Wheels Up

Wheels Up

Outerbike brings the best to Bentonville


“As a lifelong Arkansan, I know that the image of Arkansas is not representative of what you really get. So this brings people from all over the country and all over the world to a dynamic community in Arkansas — the most dynamic community in Arkansas: Bentonville. And it turns them into brand champions, it shows them who we are, and it sends them back out in the world to carry our message.”

That’s why Graham Cobb, Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, is excited about Outerbike — both personally and based on what it will mean economically for his city. The mountain biking event descending on Bentonville Oct. 26-28 is like an industry event — but for the consumer. Started as an answer to the Interbike International Expo that takes place in Las Vegas for manufacturers, retailers and distributors, Outerbike brings the testing, product browsing and community building directly to consumers in Sun Valley, Idaho, Crested Butte, Colo., Moab, Utah and now Bentonville.

“Northwest Arkansas has flow trails, Northwest Arkansas has technical singletrack and cross country, Northwest Arkansas has jump lines, Northwest Arkansas has a bike park, Northwest Arkansas has downhill, and Bentonville has fast, flowy, intermediate mountain bike stuff,” Cobb enthuses. “So typically when you’re out to buy a bike, you buy the bike that you think is going to help you best ride the things you think you’re going to ride. Well, Outerbike gives the attendee myriad bike choices. Bentonville has all of those different things you can ride, so it’s really a unique pairing of opportunity and variety.”

For three days, bike enthusiasts and casual riders alike can test different bikes on Bentonville’s impressive mountain bike trails, peruse vendors and exhibitors and mingle with other bike lovers in their community.

“Cycling is sort of a gateway drug to the out-of-doors, because if you build the cycling infrastructure, you’re helping everybody get outside, not just the mountain bikers,” shares Ashley Korenblat of Western Spirit Cycling, the organizing body behind Outerbike. “The reason communities have asked us to bring Outerbike to them is it helps put your community on the map as a biking destination, and Bentonville has already done that in so many ways.”

This sentiment is supported by a report released by the Walton Family Foundation in March revealing more than 90,000 mountain bike tourists visited Northwest Arkansas in the past year, pouring more than $27 million into local businesses. When combined with the more than $21 million locals spent on bicycling goods and events, that makes cycling a pretty important economic factor for the area.

“For Bentonville, what [hosting Outerbike] means is the outside is taking notice,” Cobb says. “When these trails started to get built, [one] started to look at it and say, ‘Wow, this is neat, but they sure are spending a lot of money on a few people.’ But then you start to [realize] no, we’re not. Because from a local standpoint, you’ve got little kids, you’ve got junior high teams, you’ve got high school teams, you’ve got mothers and daughters and sons and fathers and grandfathers all out riding or hiking or whatever. So it’s not a few people; it’s a lot of people. We didn’t just build trails. We built destinations. We built places in our back yard where people are going to come, and they’re going to spend money, they’re going to see what we’re doing.”




WHEN — Oct. 26-28

WHERE — “Buckyball field” at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville

COST — $85-$240

INFO — 273-2841, becausebentonville.com, outerbike.com

Categories: Family Friendly