One town. 400 miles of trails. These easily-accessed four-hundred-reasons-to-get-outside are why “cycling mecca” has become a common phrase used to describe the city of Bentonville in northwest Arkansas.
“You can go straight from the [town] square and just ride,” says 7-time BMX National Champion Payton Ridenour — visiting Bentonville for the first time to attend the WomenShred event in early May.
One visit to Bentonville is all it took for bike mechanic Morgan Barkley to become a permanent resident. “It was apparent visiting here that there was a pulse,” says Barkley, who now works at the local Phat Tire Bike Shop. “I’m beyond stoked to be somewhere I can ride year-round. Never thought I’d be calling Arkansas my home base…”
Enthusiasm for cycling is growing thanks to the support of the city’s largest employer, Walmart
, that is headquartered in Bentonville. Beyond being one of the world’s largest retailers of entry-level bicycles, the brand along with the Walton Family Foundation advocate for healthy lifestyles in the communities that their stores are located — and it starts at home.
In Bentonville, the bicycle is more than just a vehicle for mobility, it is delivering fitness and fellowship — bringing people together.
Out-of-towners journey to this Arkansas city as a destination for unique experiences. “The WomenShred event brings together women, and men,” says Ridenour, “To ride BMX, pumptrack and mountain biking.”
With so many cycling possibilities, those who call Bentonville “home” are finding that daily journeys can be their destination. “There’s a huge cycling community,” says Barkley, “And there are a lot of women that keep the tempo going — group rides, workshops and maintenance clinics.”
Natives and transplants, all led to one city by cycling — and led out of town by a great facilitating network of trails and people.
That’s Bentonville, Arkansas: 400 miles and riding.