Pennsylvania Cousins Experience Tire Trouble, Camaraderie of the Katy Trail
By Karen Cernich Dickhut
If you’re in Treloar and you’ve got a tire problem with a combine, grain truck or tractor, you are in the right place, because the Treloar Garage can fix just about any kind of farm equipment tire there is — but bicycle tires are not their thing! And a flat bicycle tire can quickly deflate your fun on the Katy Trail.
Nobody knows this more than seasoned riders like Bob Rossetti and his cousin, Jim Rossetti, who last year rode from Washington, D.C. to their hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa. They thought they had brought enough patches and bicycle tubes with them to repair any trouble they might experience on their first (nearly) thru-ride of the Katy, but they had a run of bad luck. By the time they reached Treloar on Sunday, June 12, they had already experienced three flat tires between them. They were out of options for fixing their latest blowout when a pair of locals pedaled by and offered some help.
“They were riding one way while we were trying to fix it, and we were still trying to fix it when they came back through,” Bob Rossetti said, with a laugh. “The patches we had didn’t help. We put one on and that got us another two miles, but that was all.”
The local riders told the cousins about Peers Store located just a few miles down the trail, and gave them hope that the circa 1890s general store, which sells drinks and snacks, as well as art and other items, would also stock bicycle tubes. “If it didn’t, they offered to drive somewhere to get us something that would work,” Bob said.
The locals rode with Bob to Peers Store and left Jim with his flat tire waiting at Treloar. Luckily, Peers had a variety of bicycle tube sizes in stock, as well as canisters of GÜP, the “quick fix sealant.” Bob took no chances and bought both a couple of tubes and one canister of GÜP.
Before he got on his bike to ride back to Treloar, he commented on the camaraderie of trail riders, no matter where or who you are. Earlier in their own trip, the cousins helped a rider in Sedalia change a flat bicycle tire.
This marked the Rossettis first trip to Missouri. They had arrived the Wednesday before, driving to St. Louis from Pittsburgh. They caught the train in Kirkwood and, with their bikes in tow, got off in Sedalia to begin their journey. They planned to spend the next week pedaling their way through each of the communities along the trail until they reached St. Charles and catch an Uber or somehow get a ride back to Kirkwood.
Despite the tire trouble, Bob said they had enjoyed their time on the Katy. “It’s beautiful scenery,” he said. “And we’ve really liked riding through all of the towns.”
They have ridden long trails in other parts of the country, but they “wanted to try something different,” so when they heard about the Katy, they were excited to experience it.
The Rossettis were smart when they packed tire patches and spare tubes for their extended ride. Missouri State Parks, which maintains the Katy Trail, America’s longest state park, recommends that cyclists bring bike repair tools and a tire pump to prevent anyone from being stranded, since cell phone service is no guarantee. Peers Store began stocking spare tire tubes and tire sealant last season, and no one is happier about it than the Rossettis.