Red’s Ride

If you don’t know Red Clark, the Oklahoma Asphalt Pavement Association (OAPA) wants you to meet him

Red is the president of Asphalt Plus, LLC.  Asphalt Plus is a member of  OAPA, and they are providing dry process rubber (engineered crumb rubber or ECR)  to asphalt producers here in Oklahoma, OAPA President, Larry Patrick said.

In his spare time, Red rides a bike, and he rides a lot.  He is a three-time Trans-America rider—Boston to Los Angeles, Portland, OR to New York City, and San Diego, CA to St. Augustine, Florida—with a dozen half-continent rides thrown in for good measure.

What most people don’t know about Red’s Ride is that many of those rides were built to raise money for various charities.  Some of those charities include Wounded Warriors, special needs children and engineering educational programs. Over the years, Red’s Ride has raised almost a quarter of a million dollars for those charities.

This summer, Red is at it again, riding across the U.S. in pieces this time and using it to raise money for asphalt-related college scholarships while calling attention to the use of ECR in asphalt pavements.

Starting point: Oklahoma, to raise money for OAPA’a asphalt scholarship endowment.  OAPA and Red’s Ride are partnering in the fundraiser where 100 percent of all donations will be added to the OAPA Asphalt Educational Endowment Fund.  Red will ride Historic Route 66 from Texola, OK to Joplin, MO starting on July 3 and finishing on July 8th and Larry Patrick has already guaranteed that all pavements will be warmed up and ready for the riders.

Why Oklahoma?  The Oklahoma Department of Transportation  (DOT)  has written a specification and has put rubber pavement down at both the National Center For Asphalt Technology ( NCAT) test track in Lee, Alabama and on the Oklahoma highway system. With a state approved road mix design for using  ground tire rubber now in place in Oklahoma, multiple city, state and federal agencies are now fully behind the effort to use more ground tire rubber (GTR) in asphalt, Clark said.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)  is providing financial support in building out the supply chain. Oklahoma’s  Native American Nations are considering use in their roads.  Oklahoma City is adding dry process ECR to its specifications and is now letting work.  Multiple cities and counties are following and there is  strong support from the environmental community.  The university community is supporting the effort with ongoing research.

“This is the template we want to use across the U.S., but the model needs to expand to include a broader industry community,” Clark said.

And that’s where the story goes deeper. It’s a story that began more than eight years ago, led by future thinking OK DEQ scrap tire program managers and staff who identified the underutilization of scrap tires in asphalt and the need to explore how to integrate Oklahoma tires into the supply chain.

It’s  a story about how the Oklahoma DEQ used the collaborative process for a market development initiative that resulted in a three-tiered county road demonstration project consisting of a literature review, construction, and testing and evaluation. It’s a story about a collaborative project that brought together the  University of Oklahoma, ODOT, Oklahoma Asphalt Pavement Association, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), contractors and suppliers.  It’s the backstory for the template Red’s Ride is promoting and the OAPA is supporting.
“I want to do whatever I can to help the next generation of engineers implement more recycling in pavements,” Clark said.  “I’m trying to bind a number of communities together in a shared effort to make rubber asphalt happen (quickly) throughout the paving industry.

With Red’s Ride, Clark is looking to expand the communities supporting this effort and has reached out to the Tire Industry Association (TIA ) asking for their support in getting the word out to TIA members, particularly those in Oklahoma, both to solicit support for The Ride and to make sure retailers are aware of efforts being made to establish sustainable avenues for recycling their scrap tires. There are no tire manufacturers in the state, but the tire retailers have a huge stake in making this effort a success.

“We are crafting a model and a high value applications and markets for scrap tires that support the environmental goals and continued health of the tire retailers,” Clark said.

Engaging the retailers further links the entire supply chain together, and it gives the tire and tire recycling industries  leverage in the event that there are political/environmental battles ahead.  This ride is a small part of a larger effort to build a stronger coalition in pursuit of this recycling opportunity and improve the quality of life in cities, towns and communities across the country with durable, cost-saving, high performing safe roads.

Be A Part Of Red’s Ride

Champion future asphalt-related engineers with your donation.

Support Red Clark as he bikes across Route 66 to raise funds for the OAPA Educational Fund Endowment.

You can sponsor Red’s Route 66 Education Ride today by going to
Click on the green donate button to fill out a donation form.

Red is doing the 2022 Red’s Ride in segments that kick off July 3 in Oklahoma and will continue with fundraising open throughout the summer.

You can follow Red on his blog page on OAPA’s website

Red promises fun facts, historical trivia and some rubber asphalt education along the way.

© Scrap Tire News, July 2022