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The Best Bicycle Groups and Trails in Oklahoma City

Remember the freedom you felt as a child when you hopped on your bike, pedaled down the street and let the wind hit your face? That childhood joy isn’t just for kids. Today, millions of adults and children still revel in the fun of bike riding both for pleasure and for health.

If you haven’t been on a bicycle since you were a kid, now is the time to try it out again. May is National Bike Month, held in conjunction with the League of American Bicyclists, and it’s a great time to support your local OKC bikers and help new bicyclists try biking or trail riding for the first time.

In central Oklahoma, bicyclists have a wide choice of trails to explore on two wheels and riding groups to join. So, grab your bike helmet, strap on those shoes and let’s get riding!

Health benefits of biking

Whether you bike to work or school, pump those pedals to preserve your health or the environment, or to simply have fun, National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride.

One of the best reasons to ride is the fact that it’s good for you. According to Harvard Health, riding a bicycle on a regular basis isn’t just easy on the joints, it also gives you an aerobic workout.

But if you think biking is just cardio, you’re wrong. Biking builds muscles and strengthens major muscle groups such as the quads, buttocks, calves and hamstrings, as well as your core and arms. The benefits of biking also carry over to balance, walking, standing, endurance and stair climbing while increasing bone density.

While pedaling has its obvious physical benefits, it’s also great for your mental well-being. Having just half an hour of daily exercise has been shown to improve a person’s mood, and a long-term study of adults in Alameda County, California determined that high levels of physical activity led to a significantly decreased risk of developing clinical depression later in life.

Because biking is generally done outdoors (except for stationary bikes and spin classes), you’ll get those natural mood boosters from nature, too. Multiple studies have shown outdoor physical activity boosts feelings of revitalization and energy while decreasing feelings of tension, anger and depression.

How to get started in biking

Oklahoma has several biking communities and groups open to sharing the adventure. Oklahoma City also hosts group rides at various times and locations. Check out Oklahoma Bicycle Society’s weekly group ride events or The Bike Lab’s community group rides. Schlegel Bicycle also hosts community rides.

Some bike clubs are open to beginners and advanced cyclists alike. Here’s a list.

Bicycle tourism is also a great way to explore your city. Ride OKC lets you experience downtown Oklahoma City with bike tours and rentals with insight into the city’s unique history, art, architecture, craft beer and local food. Or, hop on one of the Spokies rental bikes located throughout the city to explore and enjoy.

Where to ride in Oklahoma City

If you’re new to biking, Oklahoma City has miles of beginner trails and lots of groups to help you on your new pedaling path.

The Bert Cooper Trails around Lake Hefner are some favorite paths for both beginner and advanced bikers. Circling around Lake Hefner between NW Grand Boulevard and Hefner Road, the Bert Cooper Trails have 9.8 miles of asphalt and concrete multi-use paths, perfect for building your skills.

The Lightning Creek Trail runs 6.6 miles from the Oklahoma River to I-240 and largely consists of on-street bicycle lanes. There is parking available at Oliver Park and Draper Park.

The Will Rogers Trail closes the 8-mile gap between the Bert Cooper Trails at Lake Hefner and the Oklahoma River Trails, allowing for one safe, continuous ride. This is an asphalt trail with a concrete barrier.

More advanced bikers can get off-road and tackle challenging trails such as the 3.6-mile loop through Bluff Creek Park on N. Hefner Road.

The 7.3-mile Katy Trail is an adventure that runs from Washington Park at 400 N. High Ave to NE Grand Boulevard up to NE 50th Street and the City's Adventure District. This path parallels the old Katy Railway line and is mostly dedicated biking trails.

Mountain bikers can hit up the dusty paths at Lake Stanley Draper’s Draper Trail, a 6.8-mile single track with a series of loops, ranging in experience and difficulty.

Of course, always check with your doctor when starting a new physical activity. Those with osteoporosis or brittle bones should especially consult with a doctor since fall risks are a hazard. But, the benefits of biking are as endless as the trails you can find. For even more info, check out our guide to biking in Oklahoma City.