An American town is proclaiming itself the Mountain Biking Capital of the World — and it's not in Colorado or any other Western state boasting renowned singletrack.
It's Bentonville, Ark., which indeed has burst onto the scene in recent years.
"Bentonville is the birthplace of a modern mountain biking landscape, much like a ski town out West, only we'll be riding all four seasons," the town's director of tourism said in the proclamation this month.
The comment might allude to Crested Butte, viewed as the historic birthplace of the sport. Other Colorado riders favor the desert glory of Fruita, which was an agricultural outpost bound for economic ruin before transforming into a cycling epicenter.
Bentonville's story is similar. The northwest Arkansas town has a silver rating from International Mountain Bicycling Association, sharing the designation with Steamboat Springs and Vail Valley. The Roaring Fork Valley, which includes Aspen, recently became IMBA's seventh destination worldwide to receive a gold rating, based on trail quality as well as lodging and dining options.
Many got a taste of Bentonville in 2016, when the town hosted the IMBA World Summit. Since then, Bentonville has expanded its singletrack network to about 130 miles, accessible from a downtown that has embraced the biking brand, with hotels, eateries, coffee roasters and breweries following suit.