Buyer Beware for Ride in OKC

Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in General News and Events, Rides and Tours | 3 comments

02/22/2013 9:53 AM: We have received additional information about this ride and it’s organization which you can read at http://oklahomabicyclesociety.com/2013/02/22/ride-the-city-update/

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/ 03/05/2013: The webpage now only contains OKC information.
  • Finally, the registration page still has all of the information from the Dallas ride still included. 03/05/2013: The registration link has now been deactivated.

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.

3 Comments

  1. Mike, thanks for posting this. This group was collecting monies ($60 registration) and had several city logos and local cycling businesses listed as sponsors. Never say never, but closing this highway would be highly unlikely. It would be roughly equivalent to shutting down I-44 through OKC. Even if it happened, it would not be good for cycling relations with drivers (to say the least).

  2. A story on the “cancellation” of the ride in Dallas: http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/02/organizers_cancel_dallas-to-mc.php

  3. I am an officer of the Bike OKC tour (Gary Lacara) and I am going to answer the issues raised in the blog by Mr. Lorenz who recently spoke to me and said that I could send this response to all the officers has to respond to the voluminous wrongful accusations leveled at our company designed to raise funds for non-for-profits. I hope somebody is interested in the whole truth.
    1. This ride is NOT a scam (and neither was the Bike Dallas to McKinney tour) and had the author had any attempt to contact me before he blogged, he would have learned the true facts.
    2. We have been in contact with various officials of OKC since last year to work out any issues PRIOR to moving forward as we are doing now.
    3. When we learned that one city was going to foolishly block the ride in Dallas, we did not follow through on filing for all permits until the ride was rerouted around the subject city. Filing for the permits would have been a waste of time, money and effort knowing that this one city is blocking the ride. I offered, as I will with anyone in an Oklahoma organized cycling organization, to sit down with a person who understands confidentiality, and lay out every detail of all meetings with government officials. Why confidential? Because we started with discussions which were very frank and open and resulted in cooperative handshakes with changes to the tour as agreed to in order to make the applications easier to approve. Nobody has accepted the offer yet.
    4. We accepted reservations to gauge interest, give people a chance to register in a limited tour and to allow us a chance to iron out the wrinkles before everything went public. For those in business, this is called a soft opening. We had plenty of time to file for permits. The interest was overwhelmingly positive, all the government organizations discussed the tour with us, except the one blocking the tour, and we determined that a sufficient number of people would register for the tour. The one city blocking the tour was a complete surprise. Here is but one of the emails we got of the same tenor: “Thanks for the email. I’m really sorry this has not come together but perhaps it will in the future. In the meantime, I would like you to refund my deposit of $526 (I think that is the amount) for two VIP registrations for myself and my wife, Jim xxxxx and Leesa xxxxx. Both fees were charged to my Visa credit card and please let me know of other rides in the area. I encourage you to keep trying to put this together and would hopefully sign up again if you can get the necessary permission from the cities involved. Thanks again and I appreciate you refunding my money in full.” We complied with a refund.
    5. Some people, who are ignorant of how to deal with certain government organizations, wrongfully assumed that because we had not officially applied for permits, that we were trying to steal money. NOTHING IS FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! All money was kept in a dedicated account and would not be touched by us UNTIL we were fully permitted. If all permits were not acquired, the registrant could obtain a refund or wait for the next ride. In fact approximately half got refunds and half, as of this date, are standing pat.
    6. The OKC ride route is designed for a pleasant cycling ride, not a race as has been wrongly stated. There is no time kept and racing is discouraged. We have three rest stops for an approximately thirty-two mile course with drinks, snacks, bicycle repair, music and first aid planned. For anybody who has extensive touring (not racing) experience, rest stops every 10-15 miles are perfect for even the novice rider.
    7. The ride route is designed to keep lanes vehicle free and has been collaboratively laid out with the help of five departments of OKC. Many changes have been made to accommodate concerns. The greatest concern of cyclists is vehicles and we have an overriding concern that our cyclists are SAFE! Thus we asked for vehicle free lanes while allowing traffic on a Sunday morning to flow.
    8. The Dallas website will continue to keep our riders informed as to our Dallas progress but we are concentrating on OKC at this point.
    9. We have not opened registration for OKC yet until we have a reasonable assurance that this will go forward as we agreed with city officials.
    10. I would have answered Laura P., but Mr. Lorenz refused to give me any contact info on her and she did not give me the simple courtesy of contacting me.
    11. Mr. Lorenz also stated that a government official said we would partner with your organization to create the tour. When I told him that we never stated that, he refused to give me the name of the government official for me to contact. It is clear to me that the blog is only interested in circulating rumors and not the truth just like so many times before in the press and on the internet.
    12. We only plan on partnering with a 501c3 organization and have stated that many time in our many meetings with government officials.
    13. We are a group of Kiwanians trying to raise funds for several non-for-profits and will continue to do so. Feel free to contact me at bikethecity@aol.com. I do not hide behind the internet like many others are who attack and don’t care about the facts. Then again, if you’re not interested in the truth, then that is a clear sign that may hurt children, families, students and all the others who may benefit from this tour through clubs like Kiwanis, etc., as I have done millions in fundraising over the years.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Potential Ride Scam in Oklahoma City - an Update from the OBS - [...] via The Oklahoma Bicycle Society http://oklahomabicyclesociety.com/2013/02/21/possible-ride-scam-in-okc/ [...]
  2. Possible Ride Scam in OKC - [...] via Blog | Oklahoma Bicycle Society. [...]
  3. Ride the City Update | Oklahoma Bicycle Society - [...] some new information regarding the Bike the City ride, announced for May 19th and written about yesterday. The Dallas…

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