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