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Fat bikes the ticket for old Milwaukee railroad trail

Fat bike riders approach the historic concrete arched railroad bridge crossing near U.S. Highway 395 just south of Rosalia that's a key  part of the old Milwaukee Road rail line that is owned by Washington state and designated for trail development. It is part of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. (Pat Sprute)
Fat bike riders approach the historic concrete arched railroad bridge crossing near U.S. Highway 395 just south of Rosalia that's a key part of the old Milwaukee Road rail line that is owned by Washington state and designated for trail development. It is part of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. (Pat Sprute)

BICYCLING -- Todays S-R story about long-coming proposals to begin developing the Palouse section of the abandoned railroad stretch known as the John Wayne Pioneer Trail is good news for bicyclists. 

Although the state of Washington acquired the railroad right of way in 1981, the section from the Columbia River east to the Idaho state line remains largely rough with gaps that make it difficult to use even if you go through the hoops to get the required permit from Washington State Parks.

BUT, the growing popularity of fat bikes offers a chance for tough riders to get on the trail now.

These bikes with extra-wide, extremely low-pressure tires tame the rough ballast and bogs that greet trail users on long stretches of the trail.

But don't expect to be the first to fat bike the entire route. Others have already figured it out.

On his 26InchSlicks blog, Spokane fat-biking-fanatic Pat Sprute has posted an excellent story with photos and maps of his 2012 trip along the John Wayne Pioneer Trail from Tekoa to the Columbia.  

Check it out and be inspired.  




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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