When I grew up in Springdale in the 1970’s and 80’s, I cruised all over town on my bicycle. I can remember being as young as 6 and riding around with my older brother and sister. By the time I was around 8 years old, I started going out on solo missions around town on the sweetest bike that ever cruised the streets! It was metallic purple with a matching banana seat purchased from Western Auto.
Back then I lived at 1501 Camino Real in High Chaparral subdivision and I rode that bike all over town! My boundaries were highway 71 on the east and Highway 68 on the south. Within that area, I rode mile after mile. When I got to junior high I was allowed to cross highway 68 to reach Southwest. Luckily, I was able to upgrade the purple wonder to a sweet Huffy Pro Thunder BMX bike, blue tires, blue pads, blue oversize Oakley grips! My cycling destinations were almost always some combination of the following: Spee-Dee Mart for comic books, 7-11 for Slurpees, candy, and baseball cards, Springdale Library for books on every imaginable subject, and Westwood Drive-In for corn dogs and Cokes.
One summer, I had permanent brain freeze buying Slurpees in search of the elusive Stan Lee cup from the Marvel superhero cup collection. I never found it. In those days, the streets were relatively quiet and safe for a young person on a bike. Today, the landscape has changed. More traffic, wider roads, and big SUV’s make riding a bike a much more intimidating activity. Some people long for the good old days, but for a kid on a bike, we might just be coming into the golden age of cycling in Springdale!
Consider these factors:
⦁ The Razorback Regional Greenway – this 36-mile cycling route connects Bella Vista to Fayetteville and spurs in every town take riders to an unbelievable variety of activities. Completed in 2015, this trail has connected the region in new and exciting ways
⦁ Jones Center Pump Track – Springdale has the BEST facility of this type in the world! Someday, the best pump track riders will come from our area. Imagine a future when Pump Track riding is in the Olympics and we have a gold medal winner from Springdale.
⦁ Bike Lane Pilot Programs – Springdale was the first city in the area to implement a protected bike lane project to connect more neighborhoods safely to the trail system. These lanes also increase the safety for riders and pedestrians.
⦁ Mountain Bike Wonderland – Northwest Arkansas has hundreds of miles of mountain bike trails for every skill level! Kids in Springdale have Fitzgerald Mountain and Thunder Chicken trails to hone their skills as well as world-class trails in every other town in the area. More miles of trails are being added constantly. If you love mountain biking, Springdale has you covered.
I was part of one of the last generations in Springdale who had true freedom as a kid on a bike. With these additions to the cycling infrastructure in Springdale and all over Northwest Arkansas, kids who are just now taking off their training wheels could have a bright future on two wheels!