June 7, 2020
Our pals in the bike business tell us that they've never seen a time when bike sales have been so hot. Bike shops can hardly keep inventory in their stores. It's a beautiful thing! At the same time, however, organized bike rides have been disappearing from our calendars.
Well, looking ahead, we are beginning to see event organizers sticking with their dates in July, August, and September. The events tend to be small and rather simple, in that they don't involve months of planning. Invitations are beginning to go out again, and today, we would like to add our own.
With this update, we're announcing
two five-day rides, back to back,
on the beautiful Katy Trail in late July:
Ride One or Both
The Missouri Double Cross!
The Back Story
One day in May, our Kentucky friend Joe called Pete. He and twenty friends were ready to ride in July, he said, and they had chosen the Katy Trail in Missouri. Would Pork Belly Ventures be willing, he asked, to bring some of the Pork Infrastructure to Missouri and support them as they rode the trail?
Well, traveling such a distance to support twenty riders would be expensive. So we reached out to our friends and collaborators, Greg and Danita Wood, who produce Missouri bike rides (Big BAM and Big BAM on the Katy). Together we sketched out a plan for two small, consecutive five-day rides. A rider could cross the state once (choose your dates and direction), or make it a Double Cross, riding five days east to west, taking a rest day, and riding five days back east again on the beautiful Katy Trail.
Finally, before we got busy planning in earnest, we reached out to some friends who are in touch with the national cycling scene and asked their opinion. "People are itching to ride," they said, but when it comes to organized events, "nobody wants to be first."
Well, we won't be first, but we're A-Okay with being among the first to start sorting out a way--a small, safe, and responsible way-- to conduct bike rides today. We're grateful for Joe's inquiry, and we've gotten right to work with our partners and our crew. Before we give you all the details on the Missouri Double Cross, here are a few important paragraphs about safety.
Gathering To Ride Safely
on the Double Cross
We know that everyone must decide for himself or herself when to return to group rides, and we understand if you're hesitant or just not there yet. But here are some of the ways that we believe that an outdoor event, namely The Missouri Double Cross bicycle tour, can be conducted safely.
Capping the Number
At this point, we are capping both five-day rides at 250 participants, allowing for physical distancing between riders/campers. Our campsites along the Katy Trail are more than large enough for this number of campers to spread out. The State of Missouri has set this number, 250, as a maximum for gatherings in state parks at present, and we will continue to monitor their guidelines. Should those guidelines change, we may or may not adjust the maximum number of riders.
ABOVE: We're still finishing work on this new shower trailer, but notice the vents, high on the right side. The fans continually change the air in every shower bay.
and Frequent Cleaning
The number of shower stalls will exceed what is needed to shower 250 or fewer riders each day. Some stalls will purposefully be left vacant to allow a greater distance between users. In our newest shower trailer, PBV has installed ventilation fans in every shower bay, so that the air in the trailer is constantly being changed. We will redouble our efforts to keep shower stalls clean throughout the day.
RIGHT: You can see the fan/vent to suck the air through this bay of our shower trailer. Notice the hose--standard on all PBV shower trailers-- for frequent cleaning.
Kybos and Hand-Sanitizing
Crew members will be on duty, frequently disinfecting the doors and handles on kybos. PBV is building more hand-sanitizing stations so that riders can sanitize frequently. (The sinks at the shower trailer provide a spot for hand-washing, as well.)
Distancing for Tent Campers
The rental tents of PBV will be placed at a greater distance from each other than in the past, allowing campers to come and go from their tents while maintaining a safe distance from each other. Tent renters will use the same tent every night. Those who bring their own tents will have adequate camping space to maintain these same safe distances.
PHAT Rooms on the Double Cross
These small, but relatively luxurious rooms, are air-conditioned, with mattresses and freshly laundered linens. We provide pillows, but by all means, bring your own favorite pillow. PHAT Rooms are entirely private for a small group of family or friends. The knotty pine interiors offer a woodsy cabin feel and provide occupants a great night's sleep without leaving the ride atmosphere. A rider may come in from the road, take a shower, and retire for an afternoon nap in A/C, before venturing out for the evening activities.
Scattered Social Areas
At PBV, we have a whole bunch of circus tents and pop-up canopies, so it won't be difficult to set up several shady social areas around camp instead of just one. At our weekly meetings, we continue to generate ideas. This one came up just today!
We'll restrict access to the phone-charging trailer so that only three people at a time will use it on the Double Cross. We'll use fans to change out the air continually while the charging trailer is in use. And we'll be wiping!
"In one study of
just one [case]
to outdoor transmission."
---New York Times
Ride Participants and Ride Organizers
We encourage all riders to do their parts, as well. Carry hand sanitizer and/or wipes. Disposable gloves will be useful at the kybo. Tuck a mask in your pocket if you're heading into town for supper. Or whenever you feel it's needed, wear your own mask. Replace the handshake or the hug with a big friendly smile, eyebrow wiggle, wave, or elbow bump.
With these measures in our plan, we feel good about responding to Joe's request, and frankly, to the pleas of many riders who have written to us, asking for a chance to join an organized ride. With excitement, and without further ado, we cordially invite you to join us for...
The Missouri Double-Cross
on the Katy Trail
Saturday, July 18, Gather in Defiance, Missouri
First Crossing--$295 per person
Sunday, July 19, to Thursday, July 23:
Ride East-to-West, Defiance to Clinton
Friday, July 24, Shuttles to/from Defiance/Clinton
Shuttle Price: $139
(Shuttles are normally $119 on BBK,
but to allow for distancing on board, we will not fill coaches.)
Second Crossing--$295 per person
Saturday, July 25, to Wednesday, July 29,
Ride West to East, Clinton to Defiance
Do the Missouri Double-Cross--
$540 per person
Park in Defiance and pedal to Clinton
and back again, Sunday, July 19, to Wednesday, July 29,
with a rest day in Clinton on Friday, July 24.
The Trail: Routes, Towns, Miles
The Katy Trail is a rail-to-trail linear park, one of the prettiest such trails in the country. The surface is limestone chip for a smooth ride, and much of the trail follows the Missouri River, meaning it is mostly flat. According to the Katy Trail website, "Trail users have the opportunity to wind through some of the most scenic areas of the state with the majority of the trail closely following the Missouri River. The park also takes users through a slice of rural history as it meanders through the small towns that once thrived along the railroad corridor and reflect the rich heritage of Missouri."
Your ride entry fee includes the user fees for Missouri State Parks, transport of your baggage daily, your morning coffee in camp, your daily hot, private shower and towel, phone-charging, a shady social area, and a souvenir Missouri Double Cross shirt. (Jerseys will be available for purchase.) Cold beverages will be available in camp for a nominal price. Greg and Danita are hoping to arrange a breakfast vendor in each campsite.
CAVEAT: For the folks who have traveled with PBV on RAGBRAI, we want to be sure you understand that this ride will be awesome in its own way, but different from RAGBRAI. The cheerful crew of Pork Belly Ventures will brew coffee each morning, move your bags each day, set up part of the Pork Infrastructure in each campsite, operate our hot private showers, and help to direct you to what you need in each place. But please know that there are a number of amenities that we offer on RAGBRAI that will not be available on the Missouri Double Cross.
NOTE: Pork Belly Ventures will not sell walk-up showers on the Double Cross. We will provide showers only to riders who are registered for the event.
Bring Your Own Tent: Riders are welcome to bring their own tents and pay only the ride entry fee.
Add-on Rental Tent Service: Riders may use the rental tents of Pork Belly Ventures for five nights: $250 per tent for one or two tent occupants, in addition to the per-person ride entry fee. $250 includes one twin-sized air mattress; second mattress available for only $20. For those on the Double Cross (11 nights), a rental tent with twin mattress is $450. That's a $50 discount plus an extra night!
Add-on PHAT Room Rental: This option can hardly be called camping. Riders may rent an air-conditioned PHAT Room on a semi-trailer for five nights: $1500 for 1-5 room occupants in addition to the per-person ride-entry fee. (For comfort, 2-3 occupants is an optimal number.) For those on the Double Cross (11 nights), a PHAT Rooms is $2500. That's a $500 discount plus an extra night!
[At present, we're offering twin-style PHAT Rooms for each week of the Double Cross. If necessary, we'll open up the remaining trailers with bunked queen beds.]
Our own sweet therapists, Susan and Ashleigh, are planning to offer massage on the Double Cross, with these accommodations for safety. Riders may sign up for chair massages (neck, back, shoulders, arms) for $1 per minute. Massage tables will also be available for leg work at $1 per minute.
Your therapist may ask you to wear a mask if you're face-up on the table, and they may be able to provide disposable masks. It may be wise for those who plan on a massage to arrive at the massage tent with a mask and their own towel.
Beer, Wine, Food,
In some overnight towns, campsites will be in close proximity to wineries, breweries, and/or pubs. Greg and Danita are working with the towns to arrange at least one venue with live music in each overnight town.
In some towns, riders may pedal or walk as much as a mile into town for food and drink, and some may feel better about walking or biking than about boarding a little coach. That said, Greg and Danita are doing their best to arrange shuttles where the distance from camp is a mile or so. Shuttle rides will be short, and shuttle vehicles will be filled to half their normal capacity to allow for distancing.
Proximity to Downtown...
A Mile at Most!
One great thing about our selected overnight stops on the Katy Trail is their proximity from camp to food and drink in the downtown areas. The Katy Trail runs right past eateries and breweries in some instances, or very near the downtown areas in others. The citizens and business owners in these towns are delighted that the Double Cross will pass through not once, but twice, and that you will come into their establishments with a hearty appetite!
In some cases, the walk or bike ride from camp is very short, and in others it could be a mile or so. We are working with the towns to arrange shuttles. For those who feel comfortable boarding a little coach, the shuttle rides will be quick, and we plan to fill any shuttle vehicles to about half their normal capacity to allow for distancing.
No matter whether you're riding the First or Second Crossing, you can drive to Defiance and park your vehicle there.
At the end of the First Crossing on Thursday, 7/23, riders will have time to complete their miles and shower before our shuttle departs Clinton at about 3:00 p.m. We'll arrive in Defiance at about 6:00.
Prior to the Second Crossing, on Friday, 7/24, riders will be able to drive into Defiance and park before our shuttle departs at about 1:00 p.m. We'll arrive in camp at Clinton at about 4:00, giving Second-Crossers time to check in and settle in, before heading into town for supper.
How To Register
For the ride entry fee--First Crossing, Second Crossing, or the whole Missouri Double Cross--you can register now at our site, using the links below. You'll need to enter a username and password before signing up for the Missouri Double Cross.
Later this fall...
BIG BAM on the KATY (BBK)
Greg and Danita Wood are sticking with their annual trail ride, Big BAM on the Katy, September 28 to October 2. This is the one-way, autumn version on the Katy Trail. You can sign up now for BBK and for Pork Belly Ventures services on BBK. If you're available to ride in the fall, you'll see a different color palette on this gorgeous linear park across the State of Missouri. We will publish more in updates to come, but just in case you're ready now...
Complete Info and Registration for
the First Annual
Pork Belly Ventures
This fall, Pork Belly Ventures will host our own ride in Southwest Iowa--with both paved routes and gravel routes each day. Historic Carsten's Farm is just over a mile from I-80 and only 25 miles from Omaha. The next update you receive from us will be an invitation to join us this September for three days of pancakes, pedaling, music and bonfires, and nothing over 40 miles. We're hard at work to make it your favorite.
We thank you for reading along with us during this quiet half of 2020. We hope that before long, you'll be riding along with us again. Swing a leg over that top tube, and until next time, we remain,
Tammy and Pete
Questions? Contact us:
Pete: email@example.com, 402-681-2613 c
Tammy: firstname.lastname@example.org, 808-375-8921 c
Greg: email@example.com, 660-537-2521 c