Arkansas trails beckon bikers

Posted: May 16, 2017 at 1 a.m.

May marks National Bike Month and Arkansas has a variety of terrain to ride, from the scenic mountain roads of the Ozarks and Ouachitas to the backroads of the Delta flatlands and urban routes found in cities across the state.

"Our national forests have many world-class single-track trails that appeal to riders from all over the country," said Jim Britt, president of the Arkansas Bicycle Club. "We are fortunate to have weather that allows us to ride all year, with just a few breaks some years for wintry days. We have beautiful scenery throughout the state."

Details on both cycling and mountain biking trails in Arkansas can be found at arkansas.com/bicycling/.

A Road Cycling Guide and Mountain Biking Guide can be found at arkansas.com/bicycling/road-cycling/free-guides/.

A Governor's Advisory Council on Cycling has recently been created to spread the word about the benefits of biking and help promote the sport's positive impact on the state economy.

"The more people on bicycles that are visible, the safer they will all be since cars will be expecting to see them," Britt said. "The new Governor's Advisory Council on Cycling can be a big asset to hopefully get the road users to talk with the road builders."

To highlight the various outlets of biking, Bike to Work Day has been set for Friday this year.

"It's very important to support recreational cycling, but then also look at how the bike can be used as a means of transportation," said Steve Taylor, communications manager at the League of American Bicyclists.

National Bike Month was first created by the League of American Bicyclists in the 1950s. So far, the organization has designated six Bicycle Friendly Communities in the state including Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway, Bentonville, Benton and Washington counties, and Fayetteville.

"By committing to being bicycle friendly, towns become more aware of how they can improve their roads and trails for bicycle commuters as well as for healthy recreation." Britt said. "Many capital improvements on roads now require thought on how bicycle use can be incorporated into plans. When people look at where to live, some of the top things they consider are the schools and access to walking and bicycling trails."

Along with road biking, the sport of mountain biking has been gaining momentum in Arkansas. The state is currently home to five International Mountain Bicycling Association epic routes. These include the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, the Upper Buffalo Trail, the Womble Trail, the Syllamo Trails and the 108 miles of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail, a long-distance hiking trail through the Ouachita National Forest.

Sports on 05/16/2017