Cycling enthusiasts met in downtown Tulsa Saturday night as the 2013 Oklahoma FreeWheel route was announced. As they chowed down on pizza - that traditional bicycling fuel - ride organizers revealed this year's ride will begin in Idabel and end in Joplin, Mo.
Towns on the road map of the 35th annual ride across Oklahoma include Antlers, Talihina, Warner, Tahlequah, Pryor and Miami. Cyclists can sign up for half the week or the entire Freewheel experience of about 500 miles in seven days, June 9 - 15.
Doug Thompson started riding six months ago and wants to "take it to the next level" with FreeWheel.
"I've always heard about FreeWheel, so we thought we'd give it a try this year," he said.
Thompson is most looking forward to cycling through scenic Oklahoma and getting to see some of the smaller towns from a two-wheeled perspective.
Communities along the way open their arms to bicyclists who range in age from the very young to the young at heart. Meals and showers are provided for those who choose to camp. Trailers haul camping gear from one stop to the next.
A series of seminars to help prepare for those new to FreeWheel begin Tuesday, February 5 in Tulsa.
Rides will also begin this spring to help riders work up to the 30-100 mile daily distances. Check with Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Bartlesville bicycling clubs for times and locations.