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Darrell from Jefferson City, MO. on 12/7/2011 10:16:22 PM:
From what I am reading on the trail conditions for the past months of 2011, the trail is a bit rough. Is that a normal and ongoing condition?

The reason I ask, it sound like I would want to ride my loaded hybrid and not the touring bike. Would like to spend 3 or 4 days on the trail next Spring, late April, 2012. Any advice or tips concerning a multi-day ride and camping would be appreciated.

Would be wanting to ride the trail with little or no hwy riding if possible so are there segments of the trail to avoid?

 
Russ from Indiana on 12/9/2011 1:25:28 AM:
This is a good ride but not like the Katy Trail near you in Missouri. It is fairly level and mostly in the open. While they've used crushed limestone, they also throw in some pink granite ballast from the CNW RR in some sections. I had to walk my bike and trailer for a ways.
You need to take snack food with you for the mornings and maybe noon meal. You can camp at the City Park at Battle Creek and Neligh ($5). Ride the center of the trail because they have this "goathead" sandbur that loves bicycle tires. Some listed restaurants have been closed for years. You could call Cleveland Bicycle next Spring for advice. (402-371-3325) Even though the trail slowed me down pulling a Burley, I think I'll be back next September. Great people there.

 
Anonymous on 12/12/2011 5:28:13 AM:
Thanks for the information Russ!

 
Pat from Lincoln, Ne on 3/31/2012 4:02:48 PM:
I rode on March 24th, 2012 from Norfolk trailhead to Oakdale. The bridge just out of Norfolk is still not completed. But is was a short ride on the road to a place where I could access the trail again. There are no signs explaining how to do this, so ask someone first. The trail is soft with sand in many places. It was a fun ride but tough cycling. I agree not as nice as the Katy Trail in Missouri but still a good trail to ride.

 
Dave from Lincoln on 4/24/2012 4:42:35 PM:
Pat and Darrell,

I'm going with a boyscout troop the first week of June. We had an expert mechanic along for the ride. We're planning the full ride from Valentine east to Norfolk with SAG support (two vehicles). Thanks for the insights. Also the bridge near Norfolk - any GPS or directions? Thx!

 
Susan G. from Omaha, NE on 4/29/2012 7:08:02 PM:
Hi, All,
My husband, brother and I, all in early 50s, plan to ride the trail west to east, starting in Valentine, and 20 to 50 miles per day. Can anyone tell me the condition of the trail from Valentine to Neligh? We plan to sleep in hotels and eat in restaurants on the way. We'll do this in the middle of May. Thanks!

 
Abby from Fort Collins,CO on 5/30/2012 12:18:42 PM:
Did you make the ride? How was it? Any hints, things to notice along the way? We are leaving June 21 to ride from Valentine to Neligh.

 
Steve from Lincoln on 6/4/2012 11:22:39 PM:
The trail is in bad shape from Valentine to Johnstown. Just take the highway shoulder for that section. Johnstown to Neligh is in better shape. Some bumpy sections and soft sections, but to be expected over 200 miles. Jump on the highway for a bit if you get tired of the trail. Be comfortable with changing a flat tire or two. I had slime tubes and was fortunate not to have a flat. I had touring tires which was a mistake as I sunk into the soft sections easily. Cross tires with small knobs would have been a better choice. The bridge outside of Norfolk was not open yet, but a county black top is close and connects back to the trail just before Norfolk.

 
Abby from Fort Collins,CO on 6/6/2012 11:31:30 AM:
Thanks for the update!

 
Dave Kohrell from Lincoln on 6/7/2012 5:43:26 AM:
Abby, agree with Steve's assessment. The trail is very rough from Valentine to Johnstown. I rode with seven BoyScouts (ages 12-17) and another adult leader. We were fortunate to have sag support from two others (Day 2 on). Am blogging about the 5 day journey and will post a link (50, 50, 43, 46, 11).

Slime your time, thorn resistant tubes double tube them (cut a tube and place it around your tire), buy slime guard, replace tires. With that you'll have a shot on the Valentine to Johnstown segment. That 40 mile plus stretch blows.

About 7 miles East of Valentine the surface turns to a washboard / ribbon. Watch for snakes (don't worry they're not just jumping all the time, but be careful). The washboard is nasty. Our group had 8 mountain bikes from good (Trek/Giant) to a couple of Wal-mart models (ruggized though) and my older Specialized Hybrid (1998 vintage). I was ok but bouncing a lot. Only 1 flat from Valentine to Arabia - mine. Looked like a possible snake bite

From Arabia to Wood Lake the sand burs were awful. 9 more flats across 2 bikes (2 on mine). At that point we slimed, double tube every bike. We feared only 3 might make it. We had only 4 more flats the rest of the way - some due to older tire and slime build up.

The final pain from Wood Lake to Johnstown was cow paths/holes. It was as choppy as the wasboard junk. Not fun.

From about 4 miles East of Johnston to the end the trail was pretty good. Some loose spots. When you get ride if of the crushed red rock to and see limestone - you're in a good trail.

We camped in Ainsworth, Atkinson, Ewing and Battle Creek. All were awesome towns/villages. We were impressed with every town / village as well. Some great city parks that allow camping and state recreation areas.