Speaker's Fitness Challenge--Katy Trail Ride concludes

Missouri Speaker of the House Rod Jetton concluded his ride across the Katy Trail Saturday.

Several members and board members of the Missouri Bicycle Federation rode along with Speaker Jetton, who was joined by members of the Missouri House of representatives, including Rep. Mike Sutherland, who was the House Sponsor of the Bicycle Safety Legislation recently passed by the general assembly and now awaiting the governor's signature.

The group also met representatives, senators, and civic leaders of numerous cities across Missouri, including Clinton, Sedalia, Windsor, Pilot Grove, Boonville, Columbia, Jefferson City, Hermann, Washington, Augusta, and St. Charles.

Here is a roundup of press coverage of the ride:
Some news excerpts:

Sedalia
Mr. Jetton and his group will take six days to bike the trail, spending their first night camping in Sedalia's Liberty Park. The trip started as a father-and-son excursion, but when co-workers in Jefferson City said they wanted to join in Mr. Jetton decided to extend a public invitation to highlight the trail as a tourist destination as well as to promote health and safety.

"Fitness is such an important thing," Mr. Jetton said. "Especially with kids. It seems like they drink too many soft drinks, watch too much TV and never get enough exercise."
Columbia
Like many others, Mayor Darwin Hindman will ride only part of the distance. He hopes to meet Jetton and the other cyclists on Wednesday at Hindman Junction, where Columbia’s MKT Trail meets the cross-state Katy Trail, Hindman said.

“I’m very much of a trails advocate,” he said. “I’m very excited about this event.”

Other politicians who plan to ride include state Reps. Shannon Cooper, R-Clinton; Mike Sutherland, R-Warrenton; Jack Jackson, R-Wildwood, and Judy Baker, D-Columbia.

Since Baker has been elected to the House, fitness has remained high on her agenda. She helped start the Healthy Missourians Caucus, a group trying to change the health-care system by focusing on disease prevention, with physical activity as the main focus. She hopes to participate in the Fitness Challenge on Wednesday when the group reaches Columbia.
Associated Press
House Speaker Rod Jetton is performing a grueling balancing act - biking the 225-mile Katy Trail State Park with his son this week while simultaneously supporting both the governor and historic preservationists in a clash over an old Katy Railroad bridge.

Sweating profusely after riding more than 30 miles in 90-degree heat, Jetton said Wednesday that he supports Republican Gov. Matt Blunt's decision to relinquish the state's right to use the Boonville bridge as part of the trail. Union Pacific Railroad Co., which owns the bridge, plans to dismantle it and reuse part of it elsewhere.

But Jetton, R-Marble Hill, said he would prefer a different outcome. . . .

Among those riding with Jetton was Raytown resident Brent Hugh, president of the Missouri Bicycle Federation and a skeptic about whether the railroad bridge can be removed without jeopardizing the trail's legal standing.

"If they're going to remove the bridge, they better be darn well sure the Katy Trail is protected," Hugh said.