Life On A B-I7

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TransAm Journal - Fri June 16, 2023

Day 38

Raymore MO to Flint Hills Nature Trail KS, MP 20, 63 miles

Yesterday about ten miles outside Clinton I realized the rear tire was low again. It has had a puncture for several hundred miles that sealant just can’t manage. I had new race sealant (thicker compound) put in before I started the Katy Trail but that wasn’t holding either. When I stopped to check the air it was down to 20 lbs. That’s not good. I inflated the tire up to 80 and it immediately went back down to 20. I limped in carefully to Clinton and found the Community Center where I got off the bike to assess the situation.

The options appeared to be 1) patch the tire on the inside, re-inflate and hope for the best. 2) Put in a tube and hope for the best, or 3) find new tires. It so happens I need new tires anyway, This set has about 4,000 miles on them and they are 4 years old. they aren’t going to go much farther. If I were to continue west on the route, there aren’t any bike shops until Wichita, about 250 miles from Clinton. That seems like a poor choice for tires that need replacing. The nearest bike shop that had tires for me was 60 miles north. I wasn’t crazy about adding 120 miles and 3 days to my itinerary (out and back from Clinton). As I was mulling over all the options I was chatting with the (very) nice lady that runs the Clinton Community Center. She was fantastic. She said why don’t you call Greg and he’ll shuttle you up to Raymore to the bike shop. So that’s what I did. Greg said he was leaving in two minutes headed north and he’d pick me up and give me a ride. That’s how I ended up at Dave’s Bicycles in Raymore.

I arrived at Dave’s 15 minutes before closing and Dave and his crew got me all set up with new tires. The best part of all this, besides the help at the Community Center, Greg’s Shuttle Service, and the crew at Dave’s, is I now have a new option available to me for heading west from here! Thank you Dave for the awesome tip about the Flint Hills Nature Trail!

I’ve been writing about the Katy Trail, the longest rail-trail in Missouri (and the U.S.) but the longest rail-trail running east-west in Kansas is 43 miles Southwest of here. It’s the Flint Hills Nature Trail and it runs from Osawatomie KS to Council Grove KS, about 100 miles. It is the longest rail-trail in Kansas and it will be part of the proposed coast-to-coast trail system. I can’t pass up this opportunity. After I reach Council Grove I’ll make my way back to the TransAm Route.

A big shout-out to everyone that helped me yesterday. Great people, great towns. Perhaps leaving a blessing back at the Pour Poet in the morning was a gesture that was returned to me later in the day… you never know…

When I hit the state line there was no sign, so this was my “first step” off the bike in Kansas.