Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

Riding the North Shore

Riding to the trailhead my stomach if full of butterflies, I've waited for this for almost 2 years, and I'm finally here seconds away from riding the famous North Shore! . . .

Not too bad starting off, kinda rough with short 1' drops rooty and rocky, the ground is soft and strange compared to the black dirt around KC. . . . So far it's been challenging, but not too scary. We come up on the first major stunt, a small jump/drop and a 4-6" wide skinny that has 3 bends and ends in a downhill log ride…

(A '4-6" wide skinny', in case you're wondering, is a 4- to 6-inch wide board suspended 3- to 4-feet in the air. This one is 30 or 40 feet long and has three curves. It does get a bit wider at the curves. It ends on a log--imagine the trunk of a large pine tree lying on the ground--and you ride the log another 40-50 feet down a hill.)

Click here to read the rest of this excellent story of Patrick McCue's trip to mountain bike Vancouver, including some great photos of the trails, on Freeride
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What trails did for Pittsburgh . . .

Below are the remarks of Tom Murphy, mayor of Pittsburgh, PA, about what multi-use trails and greenspace have done for his community. Parallels with riverfront cities with many industrial "brownfields", like Kansas City and St. Louis, are obvious:

Parks like Central Park, and Shinley Park in Pittsburgh, are parks that faced opposition and confusion as to why we were doing what we were doing. And yet, today who would think to remove those treasures from the public realm? . . .

[T]he recreational benefits [of rail-to-trail projects] are obvious. As recently as today, President Bush spoke to the need to improve the public health of America; the concern that we're getting too heavy and not having enough recreation, particularly for our children. These trails are the perfect solution to that. . . .

The trails provide increasingly alternative means of transportation. We now in Pittsburgh connect the two largest employment centers of Pittsburgh: Oakland, where our university and hospital research take place, and the downtown area of Pittsburgh. And we increasingly see people using trails as a means to commute to work, either by bicycle or walking, because they don't have to compete with traffic.

Green space: These trails also represent important green space corridors. We have seen an enormous amount of wildlife come to the Pittsburgh communities because of the addition of these corridors.

The trails have also stimulated economic revitalization—which I would be happy to show you first-hand if you would come to Pittsburgh, how the trails have acted as a catalyst for significant amounts of development.

In addition, in Pittsburgh we have used the trails both for fiber optic corridors connecting important employment centers, as well as electric line rights-of-way; so that the rights-of-way themselves act as a multi-use vehicle. And we think it is very important.

Let me for a moment talk personally about Pittsburgh. I've been Mayor 9 years. Many people think of Pittsburgh as at one time one of the most environmentally degraded areas of the country, with the steel mills. And now it is one of the environmental success stories of the country, as we have reclaimed thousands of acres of old industrial properties.

When I was growing up in Pittsburgh as a young boy, my mother always told me two things: ''Be home before the street lights come on, and never go near the rivers.'' I'm happy to let you know, Mr. Chairman, we're breaking both of those rules now. We are literally developing hundreds of acres of riverfront property, and at every single foot of that riverfront property is a riverfront trail that is opening up the riverfronts to the public, all on abandoned railroads. And it is exciting to see that use, that the rivers become a place not to avoid, but a place now where people live, work, and play.

And the public parks on the old railroads along those rivers are the essential attraction to literally thousands of new houses we are building in Pittsburgh that add value to that living. . . .

So the economic development—The $4 billion of development we have had invested over the last 8 years have been intimately connected to the trail successes that we've had.

For Mayor Murphy's complete remarks, see the minutes of the congressional hearing on rails-to-trails, June 30th, 2002.
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Riding from Liberty to Excelsior Springs

An hour and forty-five minutes on this late November morning it took me to pedal here to Excelsior Springs from my home in Liberty - up gentle, block-long Natchez Street hill from my house to Southview Drive, turn left past the old Petty farm, now deserted and for sale, the used car lot and the Lutheran Church to the Thomas's house . . .

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this story by Ed Chasteen in the Gladstone Sun News.
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River Des Peres bikeway planning meeting Thursday

According to Bob Foster of the St. Louis Bike Fed:

There will be an open house Thursday, December 5th, 2002, from 5-9 p.m. for a River Des Peres bikeway project at the Buder Library, 4401 Hampton, St. Louis, MO 63109. Phone: (314) 352-2900. According to the library, it is hosted by Parsons, a design firm. The goal is a route from Forest Park to the Mississippi River, following the River Des Peres.

(Visit this page for info about an existing trail on the River Des Peres, part of a web site about St. Louis Bike Trails.)
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Senator Kit Bond to tour Missouri discussing transportation issues

Missouri's Senator Kit Bond will become chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Nuclear Safety when congress re-convenes. He will be in a key position to influence the funding priorities for transportation bills coming down the line, including the TEA-3 re-authorization slated for next year.

Bond's press release says:

Senator Kit Bond will begin the reauthorization of the federal highway bill with a series of meetings around Missouri towards the end of this week. The meetings will provide Bond the opportunity to hear directly from state and local leaders. And they will allow state and local leaders and Bond to begin working closely together on a unified strategy to improve Missouri's transportation infrastructure.
. . .
Bond will meet with state and local leaders in St. Joseph this Thursday and St. Louis and Cape Girardeau this Friday. Additional meetings will be held next week in Joplin, Springfield and Kansas City. Bond will be accompanied by representatives from the Missouri Department of Transportation. While Bond's goal is to increase Missouri's share of federal transportation funds, it is the state's jobs to identify and budget for specific projects.

Note: Here are the specific meeting times, as far as we know. Meeting should be open to the public, although you might call ahead to find out details.
  • Thursday, December 5, 11:30 am, St. Joseph City Council Office 1100
  • Friday, December 6, 12 noon, St. Louis, Comfort Inn Hotel, Page and 270
  • Friday, December 6, Cape Girardeau, evening, details to be announced
  • Kansas City, Springfield and mid-MO to be announced
Along with Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, chairman of the full Environment and Public Works Committee, Bond will help write the law that, in large part, governs how and where tens of billions of federal dollars are spent to improve the nation's highways. The rewriting of this bill occurs only once every six years.

The new law builds upon previous reauthorizations, including the 1992 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and the 1998 Transportation Equity Act, which expires September 30, 2003.

Visit Senator Bond's website for his complete statement.

The News Tribune's report on Bond's meeting in St. Louis.

The KC Star covered Bond's new committee assignment. The good news for Missouri highways, according to the Star, is that Bond has a knack for increasing Missouri's share of funding, for whatever projects he has worked on in the past . . .

If you support funding of cycling and pedestrian accomodations in the new law, it will be well worth your time to write, call, or email Senator Bond periodically over the next several months to let him know of your support.
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13 landowners along the Katy Trail awarded $410,000

The U.S. government must pay $410,000 to 13 landowners whose property was used to build a 225-mile hiking and biking trail in Missouri, a federal court has ruled.

Total awards could reach $10 million by the time the court determines compensation for 285 more landowners with property along the Katy Trail who have claims pending, said Gary Heldt, a spokesman for the landowners.

The state operates and maintains the Katy Trail, which was developed along the abandoned Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad corridor. The federal government is responsible for paying the awards because the trail was built under guidelines of the national Rails to Trails Act, Heldt said. The act allows abandoned railroad property to be turned over to state or local government for use as trails.

An earlier Court of Claims ruling found that landowners were entitled to compensation, because under Missouri law, abandoned railroad easements revert to landowners.

Read the Washington Post for the rest of the story.
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Bicycle activism in N. Carolina--it doesn't get more grassroots than this!

In 1980, Jethro Mann started the Bicycle Lending Library as a way to make sure that every child who wanted one, had a bike to ride.

In Belmont, he's simply known, as "The Bicycle Man."

"I don't know how much I've spent, but I've given away probably $2 million," Mann said.

Do you like this idea? Have any other ideas for getting people out there on two wheels? Leave a comment (click link below) . . .
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Current Earth Riders Trails Association projects

Earth Riders is currently working on a several bike trail projects in the KC area. These include trails near Lake of the Ozarks, Smithville Lake, downtown Independence, Banner Park in Lee's Summit, and Kill Creek Park in Johnson County, KS.

For details, see Dan Kliman's note on MoBikeFed-Chat.
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Mountain biking advocacy, meetings, workshops, rides in Kansas City Dec. 5-8, 2002

Dear Mountain Biker,

This is your reminder that the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew is coming to your area Dec. 5-8. Mark Schmidt and Lora Woolner will be in Kansas City. Here are all the details so you can attend these exciting events.

Kansas City

Meanwhile in Kansas City, Crew members Mark Schmidt and Lora Woolner are planning a good 'ole time with the Earth Riders Trails Association (ERTA). The weekend kicks off with a series of meetings on Thursday and Friday with area land managers. An exciting goal of these meetings is to get more Kansas City parks open to mountain biking. ERTA is offering time and labor to build and maintain singletrack biking and hiking trails.

Meetings? Bore, yawn! The weekend is about more than just meetings. We also have a great line-up of public events.

Friday, Dec. 6, 5:00-8:00pm: IMBA slideshow at Bike Source at 119th & Quivera in Overland Park, KA (http://bikesourceonline.com/site/map.cfm?ID=6). Come enjoy this dynamic and exciting presentation about IMBA with photos from around the world. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

Saturday, Dec. 7, 8:00am-4:30pm: IMBA hosts a Trailbuilding School. This in-depth session features a morning classroom presentation and an afternoon of trailwork. Due to an overwhelming response for this event, we cannot accept any more people. We'll let you know the next time IMBA gives a Trailbuilding School in your area.

Saturday night, 9:00-??: We unwind with a little pub crawling fun. Bring your beater bike for a beer-drinking tour around town. The action will start at Bobby Baker's Lounge at 7418 Wornall Road in Kansas City.

Sunday, Dec. 8, 10:30am: We crawl out of bed for a not-too-early ride at Blue River Parkway (http://home.earthlink.net/~brptrailwatchers/). Meet at the trailhead at 118th & Lydia. For directions, go to http://www.earthriders.org/, click on Trails, then Missouri Trails, then Blue River Parkway.

For more information, contact Ken Miner at kminer@minertech.com.
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Winter cycling . . .

Winter is upon us . . . but that's no reason to stop bicycling! The Bikewinter Project, from Chicago, has a lot of helpful winter riding tips and inspirational stories.

The site has a nice profile of Missouri's own Dan Kliman.

Dan also recommends the IceBike web site.
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