I used to ride a bike everywhere as a kid, but it was never for sport. It was for freedom. I got into cycling because my knees got tired of running. I would always see cyclists pass me and remember how much I loved bikes. So I bought one and stopped running, and it spiraled from there.
In 2016, Governor Hutchinson said he wanted Arkansas to be known as “the cycling hub of the South.” That doesn’t seem far-fetched, considering the infrastructure in place already and ongoing developments. We’ve got five “epic” mountain bike trails, tied with Colorado for the second-most in the country, and the bike-loving grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton seem dedicated to making Northwest Arkansas an international destination for mountain biking.
Dave Roberts comes to cycling with a slightly different perspective than most riders. “It’s my hobby, and it’s my passion,” the Maumelle-based urban planner said, “and it’s my profession.” And, as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling as well as the Little Rock Bike Friendly committee, it’s also pretty much his avocation as well. At this point, one could say cycling is his life and his life is cycling.
It’s 2019. Female stereotypes have as much place in our world as floppy disks and Blockbuster video stores. The concept of women now being in places they haven’t previously been is becoming commonplace. Women are running Fortune 500 companies and piloting shuttles into space.
With trail construction exploding across the state, it is a great time to be a mountain bike rider in The Natural State. New trails and major expansions to existing trails are announced so often it’s difficult for cyclists to keep up. It’s a great problem to have.
Thanks to a schoolteacher from Russellville, bike-packers and other cyclists can follow a 1,200-mile trail that will take them from the Ozarks to the Ouachitas. The first official ride on what is now called the High Country Trail is set for June 8, and the schoolteacher — cyclist Chuck Campbell — and his River Valley chapter of the Ozark Off-Road Cyclists are sponsors.
With money from a five-year, $3.2 million State Physical Activity and Nutrition Program grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has hired Crafton Tull to do a feasibility study on creating a U.S. Bicycle Route from West Memphis to Little Rock.
Chainwheel owner Bruce Thalheimer is selling the bicycle store to Trek Bicycle Corp. of Wisconsin. “After a great deal of consideration, we’ve decided the time has come to take a new and exciting step,” Thalheimer said in a statement. “We found a new partner in Trek Bicycle who will take what we’ve created here and build on it, continuing to serve the community in even bigger and better ways, while sticking to the same core principles of treating people like family and delivering outstanding customer services.
The Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department is finalizing plans to lay a 10-foot-wide concrete bike/pedestrian path within Allsopp Park to connect the Kavanaugh Road Promenade in Hillcrest to the park’s asphalt path that runs parallel to Cedar Hill Road.
The Wampoo Roadeo, an annual charity ride in Central Arkansas held in June this year, just completed its 11th ride. It’s raised more than $57,000 in that time for the Marilyn Fulper Memorial Fund, which was created to honor the Little Rock cyclist, who was killed while riding her bike in 2010 when a driver ran a red light.
Cyclists have another reason to thank the forward-thinking folks at the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation: The new Monument Trail at Mount Nebo State Park, which opened July 27. The trail’s 7-mile Chickalah Loop, for intermediate mountain bike riders, includes berms and (optional) advanced gaps and jumps in an area of Nebo that has not previously been accessible.
Van Buren is planning to build nearly 42 miles of bike lanes, along with new sidewalks and shared-use areas, to provide more transportation alternatives in the city, a recent article in the Southwest Times Record reports.
The city collaborated with Frontier Metropolitan Planning Organization to draw up The Van Buren Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.