We have been meaning, as a family, to go visit relatives on my wifes side in Yukon, Oklahoma (part of Oklahoma City) for some time. We finally took advantage of the kids spring break and decided to drive down for a weekend. I was able to take the bike and was determined to fine a ride.
So, I started to troll the internet looking for routes and bike clubs, since, the way I figured it, if I didn't know the area, didn't know which roads to ride and not get run over by some redneck, and I didn't have a clue where I could ride without being mugged and debiked, I decided that if I could find a local club ride, that would be best.
So I found these folks... John, Jim, Laurie, Greg, and Bill. They are members of the Oklahoma Bicycle Society. They have a great website and have a number of very interesting rides. I found their FCR ride (Floating Crapgame Ride) that rotates starting places every Saturday. And it turned out the rotation took the start on the 14th to just under 2 miles from where I was staying. Coinsidence? I think not.
So, on a brisk (temps in the mid to upper 30's to start) morning, I met up with these fine folks and set out for a casual 35 miler out to a breakfast stop (El Reno) and back to Yukon. The route out was in wonderful back roads, flat, farm area... similar to parts of kansas, but different. Oklahoma has red dirt... really red dirt. Our breakfst stop was along historic Route 66... I had to get a photo and we came in the last few miles on Route 66. By the end of the ride, I was a beautiful day... temps were heading into the 60's and the sun was out. I could not have asked for a better day.
OBS also has, what I think is a very cool ride type, a weekend tour. They go out and explore a different area of the state 2 or 3 times a year, as a loosly organized group. No fees, no real organization other tahn a stated date, and location. And, what really interested me, was that some of them ride out and camp overnight and then ride back the next day. This sounds very familier to the S24O trips talked about by the folks at Rivendell Bicycle Works. I am very interested in the concept of bicycle camping and the S24O looks to be perfect for my busy travel and family life. (the S24O stands for Sub 24 hour Overnight and is basically, bicycle camping, within a days ride of home... ride out with minimal camping gear on an afternoon, camp, ride back the next morning). I would love to see something like this get more interest here in KC.
Anyway... the ride was wonderful and I really appreciated the hospitality of my OBS friends. It was nice to know that cycling everywhare is pretty much the same. I had emailed the ride leader and he warned me it was aslower paced ride, more socializing and breakfast was had at the halfway spot. So my expectations were set adn the ride was exactly that, social, comfortable and... we had breakfast.
This also convinced me that finding a local group ride is a great way to do a ride in a location you are not familier with. When my relatives asked where I was riding I said I really did not know. They figured it was around the local lake or on the trails. We road cyclists have a different understanding of what a ride is than those who don't ride. When I returned and told them I had ridden out to El Reno they were floored that I had ridden that far and in that direction... "there is no trail heading out there"...
It was a wonderflul time. Thank you OBS.