I was planning on visiting some relatives that live in Dallas in the coming month and we were thinking of taking a trip up to Oklahoma for a weekend. Does anyone know of any good road-cycling routes? We were hoping to stay in SE, S, or SW Oklahoma for the duration of the trip. It would be nice to not have to drive all the way to Arkansas to ride mountains also, but I am not sure OK has any rider-friendly routes?
The state highways in the Tulsa area would be your best bet. For some reason, probably demand, the state highways in the Tulsa area have full lane-width shoulders. You can see hundreds of riders in the West Tulsa area in the late afternoon. By Oklahoma standards, it passes for hilly. The 11-mile loop around Lake Hefner would be your best bet in OKC, although it is in no way mountainous. Would be interested to hear about your travels at my message board http://www.okcforem.com
Tulsa is outside your preferred zone, though we do have some hills around here- more so on the western Tulsa County, NE Creek County, and pretty much all of Osage County (NW of Tulsa). Some in the city limits of Tulsa, but I wouldn't describe them as ideal cycling.
You might try plugging towns in the area you're wanting to stay into bikely.com and see if anything turns up. Seems the last time I went to the Big D along I 35 there were some hills around or south of Pauls Valley.
For "mountains", look up the Talimena Scenic Byway. Watch the weather, though, and watch supply/water points on the route.
^ there's your answer. Park at the small town of Talihina, or camp and one of the Ouachita national forest campgrounds. Bring low gears, expect repeated 1km + pitches above 12%. Very few or no services / water / stores on most of the roads.
The OK department of transportation has a map showing the daily traffic counts for all of the state highways. Since very few have shoulders, this is probably the best way to tell how good of a bike route a particular highway is. That said, the best bike routes in rural areas are often the more major of the county roads, especially if you can handle a bit of gravel. A particularly good route that I have found is about 70 miles (only about 2 miles of it dirt, and that good-condition hardpack) around Lake Tenkiller. It's pretty obvious which roads that is on Google maps.