Now that you’re up to speed on the basics of planning your Katy Trail tour, it’s time to get into the details.
One of the most important decisions to make is what bike to ride. Don’t get us wrong, you can ride just about any bike on the Katy. Some are just better than others for a long, comfortable day or week of riding. In the style of David Letterman, we give you...
Tony’s Top 10 Bikes for Fun on the Katy
10 - YOUR TODDLER'S TRICYCLE
We’re pretty sure this goes without saying, but you never know. If you do tackle a section of the Katy on one, we want to see the pics!
9 - UNICYCLE
We have to include this because...well, we needed ten different options for a top ten list and unicycles are uber cool. There, we’ve said it. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we wouldn’t really recommend a unicycle for the Katy Trail. Even though you’ll experience low rolling resistance, the cadence required to do double and triple-digit miles make a unicycle more appropriate for impressing kids around campus or doing tricks at the circus.
8 - BIKE YOU'VE NEVER RIDDEN BEFORE
You may have just gone out and purchased the top-of-the-line bike and are really excited about getting it out on the Katy. We understand. But if you’re planning on using a brand-new bike for a days-long tour, you’re going to be super sore. We recommend getting your new bike out a few times before you commit to a multi-day tour. Trust us, your bum will thank you.
7 - ROAD BIKE
A lot of people ask if they can ride their road bike on the Katy Trail. Although road bikes have less rolling resistance, skinny tires are a bit out of their element when the Katy gets a bit rough. With a road bike, you’ll have more chances of a flat tire or a wipe-out and the more aggressive body position puts a strain on your neck.
6 - MOUNTAIN BIKE
If you’re going to take a short ride on the Katy Trail, a mountain bike would be a fine choice since the fat tires and body position will make for a comfortable ride. If you’re planning on riding some serious miles or a multi-day tour, a mountain bike isn’t your best choice due to the fact that it is heavy and will require more effort. Two-inch wide mountain bike tires are more tire than you will ever need for the Katy unless you are exploring some of the many singletrack trails on the westward end of the trail. For that, we give major kudos for people that tour the Katy on their mountain bike.
4 and 5 - (Tie) CYCLOCROSS BIKE
For athletic riders looking to put down miles quick on the Katy Trail, this type of bike would do it for you. If you’re planning a long but casual ride, we wouldn’t recommend a cyclocross bike because of the stress put on your back and neck.
4 and 5 - (Tie) TOURING BIKE
Built for long rides, touring bikes with durable tires are a very good choice given that you are used to their body positioning.
3 - FITNESS BIKE
This category of bikes is one of the best-selling in the country, with good reason. These bikes do it all well--fitness rides, commuting, riding to the farmers market. They are fast, light, and sporty and can be set up for a comfortable or aggressive body position. If you’re going to use a fitness bike on the Katy Trail, consider what tires you want on your bike; 32mm tires with puncture protection and mild tread are a great choice.
2 and 1 - (Tie) RECUMBENT BIKE - Although not as popular as the other bikes mentioned, this list would not be complete without recumbent bikes. Considering the flat, traffic free and scenic nature of a ride on the Katy, recumbent bikes are a great choice for kicking back, taking your time and enjoying the panoramic views from the comfort of a fully supported backrest. This is like riding a lounge chair through rural Mid-Missouri. As with everything, there is a downside. The weight, cost, and trouble of transporting a recumbent puts this choice out of reach for the practical minded rider. Also, when leaving the trail, you will encounter some hills and automobile traffic when ascending towards some of the wineries.
2 and 1 - (Tie) HYBRID BIKE - We recommend tires ranging from 35mm min to 40mm for the most comfortable ride. Width a 38mm tire, the Jamis Citizen hybrid bikes that the Bike Stop Cafe & Outpost rents are ideal for a comfortable ride on the crushed limestone surface. Medium width seats, upright handlebars, and front suspension allow you to tackle the occasional washboard sections with ease and you can’t beat the upright position for taking in all the breathtaking sights along the Missouri River Valley.
Still not sure? Come by the Bike Stop to test ride or rent the perfect Katy Trail bike. We’ve got dozens of trail-ready bikes, so you’re sure to find one that is just right for you.
You can reserve your bike online or call us at 636-724-9900.
Keep an eye on our website or email newsletter for more tips on planning for the Katy Trail. Remember that we're here year-round to help you with trip planning, gear selection, outfitting, and more. We love to talk about the Katy Trail and riding, so stop in anytime to chat.
Eat well, ride often!