Four Northwest Arkansas Cities Ranked in PlacesForBikes Top 25 // Monument Trails Coming Soon // The Mobility Leadership Network // Runway Bike Park // Upcoming Events // Related Reads
Cover photo by @visitbentonvilleracing on Instagram
One of the Nation’s Top Bike Regions
It bears repeating, four cities (Bentonville, Fayetteville, Springdale and Bella Vista) in Northwest Arkansas were ranked in the Top 25 by PeopleforBikes based on overall city ratings derived from five categories: Ridership, safety, the cycling network, the cycling network’s reach, and the acceleration of cycling programs and infrastructure. Additionally, Rogers and Siloam Springs finished in the Top 75. To put this in context, PlacesForBikes measured the current state of bicycling in 511 cities throughout the United States.
”Through extraordinary and varied mountain bike riding, innovative build techniques by some of the nation’s best trail builders, and the unique terrain and topography of the Arkansas State Parks, Monument Trails will be truly special.Monument Trails Press Release
More World-Class Mountain Biking Trails
Shortly after the PeopleForBikes announcement, the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation (APRF) announced that several mountain biking trails merging world-class riding with architecture, art and nature, are set to open in several state parks throughout Arkansas including both Hobbs State Park and Devil’s Den State Park in Northwest Arkansas. Named “Monument Trails”, the world-class mountain biking destinations will showcase the natural iconic beauty of the parks they are within while exemplifying the highest quality in craftsmanship, innovation and sustainability.
According to APRF, Arkansas’ first Monument Trail at Hobbs State Park is set to open to the public on Saturday, June 8th with an all-day party featuring group rides, bike demos from Orbea, a beer garden, and a community coalesced around cycling.
Hobbs State Park, Monument Trails
”From an ‘on the bike’ perspective, this is some of the most extraordinary singletrack in Arkansas, which means it's some of the most extraordinary singletrack in the entire Midwest. It manages to be everything at once: flowing, fast, dynamic, and truly different.Arkansas Parks and Recreation FoundationThe First Ride: Hobbs State Park Monument Trail
National Bike Month x The Mobility Leadership Network
The timing of these two announcements couldn’t have been better, coming right in the middle of National Bike Month. The month of awareness, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, encourages communities coast to coast to showcase the many benefits of bicycling in an effort to get more folks to give biking a try.
And this is exactly what our local bike advocates have been doing. BikeNWA, a lead advocate for biking in Northwest Arkansas, has been busy spreading the word about Bike to Work and Bike to School Days, operating morning commute stations, and hosting a series of Bike to Work parties and E-bike demonstrations. Check out all of the recent action by following @bikenwa on Instagram and/or joining the NWA Bike Challenge Facebook Group.
In addition, they recently rolled out a new leadership program. The Mobility Leadership Network is a program focused on increasing and educating new advocates in the area who will focus on bike-friendly projects of their choosing. The program consists of webinars and one in-person training session that will help someone with a passion to make change develop a plan to actually see it come to fruition. The first in-person training session will be on June 1st at Rogers Public Library. Two webinar recordings have been posted to their YouTube Channel, which you can find HERE. If you don’t already have a specific initiative you want to champion, this program will also help you find something to focus that bike friendly passion towards.
An Update on Runway Bike Park
Meanwhile, at the Jones Center, folks of all ages have been visiting the new bike park to hone their cycling skills. According to Ed Clifford, CEO of the Jones Center, 3,400 is the number of people who entered the gates of the Runway Bike Park in Springdale on a recent Tuesday. The park, which includes a state-of-the-art skills training, bicycle playgrounds and the largest asphalt pump track in North America, is helping aspiring riders of all ages and socio-economic levels learn the sport at an accessible, year-round and world-class training facility. Learn why the Runway Bike Park has become of our region’s proudest achievements in a blog post by the Walton Family Foundation below.
A Small Selection of Upcoming Events
In addition to the number of young people getting involved, the surest way to measure the health of a bike ecosystem is to count the number of cycling-related events taking place throughout a community. Thanks to folks like BikeNWA, OORC, Ozark Cycling Adventures, and many others—you can find countless community events, races, and group rides taking place throughout the region. Here are a few:
May 23rd, 2019 // OORC Variety Ride – Fitzgerald (Springdale)
OORC Variety Rides are beginner-friendly mountain bike group rides featuring trails in and around Northwest Arkansas. This one will take place on Fitzgerald Mountain in Sprindale.
May 30th, 2019 // OORC Variety Ride – Wedington (Fayetteville)
A second OORC Variety Ride taking place in Fayetteville.
May 30th, 2019 // Bike Friendly Rogers
Hosted by BikeNWA, spend some time with likeminded bike people and talk about how we can improve safety for people on bikes in Rogers.
June 1st, 2019 // Women of Oz Group Ride (Bentonville)
Join Women of Oz for their monthly ride Saturday, June 1st at 2pm from the Downtown Activity Center located at 215 SW “A” Street in Bentonville. They will have ride leaders for skill levels between Beginner to Advanced.
June 2nd, 2019 // Open Streets Bentonville
Hosted by BikeNWA, Open Streets promote healthy, active living through a series of free events held across the region opening the city’s largest public space –its streets –to the non-motorized public in order to walk, bike, skate, and discover active transportation.
June 5th, 2019 // Bike Month Wrap-up & DRAFT (Springdale)
The wrap up party for The NWA Bike Month Challenge + DRAFT, a meetup series that taps into people who love bikes, biz and beer.
June 8th, 2019 // Grand Opening – Hobbs State Park, Monument Trails (Rogers)
As mentioned above, the opening of the very first Monument Trails will be a full-on festival and will include Orbea mountain bikes to borrow and more.
June 10th-12th, 2019 // IMBA Trail Labs Event (Bentonville)
Trail Labs are intensive two-day workshops designed to catalyze the next generation of great places to ride mountain bikes. Community stakeholders are encouraged to attend to learn about the benefits of investing in more trails close to home.
June 14th, 2019 // Artosphere Trail Mix (Fayetteville)
Artosphere’s signature event, Trail Mix returns to the Frisco Trail with live art and music, and activities for kids and families!
June 15th, 2019 // Allied Cycle Works Bentonville Grand Opening + Gravel Ride
Join Allied Cycle Works for a day of bikes, food, drink, music, art and community. The day will include three different distance mixed surface rides. You’ll get to experience all that the Bentonville area has to offer – pavement, gravel, and smooth singletrack.
Discover and read about some of the other people, projects, and initiatives fueling our bike culture.
MTB legend and Hall of Famer, Nat Ross, collaborates with Bike Rack Brewing and New Belgium to produce the Rebel 29er Hoppy Pilsner. Check out the video HERE.
Read a recent blog post entitled “Cycling for Sanity in a Crazy Busy World” by Worth Sparkman, Senior Manager, Public Relations at Tyson Foods on the challenges and payoffs that come with biking to work HERE.
Thaden School was named a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business from the League of American Bicyclists becoming the first secondary school in Arkansas to receive the honor.
Two students at Fayetteville High School created an arm to help a younger student ride is bike. Check out the story HERE.
Phase 1 of Dean’s Trail in Springdale is complete and Phase 2 is now in the works. Learn more HERE.
Ryan Hale, founder of LaneShift, has been working with local developers to ensure new developments are bike friendly and to expand existing bike infrastructure in the region. He was recently interviewed by Specialized Real Estate, check out the interview HERE.