“I haven’t seen this many cars in Frederick since the 1950’s”
The remark came from an elderly Frederick resident as he looked up and down Main Street this past Saturday afternoon.
Oklahoma FreeWheel had come to town and everybody turned out to see just what it was all about.
“What it was” were bicycles…and tricycles and quadcycles and upright bicycles and recumbent bicycles. There probably was even a unicycle or two around somewhere.
And if you are going to have all those cycles, you’re going to have to have someone to ride them and they were here, too…over 800 of them. Some said over a thousand of them. And they were all right here in Frederick, Oklahoma.
So what is Oklahoma FreeWheel?
Oklahoma FreeWheel is the nation’s second longest-running cross-state tour, traversing a different area of the state each year. It generally follows a south to north route to take advantage of the prevailing winds, and is not a race. The ride is limited to 1000 participants, who stay in host communities along the route. Part of the entry fee goes back to the communities that host the riders.
2012 marks the 34th edition of Oklahoma’s premier bicycle touring event.
So did it just appear there were more than a thousand new faces in Frederick?
Friends and families follow the ride in more comfortable transportation.
That means not only are participants in the ride in attendance, so are their supporters.
The host communities benefit from the influx of people all looking for someplace to eat or buy supplies or, for their supports, someplace to buy gasoline.
All this is without a doubt an economic plus for local merchants, but in addition there was one thing Frederick earned this weekend that money cannot buy…the respect and gratitude of the riders.
More than one person said that of all the towns the ride has visited over its 34-year history, no community extended a warmer welcome to the cyclists than Frederick did.
The decorated bicycles, the signs and the fellowship provided for the overnighters.
And the enthusiasm the community provided for this unique event.
The Oklahoma FreeWheel likes to have a different starting point each year, but you can rest assured Frederick is going to be at the top of suggested sites for a long time to come.