Monday, May 22, 2006

Bike To Work - Tulsa

Friday was our Bike To Work day here in Tulsa. In celebration of the event, I took a vacation day. Go figure. In order to attend, I had to take time off from work. Nearly every day is a bike to work day for me, and although there was a certain irony in taking a vacation day, it felt good to have the day off!

I left the house just before sunup, and since I was technically riding at night, I'd attached lights to the Bianchi the night before. It was a pleasant morning with the promise of a hot day later, but I was glad to have a long sleeved jersey and arm warmers as I cross the Bird Creek valley. It's usually 10 degrees colder down there, and Friday was no exception.

I went through the northern end of Mohawk Park on the long-disused portion of Mohawk Drive. It's been closed to motor vehicles for years and it's very overgrown. It looks like a green, leafy tunnel. The pavement is buckled in places from the tree roots growing underneath.

I saw three deer, numerous small birds, and one turkey. Deer are common in the park. For that matter, turkeys are too, but they're much better at disappearing whenever a human comes blundering by. I don't see turkeys very often.

At the west end of the park, I spotted another cyclist topping the hill by the golf course. He turned west, and since I was going that way too, I had a bunny to chase! I didn't exactly turn on the power to reel him in, but I kept up a steady pace, slowing narrowing the distance. About 2 miles later, he saw me overtaking and sat up.

It was Kevin Shoemaker, another member of the local advocacy group. He'd ridden his bike from Claremore and he was going downtown for the BTW event too. We rode together along Mohawk Drive until it met the Osage Trail. We went south on the trail because it goes directly downtown within a few blocks of our destination. Kevin had never used it before. When it's completed, the trail will stretch from Tulsa to Birch Lake near Barnsdall, a distance of about 20 miles. It will be a gorgeous ride through the valley.

I'm not terribly familiar with downtown Tulsa, so Kevin led once we got there. And since it's composed of multiple one-way streets, we missed the right turn and had to backtrack.

The event was set up on William's Green, and about 75 cyclists attended. Tulsa Transit had a table set up to give out bus schedules and tout the new bicycle racks installed on all the city buses. OBC was there as well as INCOG (the event sponsor) and several businesses giving out information regarding their products. I hit the INCOG food table first, of course, and I stoked up for the ride home. Tulsa's new mayor, Kathy Taylor, addressed the crowd regarding the benefits to both individuals and the city of riding a bicycle for transportation.

Aaron Bell told me that he's leaving INCOG for a similar job in Columbia, SC. He has family in the Carolina's and I know very well how powerful that pull can be. Aaron will be missed.

I rode home with a nice tailwind, though the temperature was rising constantly. I didn’t drink enough and arrived at home dehydrated. But a shower and a nap were welcome indeed!


Blogger Paul Tay said...

Mommy Warbucks looked totally ridiculous in spandex. And, she and her entourage were also in violation of TRO 37 1009, no biking on sidewalk in business district. It's on tape. Guess who's fillin' out a police report soon? But, boy howdy, did she have one HIGH-DOLLA ride or what?

12:26 AM  

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