Within the next couple of years, cyclists will be able to bike from Fayetteville all the way north to Bella Vista. The trail system, known as the Razorback Greenway, is more than 36 miles of paved bike trail aimed at providing alternative transportation and recreation for the region. Not only does it run north and south, but it will eventually connect (and in many areas already connects) with other spur trails weaving in and of Fayetteville, Johnson, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and Bella Vista to create more than 80 miles of bike- and pedestrian-friendly routes.
Bentonville has been growing and nurturing a very active biking community over the past couple of years, led by the efforts of local bike shops including Phat Tire (located just off the Square (and 2 blocks from Laughlin House!) and Mojo Cycling. In partnership with cycling organizations FAST Friends at Slaughter Pen Trail and Bike Bentonville, among other groups, these organizations rally behind cycling and fitness activities to help make Bentonville a more active, bike-friendly community. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the growing running community and advocates here, spearheaded by Rush Running.) Together they organize events, group rides, races and educational activities centered around cycling. It is a very common site to see cyclists in full riding gear gathering at the Square before heading a block north to the Crystal Bridges Bike Trail (which is also only a block from Laughlin House!) on their way to Slaughter Pen Hollow, a world-class, 30-mile system of off-road mountain biking trails located in north Bentonville. (To see riders in action, click through the dozens of videos on YouTube of Slaughter Pen rides; here’s one example I found.)
Slaughter Pen Jam Festival
Speaking of bike-centered events, this weekend is the much-anticipated Slaughter Pen Jam, a 3-day weekend of bike racing action, live music and great food in Bentonville. The Bentonville First Friday festival touts the World Trials Champion Bicycle Stunt Exhibition from 5 to 8 p.m. on the Square — one of our favorites of the year. It’s like watching bicycle ballet. Read a little more about the events of the September First Friday and come check it out this weekend.
Upcoming Bike-Themed Art Events
And of course we have to mention what’s going on in the local art scene this month. The Norberta Philbrook Art Gallery (located on Central across from Phat Tire Bike Shop) is hosting The Art of Cycling throughout the month of September, both at their gallery and across the street at The Pressroom. This event is being described as a “month-long collaborative exhibition that celebrates cycling and cyclists, opening as an accompaniment to the Slaughter Pen Jam & Music Festival,” featuring several local artists who will provide bike-themed artwork and experiences. The Norberta Philbrook Gallery and The Pressroom will also host a public reception for the artists on Tuesday September 17th from 6-8pm.
See you on the trails!