By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Every year, many Stillwater residents take advantage of the bike trails at Lake McMurtry. A group of bicycling advocates is hoping to raise enough money to care for those trails and continue to make them available to the public.
The Red Dirt Pedalers will hold the 10th Annual Lake McMurtry Trail Benefit Chili Bike event Feb. 17. The event begins at 9 a.m.
Red Dirt Pedalers’ Treasurer Mary Cash said this is the only fundraiser the group holds every year.
“For the past 15 years, the Red Dirt Pedalers have been the club that has maintained the trails at Lake McMurty,” she said.
The group mows and weeds trails, sprays for poison ivy and trims back branches.
“Over the course of the year we will spend money on hand tools and signs,” Cash said.
The group maintains the 27 miles of the four multi-purpose trails. Cash said they could always use more funds.
“The minimum we can survive on for a year is $2,000,” she said.
Other costs are associated with maintaining the trails.
“In order to be on the lake property with our tools, we actually have our own insurance,” Cash said. “The city requires us to have our own insurance.”
That can cost an additional $600 a year.
This year’s event will feature two mountain bike events — the challenge and the ultimate challenge. The challenge includes riding all four trails in six hours. The ultimate challenge includes riding the four trails and the road from west to east and back again — a total of 37 miles in six hours.
There will also be a road bike event with distances of 22, 44 and 66 miles which begins at 10:30 a.m. This event will be canceled if the roads become icy or temperatures drop below 40 degrees.
Cash said the number of those who complete the challenges and events depends on the weather. However, those who complete certain challenges get colored shirts signifying their accomplishment.
Registration starts at 9 a.m. on the west side of Lake McMurtry. Pre-registration can be completed at www.reddirtpedalers.org. The cost is $25 per rider, which includes a T-shirt and lunch.
There is no daily lake fee charge to attend the event. Day of the event registration is $30.
“It’s an event, not a race and you can ride a little bit or you can ride a lot,” Cash said.
Lunch, served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., will include homemade items such as soup, chili, stew, hot dogs and hot links.
Cash expects the turnout to depend on conditions.
“It runs from about 25 people in really bad weather to about 225 people in good weather,” Cash said.
For more information, call 372-2525.