BENTONVILLE -- OZ Brands on Monday announced the launch of OZ Gravel, a lifestyle brand dedicated to promoting the rapidly growing gravel cycling scene in Northwest Arkansas, according to a news release.
The launch includes a website, OZGravelNWA.com, as well as social communities on Facebook, Instagram and Strava.
"Building off the amazing success of OZ Trails for mountain biking, OZ Gravel will provide a place for gravel riders to learn about new routes, build their skillsets and share their experiences," says J.T. Geren, who leads the marketing efforts behind the brand. "Northwest Arkansas, and Benton County in particular, has some of the most scenic, accessible gravel riding anywhere."
The OZ Gravel website includes curated routes that take riders on beginner, intermediate and advanced courses throughout the area, with several routes crossing into Missouri and Oklahoma. The routes were hand-picked and tested by Andy Chasteen, who is well known among the cycling community and works for the Runway Group, which owns and operates OZ Brands. Chasteen created The Rule of Three, Horseshoe Hell and other iconic cycling events, according to the release.
"Gravel riding is appealing to all kinds of cyclists," Chasteen said. "You can be a competitive rider, a recreational rider or a solo bikepacker. The gravel scene here is set to explode as we continue to discover these incredible scenic, rural roads."
Many of the curated routes were mapped as part of the Arkansas Rural Recreational Roads (Arkansas R3) project. Arkansas R3 is a public-private partnership that identifies and designates rural roads as recreational opportunities across the state. Tom Walton, co-founder of the Runway Group, created Arkansas R3, according to the release.
"Gravel cycling is yet another way to connect our rural communities to the economic potential of outdoor recreation in our state," Walton said. "Many of these cycling routes are accessible right from people's front porches, so it's more than a tourism initiative. Our hope is that our rural communities will participate and enjoy all the benefits that cycling brings."