Fayetteville partnership helps launch low-cost, guided gravel bike rides

Photo: 37 North Expeditions

Experience Fayetteville, the city’s tourism bureau, has joined a local partnership to help fund low-cost, beginner gravel bike rides in the Fayetteville area.

The bureau, along with Adventure Subaru, has partnered with adventure company 37 North Expeditions to develop the Fayetteville Adventure Series, which offers recreational rides and educational events that delve deeper into the Ozark outdoors.

37 North offers a variety of guided biking, hiking, paddling and horseback riding tours in the Northwest Arkansas and Springfield, Missouri areas.

The Fayetteville series features bike rides on the first Saturday and the second Sunday of each month.

By partnering with the Fayetteville groups, the cost can stay low for beginners who’re interested in getting started riding on gravel roads and on the local mountain bike trails. Most rides cost $30-$35 per person.

“We jumped at the opportunity to partner with 37 North,” said Molly Rawn, CEO of Experience Fayetteville. “This is the type of programming we want to be a part of and promote. It showcases Fayetteville’s proximity to incredible natural resources, enhances the visitor experience and builds community.”

Danny Collins, founder of 37 North, said Fayetteville is known for its active outdoor community, and his hope is that the rides and events will provide an entry point for like-minded people to connect over their shared love of the Ozarks.

“The goal is to highlight the amazing outdoor resources and activities in and around Fayetteville,” said Collins. “Our focus for this series will be to provide high quality bike programming and educational events for families, beginners and advanced riders. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, we will have programming and rides for you.”

Photo: 37 North Expeditions

Danielle Dotson, marketing director at Adventure Subaru, said the partnership is also perfect for the Fayetteville car dealership that has long been known for sponsoring a wide variety of local outdoor events.

“This partnership is a great fit,” said Dotson. “Not only for the educational aspect of the series, but that it encourages getting outside and living a robust, active lifestyle.”

The first event is set for Saturday, June 5. Participants will meet at the Visitors Center on the Fayetteville square at 9:30 a.m. Guides with 37 North will load everyone’s bikes onto an enclosed trailer and shuttle the riders to a gravel location before embarking on a 15- to 20-mile route. The ride will include a WFA-certified lead guide and a support vehicle and trailer in case anyone needs mechanical support, first aid, mid-ride refreshment, or simply wants a break.

Photo: 37 North Expeditions

The series also includes a beginner-level “mountain bike school” ride, a family Greenway tour, and several educational events that will take place on the second Tuesday of the month at Bearded Goat, an outdoor apparel shop on Block Avenue.

Collins said the educational events will be intimate and low-key, and will focus on topics ranging from mountaineering to modern birding to topographical map reading.

In addition to the regular rides and events, 37 North has also planned a five-part tour of the Arkansas High Country Route to provide the backcountry experience that the course provides, but with resources that riders typically do not have when embarking on the journey.

The route is used for the annual Arkansaw High Country Race, a self-supported event that includes over 1,000 miles of gravel and paved roads that connect several of the state’s natural regions, including the Ozark and Ouachita mountain ranges and the Arkansas River Valley.

The High Country series by 37 North will allow riders to test their limits on their own terms, safely and fully supported, with options to complete one or all of the five sections over five months.

See the current list of Fayetteville Adventure Series events at 37northexpeditions.com.

This article is sponsored by First Security Bank. For more great stories of Arkansas food, travel, sports, music and more, visit onlyinark.com.