Riders bike across Missouri on Katy Trail Ride

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SEDALIA - About 350 cyclists are making their way across the state of Missouri on the Katy Trail as part of the 15th annual Katy Trail Ride.

The cyclists started Monday in Clinton, Missouri, and will be making their way about 230 miles to St. Charles.

Bicyclists stayed in Sedalia Monday night and left for Boonville Tuesday morning.

Katy Trail Coordinator Dawn Fredrickson said the ride is great for all ages.

"This is what's so great about this ride, is that it's all the way from the youngest at 7 to the oldest at 86," she said. "So it can be a challenging ride, but it's also a really great ride for people that may not have a whole lot of experience riding the trail."

Fredrickson said the cyclists usually camp in tents overnight, but some choose to stay in hotels.

She said the staff fully support the ride by hauling the bicyclists' baggage every day, providing breakfast and dinner at each camping location and having a shower truck. So all the riders have to worry about is biking.

Robert Mather, from Olathe, Kansas, said this is his sixth time doing the ride. He has done it with his daughter Jessica for four years.

Mather said he enjoys meeting people along the trail.

"The camaraderie, all the people you meet out here, you see the same people over and over every year," he said. "So it's just nice to come back and see them and ride with them."

Jessica Mather agreed and said she wants to continue to keep doing the ride.

"I like doing it," she said. "It's fun to come back and this is, like, kind of like a reunion for our group. So it's fun to come back."

Fredrickson said the bike ride is popular around the country.

"We have 29 states represented and then we have some folks from Canada, too," she said. "And so we're pretty excited about that because we feel like we're drawing people from other states to experience our beautiful state."

Fredrickson said the ride usually alternates direction from year to year.

"This year we're heading west to east, going from Clinton to St. Charles," she said. "And in theory, this is the most popular direction because the trail kind of goes downhill and usually the prevailing wind is behind you pushing you along so you have a tailwind."

She said the ride filled up in one day.

Even though the ride happens every year, Fredrickson said the staff tries to switch up the campsites, so they can highlight different Missouri communities.

Here is the schedule for the ride this year:

June 22 - Clinton to Sedalia - about 39 miles

June 23 - Sedalia to Boonville - about 37 miles

June 24 - Boonville to Mokane - about 69 miles

June 25 - Mokane to Marthasville - about 49 miles

June 26 - Marthasville to St. Charles - about 38 miles

Pictures and information from each day's ride will be posted on the Katy Trail State Park's Facebook page.