Article by: Arkansas Money and Politics
"If Ernest Hemingway was right, if in fact one best learns the contours of a place on two wheels, then riders across the country are becoming experts on the lay of the Natural State.
Biking has become a big deal in Arkansas, not only as a quality-of-life catalyst for cities across the state but as a genuine tourist attraction, mountain biking in particular. Once considered a hidden gem in the biking world, Northwest Arkansas has emerged as a template for growing a biking community and Bentonville as a legitimate U.S. mountain bike “destination.”
The Walton Family Foundation reports that cycling – be it road, trail, gravel or shared use path — delivered $137 million in economic benefits to Northwest Arkansas in 2017 and over a span of 12 months beginning in the spring of 2017, more than 90,000 “mountain biking tourists” visited the area, 57 percent of them from out of state. That’s on par with “blueblood” trail destinations like Colorado and British Columbia.
And in 2018, out-of-state biking tourists provided a $27 million economic boost to NWA. Another WFF study found that between 2015 and 2017, average weekday ridership volumes among NWA residents increased roughly 32 percent to 187 riders and by 14 percent to 336 cyclists on weekends per study site. Annual volumes per study site increased 24 percent to 83,700 riders.
NWA metro ranks fourth nationally in volume of cyclists with 5.45 riders per 1,000 residents behind Minneapolis (25.48 per 1,000); Vancouver, B.C., Canada (24.07), and Portland, Ore. (9.34)."