By: Duane Blankenship | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: September 2012
Dickens of a Ride coordinator Cindy Bissett and event sponsor Janice Whittaker of Bike-About Bicycles show off some stylish cycling togs.
In the heat of summer, bicyclists in northeastern Oklahoma begin looking forward to cooler weather and the Dickens of a Ride bicycle tour through the beautiful rolling hillsides surrounding Claremore. The ride is sponsored by Claremore Main Street, Inc. and supports their many programs and projects throughout the year. Proceeds from the ride help fund preservation efforts, economic development, and special projects including planters, trees, benches and public art.
Dickens of a Ride attracts cyclists from Oklahoma and adjoining states. Ride options include distances of 30, 50, 62 and 100 miles. And for those who like to do their bicycling in a more relaxed manner, there is a Lazy Lake Loop, which is less than ten miles. This is a good ride for beginning cyclists or for young families.
Longer bike routes begin and end at Gazebo Park at Muskogee Avenue and Will Rogers Boulevard. Riders will head west out of Claremore through scenic country sides to Oologah. From there, they will cycle areas surrounding Claremore Lake. Riders on the longer routes will continue pedaling east of town through challenging, rolling hillsides before they head back to Gazebo Park.
At the conclusion of the bike ride, cyclists are invited to attend a reception at the Gazebo, where light refreshments will be served. There will also be lots of really nice door prizes awarded by drawings as participants return to the Gazebo for a little rest and recuperation.
Ride coordinator Cindy Bissett says, “The Boomarang Diner is offering a great Breakfast Ride Special beginning at 6 a.m. the day of the ride.” It will include one egg, two pieces of bacon or sausage, toast or biscuit and gravy, and hash brown potatoes. Milk, coffee or juice is not included with the special, but may be purchased separately. There will also be nine well-supplied rest stops along the bike routes where riders look forward to sitting a spell and taking advantage of numerous home baked goodies and fruit.
Excellent mechanical and SAG support will be provided on the Dickens of a Ride until 5 p.m. Be sure to wear your ANSI, CPSC, or Snell approved helmet if you plan on participating in the ride; it’s required. Visit the www.downtownclaremore.org to register online. Or if you prefer, you may print a registration form, fill it out, and mail it in with your check. Riders may purchase a long-sleeve Dickens of a Ride commemorative T-shirt for $18. You must order your T-shirt by September 4 to receive one.
Janice Whittaker, co-owner of Bike-About Bicycles, says, “Registration packets may be picked up at Bike-About on Thursday, October 4 until 8 p.m. You may also get your packet beginning at 6 a.m. on the day of the ride.” Maps will be provided, and you need to be prepared for some hills. Riders under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult who is also on a bicycle and riding with them. Riders under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign a Ride Release.
Major sponsors of the 2012 Dickens of a Ride include RCB Bank, CPCO Company, Walmart, BancFirst, Amazing Melton Sales, Urgent Care, Bike-About Bicycles & Touring Shop, and Boomarang Diner. Many thanks to each of them and to each of the riders who help make Dickens of a Ride one of the best in the state of Oklahoma.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.