By John Ray
On a recent Sunday night, the elegant and eclectic 21C Hotel in Bentonville was filled with the enchanting harmonies of The Band Joseph, three sisters from Portland, Oregon, whose high-energy band captivated the packed-out gallery during the Bentonville Sessions concert series.
After the show, my wife Jane dropped my bike and me off at my friend Jake Newells’ house. Monday morning began early for Jake and me at The Pressroom, where we caught up over a fantastic breakfast. I spent the rest of the morning working in the sleek new Onyx Coffee Lab, which opened recently in the Midtown Center, then grabbed lunch at Yeyo’s taco truck.
A grilled burrito was probably not the smartest thing to eat before jumping on my bike to ride the thirty plus miles back to Fayetteville. Solid hour of burp-fest before settling down.
I pushed off that afternoon from the Newells’ house, loaded with thirty pounds of clothes and gear in my two panniers. The day was unusually warm for mid-March, the sun bright enough that I wished I had packed some sunscreen for the journey. A south wind blew stiff, but not relentless.
While the wind can play a major role in helping or hindering your progress on the Greenway, construction proved more of an obstacle on this ride. The chance of flatting out was increased by three major trail closure/detours in Bentonville and Rogers, along with a couple of areas where nearby construction projects littered the Greenway with small debris. Most of the alternative paths weren’t clearly marked, so figuring out how to get back on course was slightly confusing.
But the budding trees, green grass and first-blooming flowers of spring more than compensated for these minor workarounds.
So: I enjoyed a fun, relaxing evening of friends and music, followed by a productive morning of work and a two-and-a-half hour ride home on incredible trails in time to wrap up the work day late that afternoon. What a truly special opportunity — provided by these gifts of a bike-friendly climate and the Greenway. To fully appreciate this terrific combination requires planning ahead and investing in the right equipment, but the payoff is so worth it.
So where will the Greenway take you? Maybe to Crystal Bridges for a morning of quiet inspiration in the galleries? How about a ride up to the AMP for a concert, then car-pool home? Take part in one of the bi-annual Square to Square rides? Get a group and hit the taco stands or tap rooms (or both) along the route? Ride up for an evening of cider in Springdale?
The opportunities are limited only by your energy and imagination. Watch this space as we explore them together.
Grace and peace, y’all.