Life at a 45-Degree Angle: Idaho’s Tater TOT


By Jeff Levenson — Welcome to another installment of cycling life on a recumbent trike. Since I can’t remember seeing very much in this publication on recumbents in general, you can find lots of videos on YouTube. For those of you who think you have health problems preventing or exacerbating the riding life, check out “David Rides a Trike”.

Riders at the 2021 Tater TOT Recumbent Rally. Photo by Janet Buckwalter,
Riders at the 2021 Tater TOT Recumbent Rally. Photo by Janet Buckwalter,

I just returned from a trip to Kellogg, Idaho, for the annual Tater TOT—Trikes Optional Tour— since about 2006 (nobody can remember). Supposedly this started because riders across the country on the Bentrider website were complaining that their local clubs would not allow their cycles on club rides or centuries. The story goes that someone from Salt Lake City suggested a get-together in Kellogg since it was the midpoint of a 75-mile rail-to-trail conversion. Until the pandemic, there was an attendance of 120 – 150 riders – this year about 50. People kept on showing up, although the Salt Lake person apparently never came again, as legend has it.

The road experience is different in Kellogg. People locally commute on it, and tourists are there on all types of cycles. The trail has several dozen or more cross streets, and drivers actually STOP and wave you on – even when they have the right of way. People wave and say hello. For a moment I was tempted to tell walkers to “Get the Hell off the Trail and get on a sidewalk where you belong!”, but I managed to restrain myself. The entire event is unstructured, except for the Sunday night Potluck Supper. One of the TOTS, as we call ourselves, had a food cart business. He brings his cart and grill, and cooks steaks, hot dogs, sometimes brats and linguica, and this year Philly Steak sandwiches. They were especially delicious.

Riders at the 2021 Tater TOT Recumbent Rally. Photo by Janet Buckwalter,
Riders at the 2021 Tater TOT Recumbent Rally. Photo by Janet Buckwalter,

For those of you who only care about mileage (you know who you are), distances range from 10 to 100 miles, all car free except for the cross streets. The trail foundation maintains the paved part and cuts the fallen trees for removal. Most of the trail is woods, lakes, some swamp, and the occasional moose. As we were riding one section, we came upon a young moose standing in the middle of the pathway, munching on his breakfast; he was still big enough to straddle the width of the trail and still reach the shrubbery for nibbling. Lots of avian life for birdwatchers, the odd snake here and there, and we saw some pretty butterflies, some a robin’s egg blue. For other wildlife, 15 miles up the road is the town of Wallace, which has a bordello museum. The working girls lost their jobs when the business closed in the mid 1980’s.

For more specific info on The Trail of the Coeur D’Alene, go online.

Ride Safe! Stay Healthy!


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