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Want to start cycling? Check out Tulsa's trails and riding groups

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Various studies find that biking strengthens the immune system and boosts longevity, and that frequent cyclists are less likely to develop osteoarthritis. One study found that people who cycled one hour per week were 22% less likely to die prematurely.

(Of course, plenty of bicyclists are injured each year in motor vehicle crashes. Research shows it’s safer to bike on trails or paths separated from traffic.)

But if you talk to any cyclist, they’ll often say it isn’t just the health benefits that keep them pedaling.

NPR correspondent Bill Chappell reflected on how cycling helps him depressurize and think: “Leaning over my handlebars, I've come to terms with setbacks and made plans for the future. It's where I realized I should propose to my wife. It's where I mourned my mother. And now it's where I think about my own kids.”

Want to try cycling? Listen to NPR Life Kit’s episode about getting started. Try renting one to test your biking skills and see if you enjoy riding. This Machine bicycles are scattered across the city, and you can pay as you go.

Riding trails around town

Once you’re all set, it’s off to the races, or trails.

River Parks Trails, fully paved paths with pedestrian and cycling lanes, run along the Arkansas River from 11th Street to 101st Street. You’ll frequently see cyclists (on your left!) cruising along the shady paths throughout the day.

River Parks Authority

Nearby, the Midland Valley Trail snakes through neighborhoods outside downtown Tulsa. More than three miles in length, this paved trail eventually intersects with River Parks East and West Bank trails for those seeking a longer ride.

Going beyond Tulsa, the Osage Prairie Trail extends more than 15 miles between Tulsa to Skiatook. With trailheads in downtown Sperry, Skiatook, OSU Tulsa and more, cycle through this tree-enclosed trail for a daily commute or weekend jaunt.

The Liberty Parkway Trail takes you east and west through Broken Arrow in a 9.5 mile curve. Beginning at New Orleans (101st) Street, the trail eventually meets the Mingo Trail near the Creek Turnpike.

And for adventurous cycling, check out the mountain biking trails at Turkey Mountain, Lubell Park and Bales Park.

For more riding paths, see the full Tulsa Area Trails Map HERE.

Local cycling clubs

Want to find some cycling mates? Join one of Tulsa’s many cycling clubs!

There’s Saint Francis Tulsa Tough Divas, an all-female cycling group that caters to different levels of cyclists; various cycling groups and weekly rides with Tulsa Bicycle Club; Oklahoma Flyers, a junior cycling program; one-off group rides with Phat Tire Bike Shop and many more.

Tour de Tulsa

To put your biking passion to work, volunteer with Bike Club, a local nonprofit that serves elementary school students with after-school bike rides and skills-building workshops. Started in 2014 by two biking enthusiasts, Bike Club now serves 33 Tulsa Public Schools with learning programs and group rides.

And if you want to see your kids or grandchildren biking too, take inspiration from this mother in Edmond, OK who organized a bike bus for the school commute. She bikes with her children, their classmates and other parents from their homes to school.

Whether you're a bike enthusiast or cycling novice, a solo rider or part of a pack, there's plenty of ways to ride in Tulsa. Just make sure to wear a helmet.

This story was originally shared in PRT's arts-and-culture newsletter Our Town. Subscribe here to get these stories first.

Julianne was Public Radio Tulsa's Development Associate from June 2022-2024. She authored the station's newsletters, managed social media and planned events.