With hundreds of bicycles on school campuses this year, Bentonville Schools is launching a competition called Bike Bentonville Schools. The effort aims to encourage healthy lifestyles among students in the Mountain Biking Capital of the World™.
The Bentonville school with the highest percentage of students riding bicycles to class between Sept. 1 and 30 will win a $5,000 grant to use in any way they decide.
This fall, students at NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) and Minneapolis Community & Technical College can study bikes. The Bicycle Assembly and Repair Technician Certificate program — being offered at both schools for the first time — is an accelerated, two-semester program designed to prepare students for employment in the bicycle retail industry. Over the course of a year, students will learn a wealth of new skills, including extensive bicycle repair and service work, bicycle assembly, service department management and business.
Allied Cycle Works in Rogers is part of an exclusive club of bike makers that’s not only based in the U.S., but crafts frames from lightweight carbon fiber. The big picture: The vast majority of an estimated 15 million bikes sold in the U.S. each year are imported — mostly from Asia. Allied is among those proving that bike manufacturing can be done domestically, although with a price tag to match.
Pam LeBlanc, one of the co-founders of Austin Travels, went to Bentonville, Arkansas to learn more about everything the area has to offer for mountain bikers.
The brothers think Arkansas has a chance to be viewed as the “Colorado of middle America”–a place with abundant outdoor recreational and job opportunities, minus the high cost of living on the West Coast or East Coast.
The name “Mountain Bike Capital of the World” isn’t stolen, assures Belgian Trial Bike World Champion and professional mountain biker Kenny Belaey.
“I have definitely ridden my bike in more, like, epic places. If you talk about landscapes, or maybe gnarly terrain, yes. But what makes Bentonville the MTB capital is that they have created a formula that everybody can ride the trails and have fun on it,” he explains. The trails and the resources offer an absolute beginner just as enjoyable an experience as a pro like Belaey.