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Promoting fun and safe cycling in central Oklahoma
Oklahoma Bicycle Society
1805 Greenway Ct.
Yukon, OK 73099
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HomeRides - Grand Tour

OBS Grand Tour

 
Each year OBS conducts a multi-day cycling adventure. In 2016 the adventure spanned 5 cities over 5 days.
Here is that story:
 
 

Day 1

started with the 7th annual Grand Boulevard Historical tour. Over 50 cyclists participated in the route that closely followed the 1910 designed route that linked 4 city parks with a 35 mile loop of roadway. The Southside Early Risers Rotary club provided lecturers and SAG drivers along the route.

 . the Grand Boulevard trail adjacent to the Katy Railroad tracks near the Zoo 

From the 1910 design for the Grand Boulevard. One of the lecture points giving the history of the Grand Boulevard.

 
 Map from 1910 of the Grand Blvd Historical Lectures along the route.  
 
Passing the train on the Katy Trail
 

 

 
 

 

Day 2

was a bike tour of Tulsa. A dozen riders, led by OBS member Robert Abbott, enjoyed a 25-mile trip along Tulsa’s river trails and downtown area. Robert arranged for lunch at the Spaghetti Warehouse, with special concierge bike parking inside the warehouse. Below is the group posing in front of the Route 66 gateway to Tulsa. Even though part of the river trail is closed for a new park, Robert was able to steer the group around the construction.

 

 

Day 3

was a ride from Fayetteville AR to Bentonville. We had 9 riders and one SAG vehicle participate in this two-day adventure.

 

A couple of years ago several towns between Fayetteville and Bentonville collaborated to build a 35-mile bike/pedestrian trail that connected all of those towns. Along with funds from the Walmart Foundation, the trail was built. Here is what one of our group, Andy Baker had to say about the trail and ride:

3 of us drive 2 hrs. East of Tulsa to join the Oklahoma Bicycle Society for a ride thru the Arkansas Razorback trail.  There, 10 of us assemble in a shaded parking garage in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  A block down the road we enter the trail head and enter Nirvana.  The trail runs 35 miles North to the wonderful town of Bentonville. As Kent would term it, it is a "self-powered roller coaster."  It is an incredible winding, rolling, beautiful, shady course thru the backwoods of Arkansas.  

 

The trail was only completed 2 years ago and was joint funded by the Arkansas parks and recreation dept and the Sam Walton foundation.  I believe someone said cost was over 48 million dollars.  And it shows.  It is a smooth, wide concrete trail that twists and curls thru some amazingly beautiful country.  You are treated to many miles of tree lined trail crossing creeks and flower meadows.  From the many steel bridges you cross over breathtaking views of rivers, forests and picture perfect landscaping built with beautiful fencing, retaining walls and artwork.  As our ride partner Kendra would say, "this place is incredible!"   The beauty of this trail and the pure joy of riding it is off the charts. I noticed many times our friendly, talkative, fun group of 9 were dead quiet as we all tooled along overwhelmed by the amazing ride we were having. 

 

Talk wasn't necessary on this trip; we could read each other's minds.  At one point Kent said, "okay, are you ready to go home and put in your 2 wks. notice?  Yes, this place IS that amazing!  But, there was no way we were ready to go home yet.  So much fun and adventure lie ahead.   We journeyed on ahead thru the woods to our lunch stop.  The Razorback trail is lined with many quaint coffee shops, deli's and watering holes all situated with patios overlooking the trail so you can watch the cyclists as they go by, we stopped at an Italian bistro to feast on mouthwatering pizzas, Italian sandwiches and the requisite yummy pasta dishes.  By the way, pricing for food and lodging along the way is very reasonable and everything is just outstanding in every way.  The quality, the service and enjoyment of all facilities is just lovely, 

 

 

The towns and services all along the way cater to the many cyclist, joggers and trail users along the journey.  I told Becky someone has drummed it into the locals heads to go out of their way to take care of us.  The wait staff at the restaurants, c stores and hotels along the way were incredibly kind. I was amazed how cars ALWAYS gave us the right of way.  Even when we'd be stopped at the occasional red light they would motion us to go on anyway.  All the crews mowing and weed eating around the gardens and trails would stop their work and wave whenever a cyclist passed by.  Just an awesome, friendly experience every way we turned.  Thank you Arkansas, we Okies love you! 

 

 

We journeyed on to the grand finale of this ride.  We entered the Crystal Bridges grounds where the Museum owned by a Walton daughter is located in Bentonville. You ride down thru the most amazing rock lined paths surrounded by mind blowing plants, trees, rivers, waterfalls, flowers and wildlife imaginable.  Rumor has it one of the Walton family is a hardcore cyclist so bicycles are allowed and welcomed everywhere in this part of Arkansas.  We rode right up to the front door of the museum where bike racks awaited us.  

 

The museum itself just has to be seen to be believed.  It is constructed over a giant waterfall that descends into a gorgeous lake at the bottom.  The architecture of the place is just wild.  There are huge cables springing out of the lake that arc up to form the backbone of the roofs of the buildings.  The roofs are covered with gigantic gardens that lead to pathways that meander thru the woods and past every kind of plant life you can imagine.  It is simply divine.  Inside there is a huge art collection, restaurant, coffee shop and tours of the buildings architecture.  But it's outside where, for us, the true beauty lies.  Spectacular in every way, they even have one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses to visit.  Unbelievable! 

 

It was here we popped over to our hotel located nearby. We took a night’s rest there so we could ride the trail back to Fayetteville where our cars awaited.  So we got to see it all in reverse and it was just as spectacular and fun going back.    So there we were the 10 of us back to where we started.  Thank you Bill, Becky, Sherri, John, Kent, Kendra, Phillip, John, Alan for the time and the ride of my life.  And thank you Arkansas Razorback trail. Words cannot explain the experience I had riding you.  We will be back many more times. 

Andy Baker 

Day 4

was a 35 mile ride back to our cars in Fayetteville., with a special treat of lunch at the AQ Chicken House, conveniently located adjacent to the bike trail.

Day 5

included a 25-mile tour of the Little Rock bike trails. Six riders enjoyed exploring along the Arkansas river, with a mid-way stop at a local brewery. 

 

This was the first OBS Grand Tour to occur in a few years. Perhaps it can return as an annual adventure, finding great places to ride in the U.S.  

Some of this year’s participants were heard saying that they want to go back to the Razorback trail in the Fall of 2016. Keep watch for any announcements like that.