Are you going to let me ride it?" I always answer truthfully and explain as best I can, and no, he couldn't ride it. His feet wouldn't reach the pedals.
There was flooding in the area and at times both sides of the trail were lakes of water extending for miles. Between Sedalia and Booneville, we saw about five people, which says something about our intelligence. At the places the trail crossed a bridge, the volume of water (and sound) was truly awesome and just a little frightening. Hmm, I wonder what would happen if this bridge should wash away just as I am crossing it?
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