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2011 Ride

Pedaling Through Oil Country

Day 51: After treating us to breakfast, my friend Wayne Walker shuttled us back to District Bicycles in downtown Stillwater, where Bobby met us early to repair Ron’s bike (and replace a tube on my trike) at next to no charge. While waiting, got dialed in at the Aspen Coffee Company for a free mocha (thanks, guys), then dialed up the News Press, which came down to the store for an interview. Here’s part one of their two part piece: http://tinyurl.com/7my8nlu. If you find yourself in Stillwater, OK, drop into District Bicycles. Bobby & Crystal are building real community, one bike at a time.

The 30 mile ride to Cushing, OK was cold and overcast. We were greeted on the edge of town by a large, roadside pipeline display declaring Cushing as the “Pipeline Crossroads of the World.” In town, dialed the editor of the local paper to pitch the ride, only to be told, “You do realize our paper is pro-Keystone pipeline,” to which I responded, “You do report both sides of the story, right?” That gave him pause, but not enough to want to do an interview. So we went in search of the Keystone XL Cushing Delivery Center (where TransCanada wants to hook up their existing pipeline to their hoped for Cushing to Houston link).

This took us miles down country roads into a massive labyrinth of oil tank farms stretching as far as the eye could see. With the stench of gas permeating the air, we pedaled through one of the world’s largest oil storage facilities, reported to hold up to 5 to 10 percent of total U.S. crude inventory. We may or may not have found the precise hook-in point for Keystone XL (there were no signs to indicate either way), but the locale fit the description we had been given, there were what looked like 36″ sections of pipe stacked up, and a surveyor was doing work on newly graded ground. Upon finding our way out of the take farm maze, we rolled further down the road, encountering more aggressive drivers in one afternoon than I’ve encountered in my entire life (really hoping that’s an anomaly). 61 miles later, rolled into the little town of Stroud just before dark, in a cold, drizzling mist.

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