Katy Trail Trip Report
The Katy Trail in Missouri is a rail trail that extends for 240 miles of basically uninterrupted car free cycling. For us as a company it has been a bucket list trip because of my wonderful partners name being Katy and it being spelled the same way. Fortunately my Katy is not named after the Kansas, Missouri, Texas railway, or at least as far as I know. On this October adventure we went with the hopes of fall color and craft beer to compliment our ride. We had plenty of craft beer, some of our guests travel with large coolers of craft to compliment our company color for suds along the ride.
On this adventure we had 3 returning guests and a Beer & Bike newbie. Paul joined the crew early by riding in the van with Megan and I from Fort Collins. We met Dave and Kate in Kansas City and drove on to St Charles to our starting point and began the fun.
On the day before our first official ride we stopped at the Trailhead Brewery in St Charles and enjoyed a yummy flight of beer under a many, was it 8, person bike built our of an old Schwinn. This brewery served up some great fish and chips and personally any brewery that combines Beer and Bikes has to be a favorite.
After our brews we checked into our lovely B and B for the night and set out to ride out and back to the beginning of the trail in Machens. With the day 0 ride in the books we took up what has become Beer & Bike tradition of sitting around at the places we stay meeting great people and drinking craft beer. On this night the gentleman that we met was Larry our innkeeper who also is a home brewer! Larry was kind enough to share some of his home brews with us and I have to say it was some of the best beer of the trip! From a roasted pecan porter to a Belgian Triple Larry knocked it out of the park with his brews.
Waking up the next morning we set out along the trail from St Charles. Rack bags stocked with Cold brews we rode along from station town to station town along the Missouri river between bluffs and amongst many other traveling cyclists and day trippers from local towns. The amount of use the Katy Trail receives is amazing. Any community thinking about how much cycling can benefit an area should take a trip along the Katy Trail. A fun surprise of this trip was bumping into one of our guides Nora and her parents riding the trail in the opposite direction of us. What do beer and bike guides do when not working? Go for bike rides and sample some beer! At the end of our first day while sampling a beer at the end of the ride we chatted with locals and helped in looking for a lost pack of little dogs led by a Beagle named Stella, think a bunch of people doing their best Marlon Brando while sampling a cold beer. After a visit to the Augusta Brewery a few of us hung about and watched the Cubs playoff game and sampled some more beers from the cooler.
After breakfast we shuttled by van back to the trailhead, the bridge into Washington is not bike friendly, and set about our way to Hermann. Cycling again between bluffs and along the river this ride was also dotted with Wineries and small unique stops. Much of the Katy trail is the route Lewis and Clark followed so there is a ton of history to be seen. At our small motel in Hermann we relaxed at the Tin Mill brewery which had some great Root Beer but the beer left a little bit to be desired. Dave and I think it was likely a line cleaning issue and I am willing to give it another shot, just not this season. Walking about town we found the Wurst place in town. A German sausage place with really good beer brewed for them and a ton of yummy Brats and snacks. After a few more beers around the fire we walked over to the Fernweh Distillery for some dinner.
Waking up in the morning we were greeted by more nice weather for another day on the trail. Todays ride from Hermann to Jeff City is call and beautiful. It finishes with the real climb of the tour. There is a large bridge that wraps up to the crossing over the river to our B and B. At the B and B we relaxed and looked over the river sampling a variety of beers, playing cribbage and laughing about our fun ride. This was the night we decided to really go for it sampling beers and made a solid dent in the cooler. We had the hotel to ourselves and the left us a bottle of sherry to enjoy after our ride, which we definitely did.
Waking up and riding back to the trailhead to our second longest day of the ride we encountered the most riders of our week and found a great trail side Thai place that was about as close to Thai street food as I have had since visiting Thailand in 2009. Further down the trail in Rocheport we split ways with the ladies heading to a winery overlooking the river and the guys taking up residence on the front porch of our hotel in Booneville to relax and drink some more craft beer. Our dinner at the Hotel Fredrick was the best of the trip with fresh steaks and other yummy bits.
Heading out into the wind we rolled on the second to the last day of the tour. These last two sections of the ride are the most remote with very few stops along the way. This makes for nice quiet riding and calm days, unless of course it is really windy. Our crew rode through the wind and still had a great time. We were greeted in Sedalia by a store that is close to home. The Craft Beer Cellar has a branch here with a few good beers on tap and a really nice bottle shop.
The final morning of the trip our tired crew, 200 miles of riding and imbibing can take a toll on the strongest of us, we awoke to rain and soft trails. It was often like riding on a flat tire or in quicksand at the beginning. But with the help of some trail donuts from Happy Donuts we were able to carry through and the day cleared up and the trail began to dry out. All and all it was also a great day.
In the end I would say the Katy trail is a great trip for anyone wanting safe car free cycling and a nice chance to relax. We have a couple trips planned for the trail in 2018 and would love for you to join us. Cheers, Bob