FOR RIDING THE KATY
Katy Trail is one of the easiest introductions to touring. You can
get a little taste without two of the biggest hassles of bicycle touring
-- car traffic and big hills -- but still experience an intense week
of camping and pedaling. Our Katy Trail expedition was a great test
of our gear and our touring planning and we learned a lot. I encourage
you to try it yourself! If you're considering it, here are some things
we've learned to help make your Katy Trail adventure successful (and
hopefully avoid some of the mistakes we made!).
best place to start your planning is at www.bikekatytrail.com.
This is a fantastic website where you'll find all sorts of helpful
information. Adjustable mileage charts show you distances between
towns starting from any location on the trail. All services close
to the trail are listed, often with reviews left by people who've
ridden the trail recently. See other links to helpful websites HERE.
your gear. If you'll be camping during your trip, be sure to
set up your tent and preferably rain test it before you begin. It
would be a nasty surprise to find yourselves with tent problems
somewhere in the middle of nowhere late at night. It's also a good
idea to test your campstove.
Maybe it's "cheating" a bit if you're trying to get back
to nature. But we were very fortunate to have our cellphone with
us when we missed the Katy Roundhouse after nightfall. I was very
surprised how often I had a signal out in the remotest countryside.
plenty of water and food to snack on. There
are some very remote sections of the trail where you will be riding
for hours without any services.
realistic about your daily distance for your itinerary.
We found that 40-45 miles a day is the perfect distance for us.
Anything over 50 miles put us in a "just cover the distance"
mode and kept us from really enjoying the ride. Our 81 mile day
was excruciating at the end of the day. Some people like to ride
further and some people should plan on even less miles. It depends
upon how much training you have or how much you usually ride. Don't
forget to factor in the extra weight of carrying your gear and the
extra drag of the Katy Trail unpaved surface.
Be flexible. When we didn't make our intended distance the
first day, we should have changed our destination for the second
day instead of trying to make up the lost distance all in one day.
prepared for bicycle malfunctions. Flat tires are the usual
culprit so at the very least, bring a couple extra tubes and a patch
kit. We didn't have any flats but we helped a guy repair his. If
you get a flat in some of the more remote areas of the trail, you'll
have a mighty good long walk ahead of you.
clothing for warm and cold weather and be prepared to get rained
If you end up riding the trail in the rain, you're going to get
muddy. I wish I would have covered up the gear on the back of my
bike with a plastic bag. It would have made cleanup a lot easier.
have a lot more fun if you relax, enjoy the people you meet and expect
to get a bit grungy. You'll be traveling through rural areas and
the way of life out there is pretty laid back and easy going. The
people are usually warm and genuine but they don't have much patience
for stuffy whiney city folks. I get kinda' tired of seeing people
leave bad reviews for lodging places along the trail because they're
expecting some sort of frilly foofoo doily places. CHILL!
you do any traveling on Amtrak, do not believe them at the office
if they tell you there are bike racks on the train!