OBS weekend tours are campout tours, but of course camping is optional. You may stay in a motel, state park lodge or cabins (at some locations but not all) or just come for the ride and go home. These are not supported tours in the sense that there are no rest stops or sag vehicles. There are, however, usually plenty of places to stop to get food and drink along the way. Most people have lunch along the way somewhere on the Saturday ride. Please pay close attention to the ride leader’s instructions at the beginning of the ride. He/she will usually give information about recommended lunch stops, where convenience stores are located on the route, etc.
Quite a few people go to the campsite Friday and camp both Friday and Saturday nights. Feel free to join them if you wish.
There is no charge for the rides, but you are responsible for your own camping or lodging costs and food and drink on the ride. OBS provides maps and encouragement.
Everyone rides at his/her own pace. We don’t all try to stay together in a group, but we do encourage people to ride together in small groups. If you don’t have a group of buddies to ride with, there will be people riding at all different speeds. Just catch on with a group that is going your preferred pace and introduce yourself. Most cyclists are very friendly and welcome new acquaintances. Please don’t isolate yourself. We have no way of knowing if someone is riding alone and gets stranded due to a bike or physical problem. Riding with a group provides added safety and there will be someone to help if you have trouble. We make an effort to have emergency contact (cell phone) information on most rides, but that doesn’t always happen and cell phone coverage can be very spotty in some rural areas.
Saturday night is the “world famous” OBS Potluck Dinner. Everyone brings something and we put it all together and have a feast. Bring your own plates, cups, eating utensils, etc. and don’t forget to bring serving utensils also if required for whatever you bring to eat. Also, be sure to bring a lawn chair or camp chair. Usually there is a campfire after dinner and we hang around and visit around the fire.
On Sunday, we ride to breakfast, usually a somehwat shorter distance than the Saturday ride. After the Sunday ride, we break camp and head for home.
On most of these rides, the Saturday ride will be between 50 and 65 miles. If you are not accustomed to riding these distances, this may not be the place to begin since these tours are not supported. It is recommended that you ride supported events of similar distance before attempting one of these rides. Also, most of these rides are in areas of the state that are considerably hillier than the area around Oklahoma City. Be prepared for hills and pace yourself accordingly so that you can complete the ride without undue difficulty. If you are accustomed to riding mostly 20-30 mile rides, do not expect to ride 50-65 miles at the same pace, especially in hilly terrain.
NOTE: Bicycle touring usually requires following a map or cue sheet. You’ll need a way to keep this in front of you as you ride so you can follow the route. There are map holders available from several sources (Google “cycling map holder”) or you can easily make your own following the directions found here.
Additional tips for all bicycle tours:
- Make sure your bike is in good mechanical condition and has good, sound tires.
- Always carry a spare tube or two and a pump or CO2 cylinders and an inflator. And make sure you know how to change a tube on both your front and rear wheels.
- Always carry plenty of water. Hydration packs are recommended for long unsupported tours because sources for water may be infrequent.
- Always carry some type of emergency food such as energy bars, granola bars, etc. in case you begin to run out of muscle fuel.
- Always ride with a group if possible. There’s safety in numbers and there will be someone there to lend assistance in case you have mechanical or physical difficulties.
- Always obey traffic laws and be aware that you are riding on roadways where motorists do not regularly encounter cyclists.
- Always carry identification, emergency contact information and a copy of your insurance card.
- Pace yourself for the distance to be covered. You don’t want to burn out before the end of the ride. It’s a tour, not a race. Slow down and enjoy the scenery. Stop in small towns to explore or visit with the locals. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you’ll find in small Oklahoma towns.
Packing list for weekend tours:
- Cycling clothes for two days
- Cycling shoes, helmet, gloves, sunglasses
- Off-bike clothes & shoes
- Toiletries, towel, shower shoes
- Spare tubes (in addition to 1 or 2 carried on the bike)
- Floor pump (to pump up tires before the rides)
- Camping gear
- Lawn or camp chair
- Food for potluck
- Sports drink, soft drinks, etc.
- Eating and serving utensils and plates, cups, bowls
- Emergency food to carry on bike (Power Bars, etc.)
- Money for food & drink on the ride
- Medicine you take regularly or might need in an emergency (inhalers, epinephrine, etc)
- Glasses if you need ’em (a spare pair is also a good idea for those who need them to drive)