Mountain biking is one of the styles that intimidates me, more so after trying out a few trails that required technical skill I didn’t have. That means I limit myself to hiking when visiting Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Vermont and other destinations with worthy mountain bike trails. While I’d love to cover more ground by riding, I first need to get more confidence. My plan is to find a place to learn closer to home, and fortunately that doesn’t mean I have to miss out on an area that is making national lists as a mountain biking destination.
The northwest Arkansas region built a 5-mile trail in 2007 and has been aggressively building their bicycling community since then. Their OZ Trails network now boasts more than 300 miles of trails of varying difficulty for mountain bikers and gravel riders, as well as the 40-mile, multiuse paved Razorback Regional Greenway connecting the area’s major cities. In the middle is Bentonville, where you can access two trail systems just off the town square.
What caught my attention is the Women of OZ organization offering programming to connect women riders of all abilities. They offer a ride the first Saturday of every month that includes a free fundamental skills clinic followed by guided rides for beginners to advanced riders.
MeLinda Schnyder is a freelance journalist based in Wichita, Kansas, and has been a regular contributor to Kansas Country Living since 2017. She grew up in Columbia, Missouri, where her first grown-up bike was a used yellow Schwinn 10-speed that would now be considered vintage and cool.