M A G A Z I N E
ISSUE NO. 11 | 2019 #EXPERIENCEARKANSAS BIKEARKANSASMEDIA.COM
AWITHTRAIL A VIEW RIDING WITH DAVE ROBERTS
Mountain biking’s growing popularity with women cyclists
The state’s top trail builders
making memories since 1958.
1777 river road | lakeview, arkansas 870-431-5202 | firstname.lastname@example.org gastons.com | lat 36 20’ 55” n | long 92 33’ 25” w
2 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
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IN THIS ISSUE 8
Dave Roberts on cyclist safety.
How advocates and planners are working to make it easier for people to use bikes for transportation. By Lindsey Millar
Husband-and-wife Neil and Katy Simmons only get comments about their legs when they wear heels.
FROM THE GUEST EDITOR
State officials are working to establish a U.S. Bicycle Route from West Memphis to Little Rock.
Dan Myers loves his fast Guru bike, is evangelical about Kask helmets and recommends Mercury wheels for larger riders.
MY TRAIL, MY TOWN
Cycling is planner Dave Robertsâ€™ hobby and job. By Stephen Koch 4 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
THE NEXT PHASE
BLAZING THE TRAILS Progressive Trail Design, Rogue Trails, Rock Solid, Affordable Trail Solutions and Fast Rack are putting in dirt work. By Bob Robinson
WOMEN OF OZ
A new all-female mountain bike group in Bentonville is growing by leaps and bounds. By Lindsay Southwick
ON THE COVER
Dave Roberts in Emerald Park Photography by Rett Peek.
ARKANSAS’ PREMIER CYCLING EVENT ARKANSAS’ ARKANSAS’ PREMIER PREMIER CYCLING CYCLING EVENT EVENT ARKANSAS’ PREMIER CYCLING EVENT
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2019 jersey available: jersey REGISTER AT BIGDAMBRIDGE100.COM2019 2019 Big Dam available: Bridge 100 medal, 2019 Big Dam the ride sponsored by first Bridge 100 medal, -at the the official ride sEcurity and sponsored byisfirst merchandise booth -at the official awarded to all sEcurity and is in thebooth Expo • merchandise finishers. awarded to all -at packet pick up• in the Expo finishers. after the -at packet pickride up -at Center the Finale after the Fest ride Expo & Packet Pick-up - Statehouse Convention -at the Finale Fest Expo - Statehouse Convention Expo & & Packet Packet Pick-up Pick-up Statehouse Convention Center Center 10:00 -AM - 8:00 PM Expo & Packet - to Statehouse Convention Center 10:00 -- 8:00 PM All riders are Pick-up required up their 10:00 AM AMpick 8:00 PM own packets. All to up 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM own All riders riders are are required required to pick pick up their their own packets. packets. All riders are required to pick up their own packets.
EVENT SCHEDULE 2019 EVENT SCHEDULE 2019 EVENT SCHEDULE 2019
SEPTEMBER 27, 2019 SEPTEMBER SEPTEMBER 27, 27, 2019 2019 SEPTEMBER 2019 EVENT ARKANSAS’ PREMIER 27, CYCLING ARKANSAS’ PREMIER CYCLING EVENT
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SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 REGISTER AT BIGDAMBRIDGE100.COM SEPTEMBER 28, SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 2019 5:00 - 6:30 AMSEPTEMBER 28, 2019
This ad is paid for with a combination of state funds and regional Heart of Arkansas funds. www.heartofarkansas.com This ad is paid for with a combination of state funds and regional Heart of Arkansas funds. www.heartofarkansas.com
BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 5
M A G A Z I N E
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From paved paths through city parks to rugged mountain bike trails to sharrows on most main roads, Conway is working to be one of the most bike-friendly cities in the state. If you don’t own a bike, you can rent a cruiser for up to a full day from one of five bike-share stations throughout town. And when you finish your ride, stop in to one of our local restaurants to refuel.
ROLAND R. GLADDEN Advertising Traffic Manager KATIE HASSELL Graphic Design/Social Media ROBERT CURFMAN IT Director LINDA PHILLIPS Billing/Collections ANITRA HICKMAN Circulation Director
For more information about Conway bike trails visit CycleConway.com.
CVB@ConwayArkansas.org ConwayArk.com 866.7CONWAY 6 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
ALAN LEVERITT President firstname.lastname@example.org Arkansas Times Limited Partnership 201 E. MARKHAM ST., SUITE 200 LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201 501-375-2985 All Contents © 2019 Bike Arkansas Magazine
DISCOVER THE TRAILS
of THE DIAMOND LAKES REGION The Diamond Lakes region is the only place in the state where you can access three of the state’s five IMBA EPIC trails, plus other great trails.
BOB ROBINSON enjoys all things
outdoors and is the author of three bicycle guidebooks, all of which can be purchased at spiritscreek.com.
CYCLING HUB OF THE SOUTH BRAND GUIDELINES
NORTHWOODS TRAILS — HOT SPRINGS
RETT PEEK can usually be found in
the saddle when he’s not behind the camera.
LAKE OUACHITA VISTA TRAIL (LOViT) Intermediate • 38 Miles Trailheads: Shangri La Blakely Dam Near: Mount Ida • Crystal Springs IRON MOUNTAIN TRAIL Beginner to Intermediate 21.5 Miles Near: Iron Mountain Resort & Marina • DeGray Lake
STEPHEN KOCH is an award-winning
journalist in both broadcasting and print. Author of the book “Louis Jordan: Son of Arkansas, Father of R&B,” he’s also writer/host of “Arkansongs,” heard on public radio stations all across Arkansas, in east Texas and Louisiana.
WOMBLE TRAIL Intermediate • 33 Miles Trailhead: Story Near: Mount Ida • Story HOT SPRINGS NORTHWOODS TRAILS Beginner to Advanced 16 Miles Trailhead: 300 Pineland Drive Near: Downtown Hot Springs
OUACHITA NATIONAL RECREATION TRAIL Intermediate to Advanced 108 Miles Near: Hot Springs Village Added Bonus: Camping Shelters every 10 miles
CEDAR GLADES PARK TRAILS 10 miles Trailhead: 461 Wildcat Road Near: Hot Springs
Visit HotSprings.org to request a free Hot Springs/Diamond Lakes Vacation Guide. This ad is paid for with a combination of state funds and private regional association funds. BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 7
FROM THE GUEST EDITOR
eing guest editor of Bike Arkansas allows me an opportunity to write about rider safety, which I think is the most pressing issue facing cycling in Arkansas and surrounding states. In recent weeks, a vehicle fatally struck a cyclist in Sherwood and a cyclist died in Greenwood, Miss., at an annual ride event. Rider safety should be one of our biggest concerns. Bicycle Advocates of Central Arkansas (BACA), joined by state Rep. Tippi McCullough (D-Little Rock), is forming a task force to promote stricter penalties for people who do not obey the 3-feet law. The current fine for the infraction in Arkansas is just $100. Riding clubs, including the club I belong to, Rev Rock, plan to purchase bike-mounted video cameras (Go Pro, Garmin, etc.) to encourage safety. The footage could also help law enforcement, in states where such video is admissible, identify perpetrators. I sit on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. I am proud to say that earlier in the year we successfully aided in passing the “Idaho (Arkansas) Stop” legislation, which allows cyclists to treat red lights like stop signs and stop signs like yield signs. This law is a huge win for cyclists in the state. Council chairman Joe Jacobs told me that, “Delaware called to see how we did it. They were amazed we made it happen on our first attempt.” This particular rider safety issue concerns road cyclists, mountain bikers and gravel riders, all of whom regularly use roads and bike paths to access trails. If we hope to improve our communities by adding bike infrastructure with the goal of more commuters riding to work or school or to shop for goods and services, we need to address this safety issue head-on. In trying to establish Arkansas as the Bike Hub of the South by promoting the natural beauty of our roads, trails, etc., we need to take action to prevent continued cycling fatalities. Moreover, the issue of safety affects our residents as well as our visitors. I recently saw an ad campaign video on social media reminding drivers who cyclists are: different riders saying, “I’m a father, I’m a mother, I’m a son, I’m a sister, I’m an accountant, I’m a neighbor, and I’m an engineer, etc.” I love how this approach highlights the humanity of the cyclist a motorist encounters. The cyclist is a neighbor, someone of value, not another obstacle in his or her way. We need to band together to solve this issue and prevent adding the next statistic!
Dave Roberts (Father, son, brother, planner, advocate) Director of planning and vice president of business development at Crafton Tull
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BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 9
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. … Know we are leaving [customers] in good hands.” Arkansas Business reported that the deal was expected to go through in mid-September and the store’s name and management would change. Chainwheel was established in 1971.
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. The U.S. Bicycle Route System was conceived in 1978 by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the same group that coordinates on numbering interstate highways. The routes use a mixture of low-traffic roads, off-road paths and bike lanes to get riders safely across long distances. Adventure Cycling, the same nonprofit that worked with the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation to develop the Arkansas High Country Route, is a lead advocate on further development of the system and the source for maps and GPS info. A little more than half of the states in the country have designated USBRS routes. Among states that neighbor Arkansas, only Missouri and Tennessee have approved routes and only Missouri’s route comes anywhere near Arkansas. UAMS has been working on the route with the state Department of Parks and Tourism, Arkansas Department of Transportation and members of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Once the Department of Transportation signs off on the plan, it has to be approved by American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials. Danny Straessle, spokesman for the state transportation department, said there’s no timeline for the process, but said “hopefully sooner than later.”
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HUB DESIGNATION COMING
In a related project, the same groups working on the U.S. Bicycle Route in Arkansas, plus the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, are developing an Arkansas Cycling Hub Communities designation to help bike tourists identify amenities. The concept came out of the task force that developed the 2017 state bike and pedestrian plan. Leesa Freasier, physical activity coordinator for the Division of Family and Preventive Medicine at UAMS, is leading the Hub Community project. “Because we’re the Diamond State, communities will be ranked from one to four diamonds.” Rankings will depend how well a community fares on a number of categories: food, lodging and water; medical and support services; safe local pedestrian and cycling routes; local leadership commitment; marketing; budget for operations and maintenance; and community and cultural attractions and destinations. Freasier says the team is working to finish the application for communities to receive the designation and then will develop a scoring matrix. She hopes the applications will be taken by the end of the year. Parks and Tourism will include hub ratings on its website. “The reason we’re spending all this time and effort is that we think it will mean tourism dollars coming into the state,” Freasier said.
RIDE PAYS OFF
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. The fund has purchased nine bicycle repair stations, eight air pumps and partnered with local foundations to purchase two water fountains and with the cities of North Little Rock and Little Rock to purchase trail sweepers. Organizer Charlie Hart says the fund is in the process of installing a repair station and air pump in Lonoke and is actively seeking a location for a water fountain on the east end of the Arkansas River Trail loop.
COURTESY OF WAMPOO ROADEO
U.S. ROUTE ON THE HORIZON
BIKE SHOP SOLD
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. The trail was created with the help of a grant of $519,000 from the bike-loving Walton Family Foundation, at the recommendation of Sam Walton grandsons Steuart and Tom Walton. Rock Solid Trail Contracting built the trail. The Chickalah Trail is the second Monument Trail: The first was the 18-mile track at Hobbs State Park outside Rogers, built with a $2 million grant from the Walton Foundation. Another trail, at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, is in the design stage. The Chickalah can be accessed from the parking area at the Bench Trail Overlook just below the top of the mountain on state Highway 155. The 4-mile double-track Bench Trail is for novice riders and offers views of the mountain. Another 17 miles of Monument Trail will be built in phase two, and will encompass experienced, intermediate and novice options.
COURTESY OF ARKANSAS STATE PARKS
NEW MONUMENT TRAIL
BETTER LITTLE ROCK CONNECTION COMING
The Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department is finalizing plans to lay a 10-footwide 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 new trail, being built with a $200,000 grant from Metroplan, means pedestrians and cyclists on the asphalt path will not have to go through the parking lot behind Pulaski Heights Baptist Church. The route, engineered by the Halff + Marlar firm, will go around the west border of the church property and along the back of the promenade wall, ending at the west end of the promenade. There is also a dirt trail from the promenade into the park. Leland Couch of the parks department said the new route will “minimize conflict behind the church” that is the case now. Parks will make as little alteration to the woods as possible, he said. Concrete is being used because it’s cheaper to maintain in the long run, Couch said.
FAYETTEVILLE VISITORS BUREAU HIRES CYCLING COORDINATOR
Experience Fayetteville, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, has hired Brannon Pack as cycling coordinator, a newly created position made possible thanks to a matching grant from the Walton Family Foundation. Pack was previously the executive director of Ozark Off-Road Cyclists. Fayetteville will host the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in 2022.
PLAN CALLS FOR NEW BIKE LANES IN VAN BUREN, ALMA
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. The proposed bike lanes would cost $20 million. The plan also calls for 32.5 miles of sidewalks at a cost of $25.8 million and 7.6 miles of shared-use trails at $3.6 million. Sidewalks are already being built along Pointer Trail. The plan, which was approved by a resolution of the city council in May, lists potential funding sources. The plan is similar to the Alma Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan approved by the Alma City Council. The plan calls for 17 miles of bike lanes, estimated to cost $4 million. BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 11
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NAME: Dan Myers FROM: Maumelle JOB: Quality engineer with Caterpillar Inc.
VOLUNTEER JOB: A survivor of synovial
sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that affects soft tissue, he was the chairman of CARTI’s 2019 Tour de Rock. Considering that ride coincided with a 100-year-flood of the Arkansas River and routes had to be altered at the last minute, “it went amazingly well,” Myers said.
I STARTED RIDING: “When I was
relocated to Arkansas for my job, I noticed all the wonderful trails and all there was to do. A friend loaned me a hybrid, and on the weekends I’d go out to get in shape and ride the River Trail. I was well over 300 pounds at the time. CARTI really stresses weight loss. They talk about how being overweight triggers heart disease and diabetes and even other cancers. So I kept riding because I wanted to lose weight. I did that for years. Then I got my first road bike, and as I started to get better, I wanted to venture off the River Trail. I wanted to do more and was ambitious about improving myself. I started joining local groups, like Mello Velo, Rev Rock, Faction and CARVE, and really experiencing the camaraderie in the cycling community. Then one day, I saw some racing and thought, ‘I’d love to do that one day.’ I’ve been racing with Pinnacle Velo for the last year. I won the state CAT 5 time-trial championship this year.”
“WHEN I WAS RELOCATED TO ARKANSAS FOR MY JOB, I NOTICED ALL THE WONDERFUL TRAILS AND ALL THERE WAS TO DO. A FRIEND LOANED ME A HYBRID...” PHOTOGRAPHY: RETT PEEK BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 13
THE BIKES: An Allied ALFA painted Porsche Riviera blue and a Guru CR901. “I bought the Guru used from my friend Olivier Lavigueur, who moved here to work for Allied Cycle Works after Allied acquired the Montreal-based Guru. It has a custom paint job. I love that bike. It’s so fast.”
SUNGLASSES: Oakley EVZero. “The zero
means there’s no frame, so there’s nothing blocking your sight. When I sweat it just runs right off. I’ve got a prism-tint shade, which helps in low light.
HELMET: KASK Protone. “I’ve tried many,
many helmets. A helmet is worth every penny you’re going to spend on it because it’s going to save your life. KASK fits me best because it fits not just the circumference of your head, but also the dome of the head.”
GLOVES: MUMU Cycling Apparel. “My
gloves and my kit are from MUMU, which was started in 2013 in Florida by a local cycling racer who was tired of paying too much for custom kits. I don’t like a lot of padding in my gloves. I like these because they’re not padded, but still have grip.” 14 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
“...THEN ONE DAY, I SAW SOME RACING AND THOUGHT, ‘I’D LOVE TO DO THAT ONE DAY ... I WON THE STATE CAT 5 TIME-TRIAL CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR.” BAG: Speedsleev Cycling Products.
“It holds all my gear — spare tube, tire levers, etc. I’m very OCD. When you open the bag up, there’s a compartment for each thing. It’s also real easy to mount to the seat because it’s one piece of Velcro.”
ELECTRONIC SHIFTER: Shimano
Dura-Ace. “I always thought that I was smart enough that I didn’t need electronic shifting. Until I got this. It’s like a mouse button. You push a button and it goes. All the days of taking it to the shop to get an adjustment are gone.”
WHEELS: Mercury. “They’re super
inexpensive, and I’ve had really good luck with them. They hold up very well for larger riders. Some of the fancier, more expensive wheel brands won’t warranty them for larger riders.” BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 15
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Cycling is Dave Roberts’ life.
MY TOWN By Stephen Koch • PHOTOGRAPHY: rett peek
ave 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. The love of bikes and biking “all came from my childhood,” Roberts said. Growing up in the suburbs of Miami during the
1970s, Roberts and his friends used spare parts to retrofit their street bikes into BMX models for off-road thrills. Roberts rode his bike to school every day until sixth grade. Wheeling through the gridded street patterns of his planned community in southern Florida, he enjoyed wondering about the way cities spring up — or are purposefully laid out — around rivers and mountains: “Why are they shaped the way they are?” he asked himself. So the die was cast early on for Roberts to become a landscape architect and urban planner as well as a bicycle enthusiast. Besides
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bicycling and dreaming about the layouts of cities, Roberts grew up loving art, drawing and maps — and next door to a landscape architect. Roberts came to Arkansas to study landscape architecture at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Upon graduation, with his connections in Miami, he had no problem finding a job back home in Florida. But after “losing everything” during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Roberts was ready for a change. He and his Pine Bluff-born wife came back to Arkansas, where he’s stayed ever since. Roberts ran his own urban planning firm for 11 years, until Crafton Tull purchased it; he’s now vice president of business development and planning director at Crafton Tull. And, despite his current title, Roberts is still amused to find folks asking him about blight on their rose bushes, or for gardening tips.
FINDING THE ROAD
Like many Americans, Roberts left his bicycle behind as he grew up only to come back to it in adulthood. And he got into Central Arkansas’s mountain biking scene in a big way. Roberts
rode the trails hard, but his interest in mountain biking waned following a couple of wrecks coming too closely to the birth of his daughter. It gave him pause. Seeking a safer form of exercise, Roberts tried running, only to find the impact “killed his legs.” Finally, he tried road cycling, and ever since then, he said, “I’ve been hooked.” That was five years ago. Hooked, indeed. In fact, absent Roberts’ professed passion, cycling in Arkansas would look very different — literally. Robert and the planning team at Crafton Tull created the statewide master plan for cyclists and pedestrians for the Arkansas Department of Transportation. He and the team worked on a section of the 37.6-mile Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway, and have also worked on biking/pedestrian master plans for the cities of El Dorado, Camden and Batesville, among other municipalities. Currently, Roberts and the group are working on a biking/pedestrian master plan for Bentonville, one of the bigger cycling hubs in the state. Additionally, Roberts, as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling, helped get passed a law allowing cyclists to treat red traffic lights like stop signs and stop signs like yield
BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 19
“I wish I could ride to work, but the infrastructure there doesn’t support it very well.”
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A Pristine Historic Restoration - 1933 Best Tourist Court!
signs at the most recent session of the legislature. Arkansas is now only the second state in the nation to have such biker-friendly legislation. In public meetings at cities where master transportation plans are discussed, Roberts found he was able to speak “cyclese” to the individual cyclists and bike club members who attended, and better answer any questions and assuage any fears they may have that biking might get short shrift in the transportation plans of their communities. “I was getting into it professionally,” he said, “and getting into it outside of work.” Living in Maumelle, his favorite bike ride is coming in off the north side of the Arkansas River Trail to take the challenging climb to the top of historic Fort Roots in North Little Rock. This nest of switchbacks leading up to a high urban perch, Roberts explained, rewards riders with “two amazing views that most people don’t know exist”: a southerly view of the downtown Little Rock skyline that the capital city’s skyscrapers do not even afford, and a westerly view of the Arkansas River as it winds into the distant wilderness on the horizon. After an injury, Roberts took some time off from cycling, but he’s getting back into it. He’s taking longer and longer solo rides, and hoping to soon rejoin his bike club for group rides. He’s quick to note, however, he rarely takes the Maumelle-Little Rock commute by bicycle to his workplace, which is located near the Big Rock Interchange. His co-workers understandably fear for his life during Ditch the Keys week, and they have helped run interference for him in their cars as he bikes the concrete jungle in that area of town. “I wish I could ride to work,” Roberts laments, “but the infrastructure there doesn’t support it very well.” You know, someone should get an urban planner on that, stat.
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This ad paid for with state and private regional association funds BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 21
By Dave Roberts, ASLA Planning Director at Crafton Tull
OFFER ACCESS FOR ALL In 2009, Congress passed the Complete Streets Act aiming to design streets to support mobility for users of all ages and abilities, whether drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, or passengers. The official definition from the U.S. Department of Transportation states, “The concept of Complete Streets encompasses many approaches to planning, designing, and operating roadways and rights of way with all users in mind to make the transportation network safer and more efficient.” The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) not only oversees and maintains our highways, bridges, and tunnels but also aids state and local agencies in their efforts to improve safety, mobility, livability, and innovation. Not all roads should be multimodal. However, a thriving roadway network and a nonmotorized transportation network, which often include Complete Streets, need not be mutually exclusive. According to the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT), “FHWA encourages communities to plan for multiple modes of transportation and a Complete Streets or Smart Growth model can help.” They go on to explain that “Development patterns that result, including roadway placement and design, encourage
walking, bicycling and transit use while continuing to accommodate motor vehicles.” When a city sets out to incorporate multimodal transportation, there are several factors to consider. Having worked with several municipalities on ways to implement these elements, we have found that accessibility, equity, health, and sustainability to be the most compelling reasons given for considering Complete Street policies. ACCESSIBILITY Complete Streets separate users traveling at different speeds, making it safer for those who operate at a slower pace or require more room to maneuver equipment such as wheelchairs or walkers. For these reasons, as well as the health benefits listed above, the AARP, who advocate for equity in accessibility for their more than 38 million members, supports the Complete Streets Initiative. You may hear the term “Safe Streets’ used in place of Complete Streets, which results from the focus on separated modes of travel and accessibility. Crafton Tull has experience incorporating some of these principles into municipal comprehensive plans. We have worked with transportation agencies to receive guidance on the best ways to accommodate more vulnerable residents while continuing improvements on existing infrastructure.
ADVERTISEMENT 22 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
EQUITY When the City of El Dorado, AR commissioned Crafton Tull to create a community-engaged master plan to accommodate the expansion of the US 82B corridor through an economically and socially diverse area of town, we knew the vital role citizen input would play in creating an environment that would strengthen both the public and private realm. We worked closely with residents, business owners, elected officials, and A r DOT to determine a street cross section that would include non-vehicular modes of transportation, minimize impact to existing structures, and incorporate Complete Streets principles. One of the cornerstones of the Complete Streets model is the idea that age, physical ability, and income levels should not determine access to transportation. In an article published in The Nation’s Health a publication of the American Public Health Association (APHA) in August of 2018, Julia Haskins explains how “A community that promotes health equity provides adequate modes of transportation for all users. Pedestrians, public transit riders, bicyclists and others can all get around safely and easily in such an environment.” She goes on to make the case that “A complete streets approach ensures that such mobility conditions are met, making for more liveable communities.” The idea is that a community’s most financially disadvantaged residents should have the same level of mobility as residents who can purchase and maintain a personal vehicle.
HEALTH Improved health is one of the most substantial benefits of implementing Complete Streets in your town. Increased walking and bicycling is known to be highly effective in reducing the risk of obesity. The addition of bicycle and pedestrian facilities is integral to the Complete Street model. Smart Growth America cites a study finding that “43 percent of people with safe places to walk within 10 minutes of home met recommended activity levels, while just 27 percent of those without safe places to walk were active enough.” In addition to the health benefits of increased movement, multiple modes of transportation offer greater access to healthy food options not always available to all areas of the community. A quick visit to the National Complete Streets Coalition (NCSC) website’s Partners page shows that many of the Country’s leading healthy living organizations, including the American Public Transportation Organization (APTA) and the American Heart Association, are part of the extensive collection of advocates and transportation professionals that make up the NCSC. SUSTAINABILITY According to Smart Growth America, “Complete Streets are a natural complement to sustainability efforts, ensuring benefits for mobility, community and the environment.” A great example of the low-impact development approach to dealing with stormwater runoff is the Little Rock Main Street water quality design, which received the 2016 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Arkansas Grand Conceptor Award. By providing space for low emissions (non-motorized) travel options, Complete Streets align with environmental efforts to reduce air pollution. Aside from environmental sustainability, cities should also consider fiscal sustainability when installing infrastructure to a new growth area of town. The cost to add bike lanes or a wide multi-use path, if the right of way can accommodate all facilities, is nominal compared to the cost to retrofit that same infrastructure at a later date. Our experience navigating the often complex process of planning, designing, and building Complete Streets means that we are well-qualified to help municipalities of all sizes begin the process.
Questions about complete streets? Reach out to us at craftontull.com ADVERTISEMENT BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 23
THE STATE OF BIKE COMMUTING Lots of progress, but much work ahead, advocates say. By Lindsey Millar
ZAC TROUT, SPECIALIZED REAL ESTATE GROUP
n 2016, Governor Hutchinson said he wanted a safe way for cyclists to get anywhere.” The aren’t really biking all that much, and then Arkansas to be known as “the cycling hub Arkansas River Trail is great, he said, but people are doing a lot of recreational riding of the South.” That doesn’t seem far-fetched, “it’s mainly a recreational trail.” Jacobs lives and that eventually leads to a culture where considering the infrastructure in place already in midtown Little Rock in the Leawood there’s more bike commuting.” and ongoing developments. We’ve got five neighborhood, six miles away from his office But he acknowledged that the latter jump “epic” mountain bike trails, tied with Colorado in the Capitol Mall. As an experienced rider, can be a quite a leap for many riders. He for the second-most in the country, and the he can manage the commute on his bike, but pointed to a survey of 900 Arkansans probike-loving grandsons of Walmart founder Sam there’s no safe route. “We don’t have a good duced as part of the Arkansas Department Walton seem dedicated to making Northwest hub-and-spoke system” in Little Rock, he said. of Transportation’s 2017 Arkansas Bicycle Arkansas an international destination for John Landosky, the city of Little Rock’s biand Pedestrian Transportation Plan, where mountain biking. Increasingly, too, they’re cycle and pedestrian coordinator, says there’s a respondents cited the lack of dedicated bike pushing the Walton Family Foundation to typical cycling evolution cities follow. “People trails or lanes and automobile-related concerns spread its many millions beyond as the primary reasons for not its home base, including to Hot bicycling more. He also noted Springs’ Northwoods and the a 2011 survey from a Portland State Parks’ Monument Trails State University professor who throughout the state. found that about one-third of Meanwhile, Central Arkansas’s Portland residents were not Arkansas River Trail and Big at all interested in cycling, 13 Dam Bridge and Northwest’s percent were confident in their Razorback Regional Greenway abilities and 56 percent were have helped ignite a recreational “interested but concerned.” A cycling boom in the state’s most follow-up survey sampling the populous areas, and cycling 50 largest metro areas found advocates salivate over a fusimilar numbers. ture in which even bigger trail Landosky and other advocates projects have been completed, mentioned the importance of including the 84-mile Delta drivers understanding the 3-feet Heritage Trail, running from rule — by law, cars must give near Lexa to Arkansas City, and cyclists at least 3 feet of space the Southwest Trail, between when passing. But “if you want Little Rock and Hot Springs. to really have a major shift to Joe Jacobs, marketing manbike commuting, you have to ager for Arkansas State Parks, build facilities,” Landosky said. is the chair of the Governor’s Ryan Hale has experience Advisory Council on Cycling, doing just that. The former which Hutchinson established Arkansas Razorback and New in 2016. He’s naturally bullish on York Giants football player cycling in Arkansas. It’s become spent five and a half years with a top tourist draw, he said. But the Walton Family Foundation Arkansas’s weakest point when it overseeing its grants for trails. comes to cycling? “Commuting,” That meant working on the Jacobs says. “We’ve not done a Razorback Regional Greenway FROM RECREATION TO TRANSPORTATION: LaneShift’s Ryan Hale wants Arkansas to change how it thinks about bicycles. good job in our cities to create that connects Bella Vista to South 24 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
Fayetteville, Rogers’ Lake Atalanta Park trail system and Bella Vista’s Back 40 trail system. He now runs LaneShift Mobility, a consulting company that helps clients develop spaces that are biking and pedestrian friendly. “What I know to be true is that cities and developers are recognizing that people really want to be active and the data shows that people are valuing more walkable, bikeable environments,” Hale said. “When you look at trends of all age brackets and demographics, people are craving more walkable, bikeable experiences.” Leaders in Northwest Arkansas have embraced that mentality. A 2017 study commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation that found that cycling generated $137 million in annual economic benefit for the region has gotten a lot of attention nationally and around the state. Hale and LaneShift regularly lead outof-town clients through tours of the region’s bike infrastructure. What’s next for the region? Hale says it’s that shift Landosky described, from viewing biking as primarily recreational to thinking of it as a viable form of transportation. “When you change from thinking of bike as recreation first to thinking as biking transportation, it changes how you view your roadways, how you build your neighborhoods, how you develop your communities, how you invest in your streets, roads and highways,” Hale said. “If we viewed biking as a viable form of transportation, we would design our cities completely differently.” He said part of making that shift is adopting new language. “Culturally and from an infrastructure standpoint, we’ve got to evolve from seeing bikes as the spandex crowd. When you think of the word ‘cyclist,’ you have a certain image that pops in your mind. It’s usually spandex, jamming down the road at 20-25 miles per hour. The shift we’ve really tried to make as an industry, those of us who are working on infrastructure and advocacy, is referring to ‘people on bikes.’ When you think of a person on a bike, it puts a completely different image in your mind.” “People on bikes,” for instance, includes all the people who use a bike for transportation because they can’t afford a car, Hale notes. Guest editor Dave Roberts, vice president of business development and planning director at Crafton Tull, has a lot of experience developing municipal bike and pedestrian plans. His firm has worked to create plans for El Dorado, Batesville and Camden. It’s at work now with the Toole Design Group on a bike and pedestrian plan for Bentonville. The
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LANDOSKY: The Little Rock bike and pedestrian coordinator is working to improve the capital city’s cycling infrastructure. process can take eight months to a year and involves working with city leaders — the mayor, city council members, the parks department, usually a chamber of commerce — and hosting many public meetings, Roberts said. “All the cyclists in spandex will come out to a meeting and say, ‘We need routes. But it’s pedestrians, too. We’re looking at active mobility — whether it’s off-road trails or on-road, we’re looking at how to connect the community to all the amenities.” Roberts often leads city leaders on “walk audits” of a small area of a downtown to point out barriers to different modes of mobility — people in wheelchairs, people walking, people on bikes. “A city leader who grew up in a community might not notice that there’s a power pole in the middle of the sidewalk or that there are a bunch of curb cuts along a bike route,” Roberts said. When Crafton Tull provides cities bike and pedestrian plans, it offers “a literal road map that says, ‘Do this first. Do this second, etc.’ There might be 20 phases,” Roberts said. That way, cities can go after grant funding and try to build on their infrastructure incrementally. In 2015, the city of Little Rock passed a Complete Streets ordinance, which requires
that the city design its transportation infrastructure to “accommodate all anticipated users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, persons with disabilities, freight haulers and motorists.” When Little Rock builds or resurfaces streets, the city is supposed to consider all those people and riders. Last year, Little Rock received a $50,000 Metroplan Transportation Alternative Grant for which the city is required to provide at least a 20 percent match. It has a request for qualifications out now to redo the city’s Master Street Plan. Landosky anticipates much of the work redoing the Master Street Plan will be redeveloping the city’s bike plan, which was developed by advocates, not planners. There’s no agreement on a fix for getting folks biking or walking the Arkansas River Trail safely through the stretch of Cantrell Road in front of the Dillard’s headquarters and Episcopal Collegiate school, but the city does have funding and is working on connecting the River Trail to Central High School and in making all of the downtown portion of the trail, the Medical Mile, off-road. In Northwest Arkansas, Bike NWA, with funding from the Walton Family Foundation, developed protected bike lane pilot projects
in Fayetteville, Springdale and Siloam Springs that began in December 2018 and will run until December of this year. LaneShift is a consultant for the Springdale and Siloam Springs projects. “Hopefully, there will be enough data to compel the cities to make the projects permanent,” Hale said. “There have been people who love it and people who don’t. Change is hard.” Narrowing roadways to allow space for bikes is something a lot of people have a hard time grasping, he said. “The fact of the matter is that we used to believe that wider streets meant safer streets, but what the data shows now is that wider streets means faster streets,” Hale said. “When we’re able to narrow the lanes, it calms the roadway. A narrower lane in most circumstances makes it safer in all cases.” Jacobs would love to see that kind of thinking codified across the state. He said the Department of Transportation’s state Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan was a good start, but he hoped the state might one day adopt a Complete Streets plan with requirements for building roads and other infrastructure that accounts for all kinds of transportation.
“All the cyclists in spandex will come out to a meeting and say, ‘We need routes. But it’s pedestrians, too. We’re looking at active mobility — whether it’s off-road trails or on-road, we’re looking at how to connect the community to all the amenities.”
26 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
WHEN YOU WANT TO GET THINGS ROLLING,
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After a day of biking around Little Rock, you can be in craft brew and tasty eats heaven at a number of options along your route. Pedal over to one of our seven local craft breweries to take in some carbs and hops. Grab a tasty burger or take in a show at some of our live music venues. This â€“ this is why you ride. So you can enjoy all these things guilt-free.
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BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 27
FLIGHT TIME: At Lake Leatherwood’s Gravity Trails, constructed by Rock Solid Trail Contracting.
Groups are building out the state’s growing bike trail infrastructure story and photography By Bob Robinson
ith 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. Over the past two decades, the Walton Family Foundation has been the driving force behind the majority of the new trail development in the state, with both financial and leadership support. The foundation has supported several nonprofit organizations, such as the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation, NWA Trailblazers, OZ Trails and Ozark Off-Road Cyclists, as it channels private resources into bicycle-related projects designed to improve connectivity and the quality of life for Arkansans. Much has been written of its generous contributions to making the state a fat-tire destination; however, there is another side of the story that has not been as well publicized. This is about the trail warriors performing the construction: the boots on the ground. PROGRESSIVE TRAIL DESIGN When selecting a company to design and construct soft surface trails or bike parks in Arkansas, there is one name that quickly rises to the top: Progressive Trail Design. President and founder Nathan “Woody” Woodruff has been constructing mountain bike trails in the state 28 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 29
DROPPING IN: At Siloam Springs City Lake Park, built by Fast Rack Modern Cycling Solutions. since 2007, beginning with the dirt jump and free-ride park for phase one of the Slaughter Pen Trails in Bentonville. Having owned his own landscaping business for seven years and being a former event promoter and trail-building volunteer, Woodruff possessed the skills needed to grow Progressive into a major player in the design and construction of bike trails, riding features and mountain bike parks across the United States. Included among PTD’s 25 employees are some of the most recognizable names in the 30 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
state’s mountain bike community: Josh Hardy, Chris Crone, Jon Bryan and Dave Renko. Renko has built more single track by hand than the entire PTD team combined. The list of trails PTD has been involved with is too extensive to list, but a short rundown of the standouts includes Slaughter Pen, the Railyard Bike Park, Back 40 Trails, Two Rivers Bike Park and Thunder Chicken. But, the project that sets the bar for progressive mountain bike trail systems, and not just in Arkansas, is the Coler Mountain Bike Preserve in Bentonville.
As the general contractor for Coler, PTD raised trail construction to an art form, particularly when working in collaboration with Fayetteville architecture firm Modus Studio and L&L Metal to create the Peak One Hub. Located at the top of the preserve’s northernmost hill, this state-of-the-art steel and wood elevated platform launches riders into three different adrenaline-pumping downhill runs. Along with the Peak One Hub, the Coler preserve offers another challenging feature not found at other mountain bike trails in the area: a dual slalom. No more having to rely on
apps like Strava to determine who is king or queen of the mountain. On Thunder Dome downhill trail, you and your biking bud can compete head–to-head in live action. PTD is now working on the Buffalo Outdoor Center Trails, which may prove to be a greater attraction than Coler. PTD is building five downhill lanes in an area behind the Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca. One stretches over two miles, with an easy shuttle service back to the top. The Buffalo Outdoor Center Trails are scheduled to open in the fall. ROGUE TRAILS Rogue Trails, led by founder/owner Phil Penny, is another homegrown trail construction company skilled in the design and construction of soft surface trails in Arkansas and other states. Penny began racing mountain bikes in 1991, a time when most trails were built and maintained by volunteers. Later, during his eight years as president of Ozark Off-Roads Cyclists, Penny became more involved with trail construction. He discovered that much of what he’d learned from his bachelor’s degree in environmental science and engineering, coupled with his hydrology training on the job at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, also applied to bike trails. When on any Rogue-constructed trail, riders appreciate the company slogan: “Putting science into the art of trail building.” With his increased involvement in the mountain biking community, it was a natural evolution for Penny to migrate toward trail construction. Leaving Game and Fish, he accepted a position building trails for Crossland Construction Co. After almost two years with Crossland, Penny was offered an opportunity to build a new bike trail network at Siloam Springs. He decided this was a chance to transform his passion for mountain bike development into a business; the rest is history. When the Boy Scouts of America organization decided to add a mountain bike trail to its Camp Orr facility in Newton County, it contacted Rogue Trails. Rogue also constructed the Vian Lake Trail, along with the Monument Trail at Hobbs State Park, which opened in June. Later this fall, Rogue will be applying the finishing touches on the highly anticipated 11 Under Trail in Bella Vista. Rogue’s portion of the new trail system consists of 20 miles of tight single track, rock technical features, jump lines, tall berms and several miles of Rogue’s signature intimate hand-built trails. Penny’s training in conservation and creating sustainable natural features carried over to Rogue Trails. His team of 23 employees includes three environmental scientists and two members with degrees in parks and recreation. This scientific approach to trail construction has aided Rogue when
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BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 31
applying for government projects. But even when a project’s guidelines does not require him to follow strict conservational guidelines to build sustainable trails, Rogue still does, because as he says, “it’s the right thing to do.” ROCK SOLID Aaron Rogers’ Rock Solid Trail Contracting enterprise was recruited from Copper Harbor, Mich., to assist with the numerous trail projects under construction in preparation for the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) World Summit held in Bentonville in 2016. At one time, there were five separate trail construction companies actively working on trails in Northwest Arkansas. Rogers’ team brought with them a list of impressive credentials: Rogers himself had worked for IMBA, where he learned to construct, and train others to build, trails according to the association’s sustainable standards and techniques. His team also included members with bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and construction, with years of hands-on trail design and the creation of trail networks. Rogers brought a crew of 17 with him on that initial visit. They worked on the original Coler Mountain Bike Preserve trail system. The slabfest of a trail with the company’s namesake, Rock Solid Trail, contains the group’s signature rocky features. In addition to their work at Coler, the company has also reworked several of the Slaughter Pen Trails (Ozone Trail, Angus Chute and Schroen Train). That work, plus its work on the Back 40 trail system in Bella Vista, established Rock Solid as a builder of exciting and sustainable trails. Rock Solid’s relationship with Arkansas trail construction proved to be a great fit for the company and Arkansas has become a second home for Rogers and his crew. Trail crews were more than happy to be working in the mild weather conditions found in Arkansas’s fall and winter as opposed to those in Michigan and Minnesota. The Lake Leatherwood Downhill Gravity Trails, with seven separate downhill runs ranging in skill levels from beginner green to double black diamond expert, has become a popular Rock Solid project. These downhill trails include high bank earthen berms, challenging rock drops, table-tops and gaping jumps. There is something to challenge all levels of riders. Rock Solid will be returning once again this fall to put the final touches on the south section of the new 11 Under trail system in Bella Vista and the much-anticipated Mount Nebo Downhill Trail. Its 7-mile Monument Trail on Nebo opened in July.
FLYING LOW: On the Rock Solid Trail at Coler Mountain Bike Preserve in Bentonville. 32 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
AFFORDABLE TRAIL SOLUTIONS The newbie in the world of trail construction businesses in Arkansas is Affordable Trail Solutions out of Clinton. Jeff Gannon and Dirk Merle’s story is a familiar one: Both had spent several years building trails as volunteers. In December 2018, having volunteered on past trail projects for the Arkansas chapter of The Nature Conservancy and experienced in the type of trails it builds, they decided to bid on TNC’s trail project on a section of its Rattlesnake Ridge property west of
GETTING SIDEWAYS: On the Fast Track’s Fat Rack wall ride at Siloam Springs City Lake Park (above) and on Coler Mountain Bike Preserve’s Thunder Dome trail, built by Progressive Trail Design.
BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 33
ENJOYING THE VIEW: Rogue Trails’ founder/owner Phil Penny takes a break at an overlook on the Camp Orr Trail his company built in the Buffalo River valley. Pinnacle Mountain. Gannon and Merle won the bid, purchased a mini excavator and joined the ranks of trail construction companies. When complete, the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail network will consist of a smorgasbord of styles, with cross-country, downhill and multiuse trails. The skill levels will range from beginner to expert. Gannon has submitted bids on several other trail construction projects. While the company builds technically difficult trails, it 34 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
is also filling a niche for communities that are constructing less complex trails system for area cyclists. Thus, the appropriately named “Affordable Trail Solution.” FAST RACK Brothers Kris and Josh Carroll followed a different path into the world of professional trail building. When they took up the sport of mountain biking, they were disappointed with the functionality of bike racks on the market.
Having more than 15 years of experience building custom frames and other metal fabrication work with California Custom automotive service, Kris decided to design and build a custom bike rack. The finished product proved to function faster than other commercial racks. When their friends began referring to it as a “fast rack,” the brothers chose the name Fast Rack for a business that had yet to be established. Shortly after producing the bike rack,
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NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART AT COLER: Launching from Drop the Hammer (above) and waiting to take off at the Peak One Hub, both built by Progressive Trail Design.
36 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
they built a portable bike stand to mount their bikes on after unloading them, so they wouldn’t have to lay them on the ground or against their vehicle. The brothers then built a multipurpose trail rake that trail-building crews began to buy. Now on a roll, and with the approval of California Custom to use its plasma cutter, Kris Carroll designed and built Fast Rack’s first bike-park skill-course feature. It was just a simple triple rollover structure, but when the Carrolls installed it at a local trail, the word spread and they began receiving requests to build more. Skip forward two years, and Fast Rack Modern Cycling Solutions has become a full-function bike-skills park developer. Both brothers are skilled in the design, layout and construction of parks, and have added wall-rides and other assorted skill features to their catalogue. With metal-based frames, their products are more durable than customary wood-based features. Fast Track has built skill parks at Siloam Springs City Lake Park, Fayetteville’s Gregory Park Skills Park and the NWA Arkansas Children Shelter. The company has even shipped its bike skill features to Palm Beach, Fla., and Woodbury Park in Minnesota. The business continues to grow as more bike trail contractors and clients discover their products.
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JANES THE RISE IN FEMALE MOUNTAIN BIKERS. BY LINDSAY SOUTHWICK
PATTY V PHOTOGRAPHY
t’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. They’ve pushed their way into boardrooms, created space for themselves at the table, and are greasing their chains and showing up on mountain bike trails more than ever before. The rocks, roots, ruts and mud don’t deter them. They are taking on the rugged terrain in packs and bringing their friends with them. THE WOMEN OF OZ: Mountain biking brings together women from all different backgrounds in Bentonville.
BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 39
“We knew there were small pockets of women in the community that were biking. We just wanted to bring them together and invite more women to join in.” The notion of an all-women’s mountain bike group seemed ripe for the taking. And that’s just what a group of Bentonville women set out to do. The Women of Oz (WOZ) is the brainchild of Ashley Patterson, Aimee Ross, Allyson de la Houssaye, Elizabeth Dougherty, Betsy Soos and Kourtney Barrett. The six founding board members created the group at the beginning of 2019 with the intention of bringing women of all ages and abilities together in the name of mountain biking. “Mountain biking is a social sport,” de la Houssaye said. “We knew there were small pockets of women in the community that were biking. We just wanted to bring them together and invite more women to join in.” Since their inaugural ride in March, WOZ 40 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
has had more than 300 women participate in their Flagship Rides, some coming from as far away as Kansas and Chicago. The Flagship Rides take place the first Saturday of every month, are free and offer women the choice of beginner, intermediate or advanced rides. If they’re not quite ready to hit the dirt, they can opt for the beginner skills clinic to learn the basics and adequately prepare themselves for the trails. While the Flagship Rides are the heart and soul of the group, they are just the beginning. The WOZ is like a one-stop shop for she-shredders. Struggling on the berms? There’s a clinic for that. Want to learn the basics of bike maintenance? There’s a clinic for that. How to change your tire? Clinic.
Curious what stretches are best pre- and post-ride? There’s a clinic for that, too. The founders are committed to keeping their eyes and ears open to what the needs of the group are, and building clinics and rides to suit. Additionally, women can make connections with each other through the group’s Facebook page and create rides whenever they want. The most exciting part about this whole thing is that WOZ is seeing new women every single month who want to give this crazy sport a try. “At our Saturday rides, the beginner skills clinic continues to be the first to fill up,” Soos said. “That’s a big deal! I’ve been riding for more than 10 years and it’s been typical to be one of only a couple women among a
CYCLE OG PATTY V PHOTOGRAPHY
GOING FOR IT: Payton Ridenour (above), a 16-year-old BMX champion from Pennsylvania, rides a pump track at the Women Shred event held in Bentonville in May.
BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 41
SHE’S GOT SKILLS: Belgium’s Perrine Devahive gets air at Women Shred.
bunch of dudes. I love that so many women are starting to see the beauty of this sport, and it brings me joy to share it with them.” The barriers many face when taking on mountain biking can be narrowed down to three things: intimidation, lack of instruction and not having a bike. The founders knew that to be successful they would need to take on — and eliminate — these barriers. Having fun and skilled ride leaders who act as patient coaches is the first and most important step in instilling confidence in their participants. They teach that there is no shame in getting off your bike and walking when the terrain is beyond your skill level. The confidence comes through learning the skills from 42 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
knowledgeable teachers. “No one is out here to prove themselves to anyone,” Patterson said. “We just want to encourage, and teach, to enjoy being outside together, and to make some new friends. That’s it.” There’s been a natural rise in interest in mountain biking in NWA as the trail systems continue to expand, and WOZ is like a freight train taking off full throttle with no inclination to pump the breaks. “These women came together and created this at just the right time,” said Lindsay Custer, president of Friends of Arkansas Singletrack (FAST). “They could see there was a need, and, thankfully for our community, were the
type of women who were willing and able to do something about it.” The rise in female mountain bikers in Northwest Arkansas attracted the first Women Shred event in May. Trial bike world champion and professional mountain biker Kenny Belaey had the idea of an all-female bike event after visiting the Bentonville Film Festival last year. Balaey and his wife, Fien Lammertyn, who is a mountain bike enthusiast as well as an award-winning event planner, had no problem drawing support and interest from local women, or recruiting female mountain bikers from all over the world to act as their ambassadors. The four-day event offered rides and work-
Live Your Adventure shops for both experienced and new female riders, trial bike shows, meet-and-greets with the pros, and short films highlighting women in mountain biking. “This is the first event of its kind,” said Caroline Buchanan, Shred ambassador and a professional in both mountain and BMX disciplines. “This is the first event I’ve seen that was designed just for women.” The WOZ founders, along with their all-female board, are a perfect representation of the women they’re passionate about bringing together. They wear all sorts of hats. Their differences as well as their similarities are what set the group’s steady pace. Some of them have been riding for as long as they can
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PATTY V PHOTOGRAPHY
SHRED STARS: Pros Caroline Buchanan, Anneke Beerten and Perrine Devahive (left to right, above) traveled to the Women Shred event in Bentonville, home to great places to mountain bike, including Tristanâ€™s Trail (below).
44 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
There’s no such thing as a “typical female biker.” They are entrepreneurs, they manage and care for their busy families, they work in IT, they work in fashion and they’re executives, nurses, doctors, lawyers, graphic designers and accountants. remember, bringing their longtime passion for the sport and the desire to ride with more women to the table. Others just recently got into the sport. The barriers they faced are fresh on their minds and they know firsthand what they need to do to ensure others feel comfortable and confident on a bike. Which is what you find among the sea of women who participate in their rides and clinics. There’s no such thing as a “typical female biker.” They are entrepreneurs, they manage and care for their busy families, they work in IT, they work in fashion and they’re executives, nurses, doctors, lawyers, graphic designers and accountants. But when they’re on the trails, they’re mountain bikers. They’ve replaced the uniform of their day jobs with a jersey and bike helmet. The WOZ founders are committed to bridging the gap between women wanting to bike and being able to bike. They are finding the sweet spot of encouraging women just enough to make them better, without pushing them to defeat. Their hope is to create the blueprint for a beginner skills program for others to use. They want to take the ideas of encouragement and inclusivity that they’re so passionate about and spread it around to other biking communities. Because the most important part of women breaking into new spaces — whether it’s a boardroom or a mountain trail — is to champion other women to meet them there.
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INNOVATION CYCLES FESTIVAL
Bentonville Talks, workshops and social events on the future of cycling with a special focus on 46 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
BIG DAM BRIDGE 100 SEPT. 28
Big Dam Bridge, Little Rock Fees vary Arkansas’s largest cycling event offers several routes, ranging from 15 to 100 miles, with some beautiful mountain and river scenery as well as a few challenging hills on the longer routes. The event provides participants with maps, well-stocked aid stations, volunteer support, an event T-shirt, a unique finisher medal, food and drinks. The event finish line ends in the Argenta District of downtown North Little Rock with a block party and live music. See thebigdambridge100.com for more information.
COURTESY OF BIG DAM BRIDGE 100
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SQUARE TO SQUARE COURTESY OF SQUARE TO SQUARE
e-bikes. E-bike demos will be available to the public. See innovationcyclesfestival. com for more info.
DEVIL’S DEN AMBCS RACE
Details TBA. See ambcs.com for information.
WALSTREET MEMBER BIKE & BREW
Bike Rack Brewing Co., 801 SE Eighth St., Bentonville A cycling social sponsored by the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce. For more info, visit greaterbentonville.com.
ARKANSAS SENIOR OLYMPICS
Little Rock area $55-$60 Cycling events include 20K and 40K road races and 5K and 10K time trials. New this year: recumbent bike divisions for men and women. For more info, visit arseniorolympics.org or call 501-321-1441.
CONWAY FALL CLASSIC BIKE TOUR
Grace Methodist Church, 1075 Hogan Lane, Conway $35 With 20-, 40- and 60-mile routes. Register by Sept. 19. Visit cycleconway.com or 48 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11
Razorback Regional Greenway $15-$30 A 30-mile, one-way ride from Fayetteville to Bentonville. Riders are welcome to start at any point along the trail if not able to ride entire 30 miles. Along the course, participants can enjoy three festive pit stops featuring entertainment, bike maintenance services and basic ride refreshments. Visit fayeteville-ar.gov/1931/ Square-to-Square-Bicycle-Ride or contact LHyatt@bentonvillear.com for more info.
contact Peter Mehl, cabcycleconway@ gmail.com, for more information.
COLER MOUNTAIN BIKE PRESERVEARKANSAS ENDURO SERIES STOP NO. 5
Coler Mountain, Bentonville $15-$80 Prepare for five to six stages and up to 20 miles of riding. There’ll also be a dual slalom race Saturday night. With full support, music and festivities, swag and more. See full details at arkansasenduroseries.com.
Barling (Sebastian County) A cross-country race on a 10-mile trail. Part of the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series. More details TBA. See ambcs.com for more info.
ULTRA BEAR CREEK CHALLENGE
Downtown Marianna $25 Ride from the Marianna town square through the St. Francis National Forest to Bear Creek Lake spillway and back. Proceeds benefit veterans of Lee County. Register at bikereg.com.
FAST COLER ROLLER
Coler Mountain Bike Preserve, Bentonville Friends of Arkansas Singletrack’s third annual mountain bike festival. More details at fasttrails.org.
Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain Part of the USA Cycling American Cyclocross Calendar. With races for all levels of racers, including elite riders who will be traveling from across the country to Fayetteville. Race in the park where the UCI Cyclocross World Championships will be held in 2022. Visit fayettecross.com for more information.
TOUR DA DELTA
Helena-West Helena $60 Ride by a cypress-filled lake, wind through the St. Francis National Forest and pass by the Fort Curtis Civil War landmark. There are 35- and 65-mile routes as well as a 35mile gravel grind. Register and find more info at tourdadelta.net.
WHEEL A’ MENA
Mena A tour of the Ouachita Mountains along the Talimena Scenic Drive with multiple steep climbs. There are 30-, 50- and 70mile routes. Go to wheelamena.org for more info.
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for its second year near Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. Browse the latest innovations, pick a bike to try and take it for a ride. See outerbike. com for more information.
LEWIS AND CLARK URBAN ADVENTURE RIDE
OZ TRAILS OFF-ROAD OCT. 11-13
Bentonville $70-$130 Three days of events, including a ride on single track, occasional double track and paved segments. Contact Aimee Ross, Aimee@bikebentonville.com, for more information.
COURTESY OF OZ TRAILS OFF-ROAD
JOE WEBER ARKY 100
Sheridan Community Center, 1511 S. Rose St., Sheridan A 100-mile loop ride through rolling farm land, ranch land and timberland with mostly rural roads and supporting rest stops. The ride supports donations to the Boys and Girls Club, Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas, League of American Bicyclists, Cystic Fibrosis, Firehouse Hostel and other worthy causes. Four ride options: 25-, 50-, 62- and 100-mile courses. See arkansasbicycleclub.org for details.
PEDESTAL ROCK ROAD RIDE & LICK FORK GRAVEL GRIND
Witts Springs (Searcy County) $40 Pick from a number of different distances and between a road ride and a gravel grind. All include ride support, T-shirt, breakfast and lunch. Visit bikereg.com/prlfride for more info and to register.
Lewis and Clark Outfitters, 4915 S. Thompson St., Springdale $15-$45 Three paved-trail ride options for riders of all levels of experience. Contact Bruce Dunn, bruce@allsportsproductionsinc. com, for more information.
TOUR DE PUMPKIN
Downtown Russellville $36 With 17-, 30- and 64-mile routes. Break stations, a SAG wagon and course markings provided. Find more info on Facebook or Eventbrite.
Hot Springs Group rides, the first Attila the Hun Mountain Bike race and a vendor expo. Contact Traci Berry at 501-321-2027 for more info.
PUMP CROSS CRUSADE
Runway Bike Park, Jones Center, Springdale More info TBA. Contact Tiffany Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
R.A.P.T.O.R. GRAVEL GRINDER
Western Hills Park, Little Rock Find more info at facebook.com/ shameventsllcUSAC or by emailing email@example.com.
TOUR DUH SUNKEN LANDS
PETIT JEAN OVERNIGHTER
SHAM CX SERIES
Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, Tyronza (Poinsett County) The product of America’s greatest earthquake, the Sunken Lands are home to unique lowland swamps and agricultural open spaces. Details TBA. Contact Linda Hinton, lhinton@astate. edu, for more information.
OUTERBIKE $85-$240 Bentonville The world’s premier bike and gear manufacturers set up at the Outerbike expo site
Spillway area, DeGray Lake, Arkadelphia Bike marathon and race. Visit dltmultisport.com for more info.
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Mount Sequoyah Retreat Center, 150 N. Skyline Drive, Fayetteville $50 A race on a mixture of pavement, gravel and some single-track dirt with three distances from which to choose: 25-35 miles, 45-55 miles or 65-75 miles. The course map will be published at 8 a.m. Contact Bruce Dunn, bruce@ allsportsproductionsinc.com, for details.
IRON MOUNTAIN MAN 50-MARATHON MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE AND DAWG DAYZ MTB RACE
GUDRUN NORTHWOODS MOUNTAIN BIKE FESTIVAL
Conway Airport A ride for Arkansas Bicycle Club members that begins at the Conway Airport and goes to Petit Jean Mountain State Park. A shuttle will transport luggage. Find more info and register at arkansasbicycleclub.org.
ARKAN-CROSS ARKANSAS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
Bentonville Register and find more info at bikereg. com/arkan-cross
Visit onlyinark.com FOR THE BEST of OUR HOME STATE.
We’re committed to Arkansas and to the people who live here. That’s why we created an entire site dedicated to our home state. Visit OnlyInArk.com for everything from great bike trails to local culture and more. When your bank is only in Arkansas, you know it’s all about you.
Member FDIC BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 51
Arkansas Cycling & Fitness 315 N. Bowman, Suites 6-9 501-221-BIKE (2453) arkansascycling.com
Parkside Cycle 719 Whittington Ave. 501-623-6188 parksidecycle.com
Chainwheel 10300 Rodney Parham Road 501-224-7651 chainwheel.com
Spa City Cycling 873 Park Ave. 501-463-9364 spacitycycling.com
The Community Bicyclist 7509 Cantrell Road., Suite 118 501-663-7300 thecommunitybicyclist.com Giant Bicycles 11525 Cantrell Road., Suite 607 501-508-5566 giantlittlerock.com The Meteor 1001 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-664-7765 meteorbikes.com Rock Town River Outfitters (Rental) Little Rock River Market 400 President Clinton Ave. 501-831-0548 rocktownriveroutfitters.com
NORTH LITTLE ROCK Angry Dave’s Bicycles 3515 John F. Kennedy Blvd. 501-753-4990 angrydavesbicycles.com Recycle Bikes for Kids 717 E. 10th St. 501-563-8264 recyclebikesforkids.org
SHERWOOD Arkansas Cycling & Fitness 3010 E. Kiehl Ave. 501-834-5787 arkansascycling.com J&P Bike Shop 7910 John F. Kennedy Blvd. (Hwy 107) 501-835-4814 jandpbikeshop.com
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SEARCY The Bike Lane 2116 W. Beebe-Capps Expressway 501-305-3915 thebikelane.cc
HEBER SPRINGS Sulphur Creek Outfitters 625 S. Seventh St. 501-691-0138 screekoutfitters.com
MOUNTAIN HOME Mountain Home Bicycle Company 1310 E. Side Centre Court 870-425-2453 mountainhomebicyclecompany.com
BATESVILLE Lyon College Bike Shop 301 23rd St. 870-307-7529 lyon.edu/bikes
JONESBORO Gearhead Cycle House 231 S. Main St. 870-910-5569 gearheadcyclehouse.com
RUSSELLVILLE Carr’s Chain Reaction 506 N. Arkansas Ave. 479-968-5305 carrsrussellville.com
FORT SMITH Champion Cycling & Fitness 5500 Massard Road 479-484-7500 Phat Tire Bike Shop 1700 Rogers Ave. 479-222-6796 phattirebikeshop.com
Phat Tire Bike Shop 101 W. Johnson Ave. 479-373-1458 phattirebikeshop.com
ROGERS Beaver Lake Outdoor Center (Rentals) 14434 E. Hwy. 12 479-877-4984 beaverlakeoutdoorcenter.com
Dogwood Junction 200 Progress Ave., Suite 5 479-524-6605 dogwoodjunction.biz
GPP Cycling 318 S. First St. 479-372-4768 gppcycling.com
Phat Tire Bike Shop 101 S. Broadway St. 479-373-1458 phattirebikeshop.com
Lewis & Clark Outfitters 2530 Pinnacle Hills Parkway 479-845-1344 lewisandclarkoutfitters.com
EUREKA SPRINGS Adventure Mountain Outfitters 151 Spring St. 479-253-0900
FAYETTEVILLE Phat Tire Bike Shop 3775 N. Mall Ave. 479-966-4308 phattirebikeshop.com The Bike Route 3660 N. Front St., Suite 2 479-966-4050 facebook.com/thebikeroute The Highroller Cyclery 322 W. Spring St. 479-442-9311 highrollercyclery.com UREC Outdoors 1 University of Arkansas, HPER 102 479-575-CAMP urec.uark.edu
SPRINGDALE Lewis & Clark Outfitters 4915 S. Thompson St. 479-756-1344 lewisandclarkoutfitters.com
Phat Tire Bike Shop 321 S. Arkansas St. 479-877-1313 phattirebikeshop.com The Highroller Cyclery 402 S. Metro Parkway 479-254-9800 highrollercyclery.com
BENTONVILLE Dogwood Junction Trike Shop 907 N. Walton Blvd. 479-268-3021 dogwoodjunction.biz Mojo Cycling 2104 S. Walton Blvd. 479-271-7201 mojocycling.com Phat Tire Bike Shop 125 W. Central Ave. 479-715-6170 phattirebikeshop.com
BICYCLE REPAIR & SERVICE ONLY Ozark Bicycle Service Northwest Arkansas Area 479-715-1496 ozarkbicycleservice.com
CELEBRATING 23 YEARS! Sales & Service
Trail Maps and Rentals Available TUESDAY–FRIDAY 11 A.M.–6 P.M. • SATURDAY 10 A.M.–4 P.M.
719 WHITTINGTON AVE. • HOT SPRINGS, AR
501.623.6188 • ParksideCycle.com • firstname.lastname@example.org BikeMagazineAds.pdf 1 7/31/2019 5:56:50 PM
Run or walk on the paved trails in South Fayetteville and Kessler Mountain Regional Park $30 for 10K $10 for 1K
Long-sleeve participant t-shirt, finisher medals, and pancakes! www.fayetteville-ar.gov/sofay10k
EVENT FOR ALL AGES & ABILITIES BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 53
Who: NEIL SIMMONS Where: Little Rock Age: 40 Job: Service manager for apartment complex Who: KATY SIMMONS Where: Little Rock Age: 38 Job: Product manager at Apptegy, certified yoga instructor, licensed massage therapist and co-founder of Arkansas Women’s Outreach How long have you guys been riding your bikes? Neil: About five or six years. At least for road bikes and serious cycling. Katy got a bike first. I was about 8 months later. Katy: 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. How often do you guys ride?
What kind of racing do you guys do?
Neil: We mainly do crits, stage races and I race cyclecross in the fall and winter, and I’ve been doing some mountain biking and gravel riding. I race for Pinnacle Velo. Katy: If I had to pick a specific road race as a discipline, I really love stage racing. I love that it’s a numbers game and there’s a lot of strategy. I race for Leborne Women’s Racing, and I might race for Carve for cross this year.
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Katy: Pretty much everyday. I get up and ride a couple of hours every morning before work and try to get a long ride in every weekend. Neil: Yeah, if I’m training for races, I try to do 12 to 15 hours a week. But it’s hard to find that amount of time with a full-time job, kids, pets, real life.
You guys, at least in the cycling world, do not have enormous body-builder-looking calves, but in the real world, they’re extra-large. Do you get comments?
Katy: It’s usually when I wear heels. … Same with Neil. Neil: I get comments here and there, but it’s usually from noncyclists, and I have to explain why my legs are shaved and that it’s not directly proportionate to the rest of my body.
Do y’all have any rides coming up that you’re excited about?
Neil: I have a little offseason ride coming up that I did last year with a couple of friends, riding from the city of Uruapan to Mexico City, which is about 300 miles. It’s a cycling pilgrimage to the Basilica [of Our Lady of Guadalupe] in Mexico City. Katy: This is where couples who share hobbies argue. Because I’m totally going on this trip with him, he just doesn’t know it yet.
TWO RIVERS PARK AND BRIDGE A HIDDEN GEM OF PULASKI COUNTY
AR DEPT OF PARKS & TOURISM
Encompassed by the Arkansas and Little Maumelle Rivers, 1000-acre Two Rivers Park features a bike/walking trail, open play fields, expansive views of the surrounding rivers and hillsides. The Two Rivers Park Garden Center has more than 400 plots where hundreds of local gardeners enjoy their hobby and sense of community. The proposed county master plan includes adding a pavilion, a water feature at the entrance, a playground for children, additional parking, additional restrooms, a permanent stage, boat dock and outdoor fitness area. Two Rivers Park has a bright future. Come and play!
YOUR COUNTY. YOUR SERVICES. • PULASKICOUNTY.NET BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11 | 55
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A Trail With a View Riding with Dave Roberts Playing In The Dirt Mountain biking’s growing popularity with women cyclists Boking Down to E...
Published on Aug 14, 2019
A Trail With a View Riding with Dave Roberts Playing In The Dirt Mountain biking’s growing popularity with women cyclists Boking Down to E...