facebook twitter pinterest email

Tips for Riding the Katy Trail

Tips for Riding the Katy Trail

The 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!).

  1. The 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.
  2. Test 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.
  3. Bring your cellphone. 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.
  4. Bring 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.
  5. Be 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Be 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.
  8. Bring clothing for warm and cold weather and be prepared to get rained on. 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.
  9. You’ll 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!
  10. If you do any traveling on Amtrak, do not believe them at the office if they tell you there are bike racks on the train!

Now get on your bike and ride!

NEXT –>>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.