If you’ve not heard of Rails To Trails, it’s the conversion of old railroad passages into multi-use paths for recreation.
The KATY trail is one of these Rails to Trails. Stretching over 200 miles across Missouri along the bank of the Missouri River, it is one of the longer trails out there.
As we were making our way across the US, we stayed a couple nights near Jefferson City, Missouri, (the state capital) so that we could bike a small stretch of the KATY trail.
It’s a pretty tame ride, and we enjoyed our afternoon ride out and back on the trail.
Eight years ago, though, the trail was much less tame. On our bike ride across America, we made it a point to bike most of the length of the KATY trail, visiting the small towns and railroad museum along the path. However, the Missouri River had flooded and turned the crushed limestone trail into mud.
We biked as long as we could on the mud, but eventually Brian, my riding partner, busted his bike. The gravely mud built up thickly on his gear shifter and snapped it off clean. He had to run and carry his bike several miles to a small town where we could camp, and then hitch into Jefferson City the next morning to a bike repair shop.
It’s fun to have my current and past adventures intersect again, this time on the KATY trail. When I biked the KATY years ago as a single man, I’m sure I didn’t consider that a few years down the road I would be biking it again with my wife and two kids on a yearlong tour of the country.
If you want to learn more about Rails To Trails or find one near you, checkout RailsToTrails.org, where they have a map of the 30,000+ trail miles in the states.