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Members of the Mountain Bike Club of the Wichitas scale the rough, rugged terrain of the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge outside of Medicine Park. The group embarks on these rugged rides each Saturday morning.The Mountain Bike Club of the Wichitas begins the first leg of its weekly trek around the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge, starting at the base of the Lake Lawtonka dam.The group is open to the public and meets between 8-9 a.m. each Saturday.Between 20 to 30 men and women make up the Mountain Bike Club of the Wichitas, which tours Medicine Park and the surrounding area each Saturday.

For the love of biking

Group gathers to hit trails in refuge

Low-hanging clouds shroud Mount Scott overlooking Medicine Park on a cool Saturday morning. The sun has barely cleared the ridge when a group of men and women begin to pull into Medicine Park. Their trucks, cars and SUVs pull into the Main Stage gravel parking lot, kicking up a cloud of warm, white exhaust against the cold air. They've come from all over the state  Lawton, Duncan, Altus, Newcastle, Oklahoma City and farther. They all have one thing in common  their love of biking.

"I do love riding in Oklahoma City," said newcomer Jennifer Prince. "We saw this on the Internet and thought it would be a great way to see the area down here."

Prince and her husband drove down from south Oklahoma City to participate in the Mountain Bike Club of the Wichitas. The ragtag group has no real membership, nor any fees or requirements for joining. Everyone is welcome to come and go as they please. Each Saturday morning the group gathers in the parking lot across from Cobblestone Row, where they drink coffee, share stories and laughs and check their equipment before hitting the trial. 

"We just enjoy biking," said group founder Mark Ellis, owner of Basecamp Adventure Outfitters. "Anyone can participate. All they have to do is show up."

On this morning, temperatures are in the low 30s as the individual members gather in the lot. A pair of large docile dogs owned by two of the regular members run around, playing with each other while their owners check their equipment. J.B. Shoopman crouches behind his vehicle, rotating the front wheel of his bike to ensure everything is working properly before taking it out on the trail. Shoopman, who has earned the nickname of "The Beast" from his fellow bikers, is one of the oldest members of the group. 

The Lawton Constitution

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