Buyer Beware for Ride in OKC

2/22/2013: New information about this ride has been posted to OBS.

In my duties with the Oklahoma Bicycle Society, I was alerted about a potential ride scam going on here in OKC that I think everyone should be aware of.  My full story on the scam is as follows:

OBS has been alerted by a kind reader about a potential scam ride that has made its way to Oklahoma. The Bike The City ride was announced as a ride in Dallas, going along Hwy. 75 to McKinney. The ride “organizers” announced that they had permission to shut down Hwy. 75 for the route, which if you know anything about Dallas, would be a truly amazing feat of organization and governmental cooperation.

BikeDFW investigated these claims (http://www.bikedfw.org/bike_the_city_tour_buyer_beware) and discovered the following:

  • No permits had been acquired from any of the cities.
  • Bike The City had falsely claimed that the cities of Dallas, Plano, Richardson and McKinney were sponsoring the ride.
  • It would have been extremely unlikely that a permit would ever be given to close down this route.

However, until extremely recently, Bike the City was still collecting registration fees for the ride. Within the last few weeks, the ride site has now changed to state that a ride will take place in OKC.

This ride appears to be just as suspicious as the ride in Dallas. The following are red flags that we believe should keep riders from registering for the ride:

  • The ride route has a large number of turns which would require a large number of manned stations and would be confusing for the maximum 5,000 riders being allowed on the route.
  • The ride route would require a large section of Lincoln Ave. and two good-sized sections of Classen Blvd. to be closed which would, like Hwy. 75 in Dallas, be difficult to do.
  • The ride FAQ states that, “We have communicated with every jurisdiction regarding their requirements and suggestions dating back to last July. Our traffic engineer has completed plans for the race, and we are working with area police chiefs on acquiring Public Safety Officers.” This ride was, as of early January, being planned for Dallas, and therefore we would see no reason that these permits would have been sought for OKC from last July.
  • The website for the Dallas ride is still active with Dallas information: http://www.bikedallas.net/
  • Finally, the registration page still has all of the information from the Dallas ride still included.

All of these flags lead us to discourage any riders from registering for this event. We will inform you if we get any additional information. Thanks to Laura P. from Dallas for alerting us about this situation.

via Blog | Oklahoma Bicycle Society.

Update 02/21/2013 3:44 PM: Local media in Dallas are covering the sketchy nature of the cancellation of the Dallas ride – http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/02/organizers_cancel_dallas-to-mc.php


Registration Open for the 2nd Annual Luke's 5-line Ride

Lukes5linelogo

I reported last year about 14-year-old Luke Nefus’ unique 5-Line Ride up in the Oklahoma Panhandle where, if you take on the longest ride, you’ll touch 5 states in one day while raising monies for Livestrong. Well, thankfully, he is doing it again this year, September 20 – 22nd, and early registration is now open.

The following distances will be available this year:

  • 120 Miles, the full distance which touches 5 states (CO, NM, OK, TX and KS).
  • 95 Miles, touches 4 states(CO, NM, OK and TX)
  • 60 Miles, the Santa Fe Trail Route, touches 3 states (CO, NM and OK)
  • 40 Miles, touches 3 states (CO, NM and OK)

Between now and March 31, registration is $175, between April 1st and June 30, $200 and after July 1st, $250. It is important to note that all but $50 dollars of your registration amount is tax-deductible with the remaining funds going to Livestrong.

Your registration includes the following:

  • 2 nights of lodging at Camp Billy Joe.
  • Pre and post ride meals on the day of the ride, September 21st.
  • Post-ride entertainment featuring The Dizzy Pickers
  • Limited edition T-Shirt for the full 5 line riders, with all riders receiving a T-Shirt.
  • Gift bag
  • Hot Showers
  • Sag support and fully stocked water/nutrition stations.
  • Rider protection provided by ICE.events

Full details about the ride can be found at http://lukes5line.com.

I really think this is a unique riding experience is an area of Oklahoma few of us ever get to ride in given the lack of towns and people in that neck-of-the-woods. I personally can’t wait to ride in it this year (I didn’t have time last) and I hope this ride really starts to take off!


Cyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run Overnight in OKC

BicycleCrashFeb658-year-old Joseph Edward Helmka was struck by a vehicle around 3:00 AM last night near the corner of NW 10th and MacArthur.  He was spotted by a passing motorist and was rushed to the hospital but he expired before arriving at the hospital.  Police are asking anyone with information regarding this crash to contact them at 405-235-7300.

News Sources:

NewsOK: http://okbik.es/15c

KOCO: http://okbik.es/15d

News 9: http://okbik.es/15e

KFOR: http://okbik.es/15f


Oklahoma Freewheel 2013 Route Announced

The Oklahoma Freewheel has announced their 2013 route with a return to eastern Oklahoma after a couple of years further west.  This year will start in Idabel and finish in Joplin, MO after crossing some scenic and a bit hilly terrain.  Total mileage is between 458-509 miles depending on the optional routes.

Route Breakdown

Day 0, June 8: Idabel-TX Border      41 miles

Day 1, June 9: Idabel-Antlers              68 miles

Day 2, June 10: Antlers-Talihina        62 OR 73 miles

Day 3, June 11: Talihina-Warner       68 miles

Day 4, June 12: Warner-Tahlequah  58 miles

Day 5, June 13: Tahlequah-Pryor      60 OR 100 miles

Day 6, June 14: Pryor-Miami                64 miles

Day 7, June 15: Miami-Joplin, MO   37 miles

 

As mentioned earlier, Adult registration starts at $295 and $195 for youth 6-24.  Registration is available now at http://www.okfreewheel.info/wps/2013-2/registration/.


Oklahoma Freewheel Announces Price Increase, Route Announcement Tomorrow

The Oklahoma Freewheel has announced the registration fees for this year’s ride which will start at $295 for an adult (from $175 last year) and $195 for riders under 24 (up from $100 for riders under 15 last year).  They list the benefits for the price increases as follows:

One of our first steps is to make FreeWheel THE premier bicycle tour in the country. The better our event and the more people we can bring to our host communities, the more everyone wins. A key way to do this is through awarding grants to our host communities to make their towns more bicycle friendly so they can continue to attract cyclists long after our ride in June is over.
Based on your feedback we are also making some big improvements to FreeWheel 2013. Here are some of the changes you will see:

  • Upgraded shower truck.
  • T-shirt included in registration fees for all week and half week riders.
  • Youth designation (and price) expanded to include young adults up to age 24.
  • Option of registering for and riding in a single stage.
  • “Teams” composed of groups of 5 or more may register for a full week at a discounted price.
  • An on-line only registration process for your convenience. Registration will be online ONLY, but there will be no additional credit card processing fees.
  • FreeWheel “scholarships” to be awarded to up to 5 lucky participants.
  • A new and improved website (to be unveiled at the route announcement).
  • More and better signage.
  • Helpers to load luggage onto the semi-truck in the morning.

The Oklahoma Freewheel route announcement will be tomorrow at 6:30 PM at Joe Mamma’s Pizza in Tulsa.


ACOG Seeks Bicycle, Pedestrian Transportation Planner

The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments is looking for a Transportation Planner for their bicycle, pedestrian and livability initiatives:

The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Oklahoma City Area Regional Transportation Study (OCARTS) area, seeks a highly motivated, skilled, self-starting professional to fill a key position within the Transportation & Planning Services (TPS) Division. This position requires excellent analytical, communication and problem‑solving abilities.

Under the general supervision of the Program Coordinator, the Transportation Planner will be responsible for the planning and implementation of regional bicycle, pedestrian and livability initiatives within Central Oklahoma. Other responsibilities include management of federal grants,

participation in regional transit initiatives and assisting in development of the long range transportation plan.

via Associate Transportation Planner – Bicycle, Pedestrian, Livability – Oklahoma City, OK – employment opportunity or job position American Planning Association Texas Chapter American Planning Association Texas Chapter.

The salary is between $40,632 to $48,420.  Full details here.


Stolen Bike Alert: GT Series 4

A Blue and White GT Series 4 bicycle was stolen from a garage last night in Bethany near Lake Overholser.  Here is a detailed description of the bicycle.

Blue and White GT Series 4 with full Shimano 105 group set, Mavic Aksium Race wheels with light blue Michellin Kromion tires. white and silver Fizik Arione seat., black and silver Serfas seat bag with Blackburn light. 2 white Arundel bottle cages. White Cateye dual wireless computer, silver Shimano 105 clipless pedals. Blue bar tape.

Below is a photo of a similar bicycle, not the actual missing bike:

If you have any information please contact Kevin at 405-408-3090.


OSU Cyclists Upset at Bike Lane Removal

OSU cyclists are upset that the university has removed all bike lanes on campus:

Cyclists on campus are hoping to find a solution to the now non-existent bike lanes.

Oklahoma State University recently removed all bike lanes on campus in hopes of creating a more shared campus, according to an article in the O’Colly on Sept. 26.

Trevor Steward, president of the Oklahoma State University Cycling Club and off-campus SGA senator, said he plans to meet with a group of university faculty and staff later today to discuss some concerns that the OSU cycling community has about the removal. The meeting will include Lee Bird, OSU vice president for student affairs, university architect Nigel Jones, Mike Buchert, director of Long Range Facilities Planning, and others.

The OSU Cycling Club was never notified or contacted for consultation concerning the removal of the bike lanes, Steward said.

“This is (the students’) university,” he said. “We should have a say in how this campus is run and looks.”

(via OSU Cycling Club looks to solve bicycle lane issues – ocolly.com : Osu)

More disturbing, apparently the University is encouraging the very dangerous practice of riding on sidewalks:

The O’Colly article encouraged cyclists to ride on sidewalks and outlined campus plans for shared sidewalks instead of bike lanes.

Riding on sidewalks is very dangerous because of obstacles like pedestrians, driveways and crossroads, Bruer said.

“It is just as dangerous, if not more, than riding on the road,” he said. “Most cycling communities have realized that it is dangerous to ride on sidewalks.”

Bruer also noted that the University of California-Berkley is advising OSU on adopting a campus without bike lanes.

“UC Berkley is not a recognized bike-friendly campus,” he said. “We are getting our advice from a campus that is not considered bike-friendly.”

(via OSU Cycling Club looks to solve bicycle lane issues – ocolly.com : Osu)

 


Downtown Bicycle Tours in October

Starting this Tuesday, Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. and Spokies Bike Share are organizing three downtown bicycle tours:

Have you ever wondered what that crazy sculpture is called? Have you ever wanted to dazzle your friends with your intimate knowledge of our city's rich history? Sign up for one of the Downtown OKC Bike Tours! It's fun and it's free.

Sign up today for your opportunity to get a unique perspective of our city's history, art and architecture. Each tour is led by an expert guide who will reveal the people, places and stories that have made Oklahoma City rich with culture. As opposed to simply driving through downtown, bike tours give you a more in-depth look at neighborhoods and buildings. The casual atmosphere of the tours allows for more questions and interaction with the experts guiding the tours.

(via Downtown OKC Bike Tours)

The three rides are as follows:

  • October 2nd: History Tour starting at the Spokies Station at the Chickasaw Downtown Ballpark
  • October 9th: Public Art Tour starting at the Downtown Library
  • October 16th: Architecture Tour starting at the Spokies Station at 9th and Broadway

All rides start at 6:00 PM and are 2 1/2 to 3 miles in length, perfect for riders of all abilities. At this time all Spokies bikes are spoken for, but you are welcome to bring your own bike.

Sign up and full details available at: http://www.downtownokc.com/downtownokcbiketours.aspx

 


Stillwater Forms Bicycle Committee

Stillwater has formed a standing bicycle committee in an attempt to improve their bicycle friendliness:

Stillwater has taken another step toward becoming more cycle-friendly.

The Stillwater Bicycle Committee was officially established Wednesday night, following the tradition of other bike-friendly communities across the nation.

Jim Bruer, committee member and Oklahoma State University academic counselor, said this is a necessary step in promoting cycling in Stillwater.

“One of the main things you need to be approved (as a bike-friendly community) is to have a cycling committee like this,” Bruer said.

(via Stillwater Bicycle Committee established Wednesday night – ocolly.com : Osu)

This is a step Stillwater is taking in order to join Norman and Tulsa as Oklahoma Bicycle Friendly Communities as ranked by the League of American Bicyclists.