Over the last couple of months, I’ve started replacing my car trips with bicycle trips. Grocery store, work, and even dates often now take place on my bike. Bicycle to the grocery store? Bicycle to work? You must think I’m crazy. I know sometimes my co-workers think I am. But when you stop to think about it for a minute, the benefits become clear: First, it’s cheap! With gasoline in the $2.50 range, even short trips in a car start to stretch the budget. Second, it’s fun and relaxing! I love the challenge of making it up a hill and the exhilaration of speeding down the other side.
Summer is almost here, and thoughts of vacations are starting to enter our minds. The rising gas prices are a great concern to everyone and can affect the family vacation plans. Our family has taken up recreational bike riding because it is fun and good exercise. Most everyone in the family can participate in this activity. Last October, my husband and I rode the Katy Trail from Sedalia, MO to Clinton, MO (a 70 mile trip). This summer, we hope to go to the western end of the trail.
An interesting trail for hiking or biking is the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is a state park which originates in St. Charles, MO and ends in Clinton, MO. The trail follows the Missouri River for most of its route. It is made of fine crushed limestone, which makes for easy biking or hiking. Also, it is flat and only 225 miles long. The Katy was built on the former corridor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT or "Katy") Railroad.
Not being from around here, I learn fun new facts about Kansas City and the surrounding area just about every day from my co-workers and/or library customers here at the Blue Ridge Branch. For instance, I suspect many of you have heard of the Katy Trail. Me? Not so much. How have I been here three years now and not heard of this neat trip idea?
Yes, I rode a bicycle around the neighborhood when I was 10, but I have a confession to make. While I hit the trails on a regular basis these days, it's a love that was only re-ignited 3 years ago. After saving up for a while, I decided to take a vacation to Denmark in 2009. Why Denmark? Why not?
One way of working out that I truly enjoy is riding my bike. Cycling is one of the easiest ways to exercise, and I don’t think of it as exercise. I don’t intend to be a marathon cyclist. I just ride for fun. You can ride a bike almost anywhere without spending a fortune. Once you have learned to ride a bike, you don’t forget.
I often find myself wishing that I could bike to work. And no, I’m not talking about hopping on a Harley and buzzing around at 70 miles an hour. I am a librarian after all, and I’d much rather get out my banana-seated, basket-sporting Huffy bicycle and pedal to work. Unfortunately, 12 miles is a little too far for these legs to travel on a bike. Maybe the coffee shop is more doable!
The sun is out. The rain is stopping. It’s time to pedal. The hardcore riders may pedal all year round, but now it is the season for anybody that likes to ride their bike. One, two, three, or four wheels; one speed to 27; on the pavement or in the dirt; the bicycle is an incredible way to enjoy warm days.
This summer, the City of Kansas City is beginning a plan update of Bike KC. The Bike KC plan is a 600 mile network of bicycle facilities located on both existing and future city streets. The first meeting in the plan update process, and the only one north of the river, will be held at the North Oak Branch of Mid-Continent Public Library on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The Kansas City Public Works Department will give presentations at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.