Written by: Brady Carman, PeopleForBikes Northwest Arkansas Bike Business Innovation Program Coordinator
Gravel cycling is quickly becoming a favorite activity for bike riders across the Ozarks, and for good reason. Gravel riding allows people to take the skills they may have gained from time pedaling on mountain bike trails or in the saddle on a road bike and put them to use exploring the endless beauty and gravel roads of Northwest Arkansas.
Gravel biking is like double dutch. Hear me out.
While gravel is growing in popularity for riders of all skill levels, it can still be intimidating for riders who are unsure of where or how to start, no matter their experience. Remember watching people jump rope at recess as a kid, thinking about how fun it looked, but you didn’t know how to jump in and join? For too many riders out there, the idea of joining a group gravel ride feels just like watching those double dutch all-stars, “It looks like fun, but how do I even get started?”
It starts with an invitation.
At PeopleForBikesNWA, we saw an opportunity to bring new riders into gravel biking by hosting a monthly supported “Intro to Gravel” ride. We wanted to explicitly invite people to join us because that is the most useful way to help someone new get out and ride. An invitation to ride says, “We want you here, and you belong here.”
Our Intro to Gravel rides are open to riders of all skill levels and focused on being a welcoming and inclusive space for people trying out gravel riding, whether it’s for the first time or the fifteenth time. We work with OZ Cycling Tours to make sure every ride includes ride leaders, sweeps, and a support vehicle to let riders know that if they are unable to complete the ride, we’ve got their back. Our team also publishes the ride mileage, expected riding pace, and pre-ride checklists to help people prepare for the rides before their tires even hit the dirt.
If you or a friend are curious about trying gravel riding, you are personally invited to jump in and join us on our next scheduled ride on, Saturday, February 17! Learn more about upcoming Intro to Gravel rides and so many other great NWA cycling events by joining us on Instagram and Facebook.
About PeopleForBikesNWA: PeopleForBikes, the U.S. bicycle industry’s trade association and national advocacy nonprofit represents 325 bicycle industry supplier members and 1.4 million individual supporters, planted its flag in Bentonville, Arkansas, in September 2020 to support increased bicycling through local businesses. Today, our dynamic team operates from The Ledger, the first ever bikeable office building, and works to connect and engage the bike industry with the Northwest Arkansas community through events, networking, continuing education, and Ride to Work Wednesdays, a commuter program encouraging businesses to get their employees biking to work.