Ride Vibes: Respect the Land
Photo credit: Kids Bike Arkansas
After getting back from Boulder a few months ago, nothing in my mind could measure up to the fun I had at Valmont Bike Park. Luckily for me and the rest of Northwest Arkansas, our bike park dream was about to come true!
November 7, 2015 marked the opening of The Railyard bike park, conveniently located in downtown Rogers and connecting to the Lake Atalanta trail system. Located just blocks from the Arkansas-Missouri railroad, the park features an impressive namesake centerpiece—a hollow old rail car set on real railroad tracks for riders to roll through.
The world-class park will host world-class riding as part of IMBA’s 2016 World Summit taking place in nearby Bentonville. Danny MacAskill and Hans Rey will be on hand to ride during the Friday afternoon expo.
The Railyard was built by Progressive Trail Design and funded in part by The Walton Family Foundation. It’s perfect for riders of all levels; the past few months have seen everything from striders to dirt jumpers, mountain bikes and BMX. Parking is great, and the park stays open weather permitting from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Yes, the park has lights, so riding after work in winter is now an option for the area! The park also has a pavilion with an observation deck, restrooms and bike wash station, as well as a dog park area.
The “Session Zone” dirt jump area includes four lines side-by-side of increasing difficulty from beginner to expert, so riders can practice and build on their skills. The Slopestyle area is loaded with features including curved wall rides, dirt berms, flat wall rides, rollers, jump boxes, drop offs, and of course, the rail car!
My favorite area has to be the Kid’s Zone, what the design group calls a “Progressive Playground.” It is perfect for strider bikes and beginner riders, and even has its own tunnel to ride through. The Kids Zone includes log rides, rock bridges, a curvy ladder bridge and a pump track; all great features to encourage balance and confidence. The Kids Zone will also be the new location for a local Strider Club run by Kids Bike Arkansas, a non-profit focused on getting kids on bikes.
Nathan Woodruff, founder and owner of Progressive Trail Design, said the park would be a “game changer for the community,” and I have a feeling the community agrees!
—By Natasha Brand, F.A.S.T. Program Representative