The inaugural Cycle 66, a first-of-its-kind urban and rural bicycling tour and festival along historic Route 66, is set for November 2021, with diverse cycling routes showcasing the Mother Road via starting and finishing lines in vibrant downtown Edmond, Oklahoma.
The Nov. 7, 2021, tour and festival is a charitable event that seeks to raise the area’s profile as a recreation destination while highlighting one of America’s most famous roads.
“Oklahoma’s love of cycling, Route 66 and family fun all comes together with Cycle 66,” Cycle 66 founder Mike Osburn, an Edmond businessman and civic booster, said in a news release. “Whether you’re a competitive cyclist, started biking as a pandemic distraction, or just like fun and food, Cycle 66 is for you. We are thrilled Edmond is getting in on the action of Route 66, a national attraction we are privileged to have as a part of our community.”
Organizers unveiled Cycle 66 on Wednesday, the anniversary of Route 66’s establishment in 1926. Routes will be revealed at a registration event and “Get Your Kicks Party” in downtown Edmond on May 16. Cycle 66’s title sponsor is OU Health.
“Cycle 66 offers cyclists three distances to enjoy and the rest of us a chance to cheer them on at a family-friendly festival showcasing all downtown Edmond has to offer,” said Jennifer Seaton, director of Visit Edmond. “Hosting events like Cycle 66 will motivate visitors to spend the weekend in Edmond to dine, shop and play.”
Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, the state’s secretary of tourism and branding, predicted Cycle 66 will be a major addition to the ongoing Route 66 renaissance in Oklahoma, home to the longest drivable stretch of the road – more than 400 miles – in the country.
“Oklahoma is leading the nation in Route 66 tourism as the Mother Road approaches its 100th anniversary, and dynamic events like Cycle 66 are one reason why,” Pinnell said. “Cycle 66 promotes active lifestyles and family fun while honoring the nostalgia and legacy of this iconic highway, its deep connection to the culture of Edmond and central Oklahoma, and Oklahoma’s effort to reimagine this national treasure for a new generation.”
Pinnell, a cyclist, added: “Cycle 66 is a dream for people like me who love cycling, cherish Route 66 and believe in Oklahoma’s potential as a recreation and tourism destination. I can’t wait to join Oklahomans on the Cycle 66 course for the first year of what I expect will become a tradition for years to come.”
Visit cycle66ok.com and follow #cycle66 and @cycle66OK on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates and more about registration at the “Get Your Kicks Party” in downtown Edmond on May 16.
All three routes will include plentiful support and gear, relief wagons, signage, rest stops, first aid stations and critical traffic control.
● 10-Mile Family Route: This leisurely ride best for families and recreational riders showcases downtown Edmond, public art, the University of Central Oklahoma campus and the community’s best parks and bike paths.
● 33-Mile Intermediate Route: This moderate ride for intermediate and recreational riders who like a challenge begins in Edmond, then dips south to the State Capitol. Riders will enjoy the “Party at the Turn” powered by OU Health before cycling back to downtown Edmond.
● 66-Mile Advanced Route: This ride for advanced and intermediate riders looking to push the distance travels through five communities including Edmond, Oklahoma City, Jones, Luther and Arcadia, featuring the nostalgia and thrill of the Mother Road up close and personal.
Cycle 66 is governed by Cycle 66 Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit, in partnership with the City of Edmond, the State of Oklahoma, Visit Edmond and title sponsor OU Health, and all Route 66 stakeholders.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit Autumn Life Behavioral Health Center, a dedicated geriatric psychiatry inpatient program at OU Health Edmond Medical Center that addresses the needs of mature adults ages 55 and over. Other proceeds will benefit the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting and preserving Route 66 statewide.
“The mental health of our senior citizens has been especially challenged during the coronavirus pandemic. Route 66 is an irreplaceable asset that is part of our country’s heritage. Cycle 66 is honored to partner with these two organizations to make a positive difference for Oklahoma senior citizens and our community’s culture,” Osburn said.
(Image of the Cycle 66 logo via Facebook)