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Bicycling Guide To The Mississippi River Trail: A Complete Route Guide Along The Mississippi River Paperback – August 7, 2008
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About the Author
Bob Robinson has been an avid cyclist for over 30 years. During this period he has raced both road and mountain bicycles, organized races for both road and mountain bicycles, built numerous mountain bicycle trails, served as cycling club president, organized bicycle tours, and worked as a committee member for the National Trails Symposium. He strongly believes in actively supporting interests that he participates in. After preparing the original version of the MRT guidebook, researching the second edition, and just touring for the fun of it, Bob has ridden the entire route on one occasion and most sections on several occasions. When asked which section of the route is his favorite his response is always “Whatever section I am currently riding.” Bob currently lives in Fort Smith, Arkansas, within a short distance to the Ozark Mountains and the Ouachita Mountains. He is an active member of the Ozark Highlands Trail Association and the Friends of the Ouachita Trail organization. Bob looks forward to meeting cyclists, and sharing stories with them around the campfire during future rides along the Mississippi River Trail, as well as while riding on other tours.
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Also, in the mileage charts, the author shows the mileage to turns but doesn't seem to indicate mileage to the campgrounds along the route... so it's impossible to figure out how long your day will be without additional resources.
Being familiar with some of the route this book has you take, yes the roads are crummy but thats what you get when the US has a history of not bothering to invest in roads that are safe for all legitimate road users.
This is a great guide for the Missouri section of the Mississippi River Trail (though understand you will never actually see the river south of St. Louis), but once you get into Tennessee the directions become pretty annoying, as you are led block by block through neighborhoods (some with unmarked streets) and down long stretches of Highway 51, which is not ideal. It is not the book's fault, but there is not a really great way to get through Tennessee by bike. There are better long rides. Also, the trail in Missouri is often on state highways with no shoulders. The drivers are usually friendly enough, but I did encounter a little hostility along the way.
Without Bob Robinson's book I would have missed most of the things you see in the video. The guidebook was an essential part in both tours. The meticulous step-by-step directions saved me the trouble of figuring out directions in the first place (for some thousand miles) and then constantly checking with my map whether I'm still on course or already gone astray. Just do as Bob says and enjoy the ride. Well, most of it anyway. Of course every now and then reality moves on and a once clear path is now overgrown. But that's not Bob's fault but part of the program. Anyone who doesn't like improvising from time to time might consider setting sails for a long distance cycling tour anyway :-)
Hermann Plasa (Munich, Germany)