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Bike Cleveland (BikeCLE) is a 501(c)(3) advocacy non-profit organization for people on bikes in the Greater Cleveland area. Representing over 1000 dues paying members and more than 32 local businesses, they make sure that any time the conversation turns to transportation — that people on bikes are being considered alongside people in cars. They work to improve policy, infrastructure, and legislation to help make our roads places that serve people and communities, not just traffic.
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The Long Drive to Clinton, Missouri
The trip began with my son Justin (Thank you Justin) getting up early and driving me to pick up my rental car. I asked for an SUV and received a Ford Expedition. It was a little bigger than I thought, but ended up being a very comfortable 11 hour ride. It was all black and had Virginia plates. I screamed law enforcement vehicle all the way. The bike and my luggage fit with room to spare. In fact, I could have fit a small peloton in along with my stuff
I arrived in Clinton and checked into the Hampton Inn. The hotel is about 3 miles from the trail head and is situated near a few shopping places in case I needed to pick up something I forgot. They were super nice at the hotel and allowed me to take the bike to the room. This allowed me to return the rental car and get a ride back without worrying about the bike. I have to admit, it felt a little strange after the rental return, knowing I was 800 miles away from home with only a bike to get there!
This part of Missouri has seen daily temperatures in the low to mid 90’s for over three weeks. Coupled with the high humidity I was planning for a hot ride. I arrived just as a front came through. It rained for a bit but afterwards the temperature and humidity dropped considerably.
The Clinton Trailhead and the Katy Trail
I started off from the Hotel with temps in the upper 40’s. That’s a bit cool, but it warmed as the day progressed. I’m usually not that lucky with the weather. I proceeded along a few back roads and headed towards the Clinton trailhead. It’s about 3 miles to the trail and it was mostly flat except for the last 1/2 mile which involved a little climb. The actual trail starts right off of East Sedalia Ave. but the trailhead is about an 1/8 of a mile further down the trail. It was a great sight to see the trail for the first time weaving out into the distance.
Clinton to Sedalia
My journey today would take me from Clinton to Sedalia. The trail heads northeast out of Clinton and runs through rural farming areas for over 40 miles. As stated before, the weather turned out to be near perfect except for a 10-15 mph headwind. You would think the prevailing wind would be from the west but today we were just on the other side of the front and the wind was literally head on.
At the start the trail was fairly flat but soon gave way to a few long and gradual climbs. There was nothing beyond a 2% grade but coupled with the wind, you knew you were climbing. My Garmin unit told me I had climbed a total of over 800 feet through the course of the day.
The first part of the trail was fairly open and followed a highway for about 5 miles. We veered away from the highway and headed through a number of open fields. The open fields soon turned into tree covered “tunnels” as I made my way across the farm land.
I passed through Calhoun, Missouri as well as Windsor. I stopped for a while in Windsor and had a snack. The main trailheads were well kept and included a fixed restroom or two. Each of the trailheads had a display board with historical information about the area. I’m such a sucker for this stuff so I probably spent a little more time than the normal traveler reading about local industry and agriculture.
Just beyond Windsor the trail opened up a bit and instead of tall trees on either side, it was more like high brush. This let the sun shine through and warmed things up a bit. This part of the trail had a good long gradual climb which led to the highest elevation in the trail. It was marked with a small sign which of course I had to photograph.
As I progressed onward I passed through a couple of more small farming towns and made my way to Sedalia. Sedalia was a major railroad station throughout much of it’s history (yes, I read this on the trail) and the trailhead has a railroad yard theme. I turned offf the trail and headed to downtown Sedalia.
Noble Invention Tours booked my night at the Hotel Bothwell. The hotel was built in 1927 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I was very impressed when I pulled up and a hotel employee welcomed me, opened the door and invited me in bike and all. She told me it would be OK to bring the bike to the room and told me there was a bike washing station on the side of the building. The hotel has a bar and restaurant so I won’t have to leave the premises. There was 1920’s themed wedding going on when I arrived.
All in all in was a good first day. The weather was almost perfect (a tail wind would have made it perfect) and the climbs, although a bit long were not really that bad. Sedalia looks like a great place to spend the night and I’m looking forward to another great Day 2.
Another big shout out to Noble Invention for helping me with the tour if you are even slightly thinking about something like this, you really should contact them
I’ll do a little video montage each day.... here Is the first one. It starts out on the street getting to the trail and ends at the hotel in Sedalia 42 miles in a little over 4 minutes