Cycling the Pony Express Trail

Pony Express TrailThe Pony Express Trail route was once used to carry the nation’s mail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California in the days before the telegraph. Using the trail, men and horses could cover the entire 1,800-mile route in just 10 days.

Now the historic trail is being used for another type of incredible journey — a bicycle ride from Sacramento to St. Joseph.

Spencer Klaassen, a 43-year-old pharmacist from St. Jo­seph, began riding on August 24th and expects to reach St. Joseph in time for the start of the Tour of Missouri on September 8th, a total of 14 days. Unlike the original Pony Express mail delivery, which used a relay system of horses, Klaassen will ride the entire route himself, unsupported.

The route, which Spencer developed three years ago, is sanctioned by Randonneurs USA, and is believed to be the longest permanent route recognized by the organization.

In addition to California and Missouri, the Pony Express route also passes through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Spencer, who is riding the route along with Dan Clinkenbeard, of Columbia, Missouri, is maintaining a blog during his ride, as well as publishing pictures of his journey.

Read Spencer Klaassen’s Pony Express Journal
View Spencer Klaassen’s Photographs

About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

One response to “Cycling the Pony Express Trail”

  1. Larry Carpenter says:

    The Pony Riders are long gone, but their legacy and that of the owners Russell, Majors and Waddell lives on. Books have been written about their history and exploits, more fact than fiction. Their have been several anniversary events…75th, and 100th, and soon the 150th, and the National Pony Express Association
    does a Re-ride of the Sacramento to St Joseph, segment of the Trail each June. Their are Pony Rider monuments in Sacramento, Stateline (South Lake Tahoe) Nevada, Salt Lake City, Casper, Wyoming, Julesburg, Colorado, Marysville, Kansas, and St Joseph. The Trail from San Francisco to St Joseph, was added to the National Trails System in 1992, and is administered by the National Park Service from an Office in Salt Lake City. It is a Trail you can read about, watch videos about, ride a horse over, drive over, walk, and pedal across. Glad Spencer has had a good journey. He is not the first to pedal across and he won’t be the last, but for him it was the most enjoyable. Best Wishes. Larry Carpenter, Corresponding Secretary, National Pony Express Association, Pollock Pines, California.