Cyclists are a passionate lot about their cycling. That passion extends to strong opinions about what to call the thing we do on a bicycle. For many, “cyclist” evokes images of a youthful figure, clad in lycra and hunched over handlebars, hell bent for a distant finish line. The fact is that 70% of us don’t fit that image in terms of our relationship with a bicycle.
Don’t Say ‘Cyclists,’ Say ‘People on Bikes’–A group of Seattle-based safer streets advocates
I own a trike which is a low-slung (about 5 inches off the pavement) three-wheeler that makes it easier for a portly 50+ year-old to get some exercise. I could draw no inspiration from a two-wheeled bicycle with a seat that felt like the end of a baseball bat. As it turns out a Trike is great exercise, your legs and lungs give out before your butt, and you feel remarkably youthful cruising around as a Triker. The feeling of youthfulness, at least for me, comes from the illusion of speed created by the riders close proximity to the ground–15 MPH feels like 40 MPH, therefore 58 feels like 35! “Can I buy a trike that gets me even closer to the pavement?”, I asked recently in a trike forum.
Triker or Biker, we have great trail options in Kansas City. Our favorites are in Smithville. There are multiple trails that will soon encircle the lake. My wife and I have seen more than a few midwestern bike trails and it doesn’t get better than the trails on the lake just north of us. I have rounded a corner to see many a rare sight including owls, baby foxes, raccoon gangs, bobcats, coyotes, turkeys and their poults, and an elephant. Try Bonebender or Smoke and Davey. Both trailheads offer great parking and a feeling that you own the trail. In the summer you will pass through active camp grounds and the people are very friendly because they are probably armed. The trail is asphalt.
The Line Creek Trail is a beautiful run that is completely separated, nearly its entire length, from motorized traffic. Cars are not to be heard on much of the trail even though it goes through a well-developed area. It is a wide, smooth, concrete trail. A less obvious detail is that the best place to start your ride is behind Chuck E. Cheese in the large strip center complex between Ambassador and I-29 just off 152 Highway. This is the first time Chuck E. Cheese has been a landmark for bikers. For an adventure, ride through Riverside and its Casinos to the south and you can travel down the levee road to another trail that connects to Highway 9 into Parkville. I will update this if I can find the trail name and location online.
Of course, I need to mention the new trail between Bridge Pointe and Maple Woods Community College. I go to this trail when I have a narrower window of time to exercise. It is short but you can do multiple round trips and you can dart in and out of a couple of extensions or turnouts. One warning: Walkers, walkers with dogs, and kids tend to be somewhat clueless about sharing this trail with bikers. You have texter-walkers and phone talker-walkers. You also have stroller-pusher-walkers with dual-axle buggies and ice chests bigger than couches. Then there are the doggie texter-talker-walkers with three dogs the size of lions, each on 20-foot leashes and two kids saddled up on each dog. Don’t get me started on the elephants. One night, I really thought Noah’s Ark had just pulled into the neighborhood. Don’t get me wrong, the world needs more kids, dogs, big ice chests, and elephants. Just be prepared with a warning bell as you approach these caravans from behind. Also, politely yell, “on your left!” because the main problem with these convoys is that they travel the middle of the trail–the political party equivalents of Independents.
Spring has busted out all over! Summer is almost upon us! If you are a person with a bike, you have a ticket to some KC fun. There are many more options than the three trails I have highlighted.
I would love to hear from my neighbors about these or other KC trails. Maybe we can team up for a ride?