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Lawrence, Kansas to Clinton, Missouri

September 20th – September 22nd

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My cross-country cycling trip officially began September 20th at 9 A.M. when I started pedaling from my sister’s house in Lawrence to the south. I had been planning and preparing for this trip for five months and was ecstatic it was here, but still hadn’t completely wrapped my mind around what was ahead. Ready or not….

The first hurdle to get past en route to the Katy Trail was covering the 130 road miles between Lawrence and Clinton where the trail begins. I would travel south on Highway 59 to Ottawa, east on 68 through Paola and Louisburg until Highway 7 in Missouri, where I’d ride southeast to Clinton. I planned three days to make the trip.

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Typical Midwestern sights made for a very calming and relaxing ride to Ottawa and Paola, despite a few stretches with narrow shoulders and inadvertently ending up on the interstate outside Ottawa….Oops.

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I camped at Lake Miola in Paola at the end of day one. 65 miles total on the first day. Not bad for a rookie! Despite the threatening clouds, I stayed dry, too.

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I reached Missouri on day two after 20 miles of riding. Steady climbs up hills and persistent wind made the riding more difficult than expected, but my training was certainly paying off.

In order to pass the time while riding during monotonous stretches, I played “dodge the roadkill” while biking down Highway 68 and 7. An amazing number of possums, raccoons, snakes, turtles, and birds had met their maker at the hands of motorists. Gotta keep the tires as clean as possible (while avoiding swerving into traffic, of course)!

I arrived in Garden City, Missouri around 3 P.M. and was directed to the city lake two miles outside of town by the local sheriff. I continue to find local law enforcement officials extremely helpful and friendly. And it was free….

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The sunrise the following morning over the lake I camped next to was a great sight to start the day. I struck out for Clinton early and covered the first 20 miles with ease.

Seven miles outside of Clinton, my bike suddenly felt like it had shocks. The front tire was nearly empty of air. First bike trouble of the trip! It may have taken longer than an experienced rider, but I successfully fixed the front flat, or so I thought (more on that later). I continued the ride to Clinton.

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I briefly explored Clinton and the biggest town square in Missouri. Two-and-a-half days and 130 miles after leaving Lawrence, I was ready to start biking the Katy.

Stay tuned for pictures and experiences on the trail!

Ride on!

Ben

Lawrence to St. Louis Preparations

My bike is ready for the road, panniers are packed to the brim, and I’m as prepared as I can be for the first leg of my cycling trip from Lawrence, Kansas to St. Louis, Missouri on September 20th.

This is my first cross-country bike trip (and first blog post), and although I’m nervous, I can hardly contain my excitement. I have no idea what the road will hold for me during the initial 360 miles and after.

I feel more prepared after taking an overnight ride with a fully loaded bike south from Colorado Springs to Canon City. This trip took about 9 hours of riding while covering 100 miles in two days. Hills are difficult to climb with a full load, but doable with a great deal of patience.

In addition to the 100 mile two day ride, I’ve been completing training rides in town (anywhere from 100-120 miles per week), lifting at the YMCA four to five times per week, and doing as much research as possible to enhance my maintenance abilities and learn as much as possible about touring.

Needless to say, I won’t fully appreciate the physical, mental, and mechanical challenges this trip will bring until I throw myself into it, but I’m excited for the experience and adventure ahead.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with you all, and hope that it may convince some people to step outside of their comfort zone and try something completely new, in whatever capacity that may be.

Until next time,
Ben