Tip #1 - Bring a tire repair kit or a spare tube. Or, ride with friends and carry a cell phone. While the odds are slim that you will get a flat tire, the Wabash is a combination dirt and rock trail that does have natural debris on it (small limbs, rocks, etc.), plus the trail has several road crossings along the way. As a result, tire damage can occur. Other bikers are always willing to be of assitance and help you with repairs, but if you do not have a patch kit or spare tube, it could be along walk back to your vehicle.
Tip #2 - Be prepared for cool evening temperatures if you don't come back till after dark. The temperatures, even in the summer, can be rather cool along the trail after the sun sets. While you will warm up as you begin your ride back, you still may want to have a long sleeve shirt, light jacket or pullover for the ride back.
Tip #3 - Do not leave any valuable items with your bike while you are inside at Mineola or Silver City. Unfortunately some people have had items stolen, plus on a rare occassion a few bikes were taken. By and large there have been very few problems and not many people lock-up their bikes. But, better to be safe than sorry. If you're unsure, carrying a bike lock is a reasonable precaution to take.
Tip #4 - Wear a helmet. For most, bike riding is a fun recreational activity. But, there are some risks and riding on the Wabash is no different. Even the best riders occassionally have a spill from their bike. Protect you head with a helmet.
Q: What time does the Taco Ride start on Thursday?
A: There really is no official start time for the Taco Ride. There are people who ride beginning in the afternoon while others ride late into the evening. The majority of the people typically start their ride at the trail head in the 5:30 to 6:30 timeframe.
Q: How long is the ride and how long does it take?
Q: Does the Taco Ride cost anything?
A: Technically, the Taco Ride does not cost anything. However, the Wabash Trace Nature Trail does require a pass to ride the trail. The daily pass is $1 or you can purchase an annual pass for $10. You can deposit your daily fee in one of the drop boxes at trail access points. On Thursday nights, volunteers are typically collecting at the trail head. Annual passes can also be bought on Thursday nights. You can also find annual passes at many of the local bike shops in Omaha and Council Bluffs. The Wabash Trace does not receive any government or tax support. All trail maintenance and improvements are paid for through the trail fees and private donations.
Q: Do I really need a light for the ride back after dark?
A: Yes, Iowa law requires that bicycles be equipped with lights and reflectors for night riding, including on the Wabash Trace. The law stipulates a white light on the front and either a red reflector or light on the rear that can be seen up to 300 feet. If you do not have a light, ride with others who have lights and position yourself to follow directly in their line so you get benefit from their lights.
Q: Is the Taco Ride a good thing to ride with children?
A: As parents, that's a decision you will have to make yourself. It is highly recommended that you try the Taco Ride first and then determine whether or not you child's skill level on a bike can make the ride. The Wabash Trace is a great place for family riding on most days. However, on Thursday night there are lots of riders and the trail can be crowded at times. Many cyclists are riding very swiftly. It is important that you stay on your side of the trail and yield when someone is passing. Thursday night is no place for unsteady riders that are at risk for crossing in front of other cyclists. Once at the Mineola Steakhouse, the atmosphere can also be very loud and crowded with a fair amount of alcohol consumption occurring. You will have to determine if it's appropriate for your children.
Q: Can I ride my road bike on the Wabash?
A: Yes, many people do ride their road bike on the Wabash. While it may not be the optimum bike for the Wabash, you should be fine on a road bike. However, the thinner the tires, the more caution you may need to exercise in some portions of the trail. The overwhelming majority of the Wabash between Council Bluffs and Mineola is a hard packed dirt trail and is relatively smooth. Not quite like riding on concrete, but close. However, there are a few sections that are prone to erosion that have a very thin layer of finely crushed rock. In addition, there are several gravel road crossings that require some caution. There is also occassionally some natural debris on the trail from the trees above. Keep the speed down a little bit and watch what you're running over if you've got racing tires and you'll be okay.