Location: Arkansas

A Roll-Your-Own Cross-State Bicycle Tour

For years, it has seemed strange that Arkansas had no organized cross-state bicycle tour — something similar to Biking Across Kansas, the Oklahoma FreeWheel, or RAGBRAI.

Arkansas would seem to be a good fit for such a tour — it’s largely rural, with lots of low-traffic roads running through scenic and in many places, challenging, terrain. I, for one, would love to do a Bike-Across-Arkansas tour.

Well, it seems I’m not the only one who’s had that dream.

From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette comes news of some folks that got fed up with dreaming about a tour, and just up and did it themselves:

After more than a decade of talking, talking, talking in which one spangle of excitement after another fizzled down to … more talking, six bicycle riders finally “just did it.”

These members of the Arkansas Bicycle Club grew tired of failed attempts to organize a cross-Arkansas tour on the scale of RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) or the Oklahoma Freewheel. So, by golly, they saddled up April 13 and went on their own little Bicycle Ride Around Arkansas (BRAA) or Bicycle Arkansas (BARK) ride – or whatever people want to call it.

Forget shuttle cars and insurance coverage and 210 parade permits or whatever. They announced their plan on bicycle club chat boards, inviting everyone to come along for all or part of a seven-day, no-sag, no-frills, no-fault bicycle-camping tour. At 9 a.m. on a rain-soaked Monday, Jim Britt, 59; Coreen Frasier, 65; John Linck, 59; and Brad Joseph, 55, launched themselves from the relatively dry porch of River Trail Rentals. Their wheels sliced through rapidly deepening puddles as they left the North Little Rock riverfront and headed north toward Arkansas 107. Two other cyclists joined them on the road. Seven days and 350 miles or so later, only two of them were willing to stay in the saddle all the way to their front doors. But Frasier says they all agree “the mileage was perfect all but the first day … Arkansas is a beautiful place to ride, and we picked a most beautiful and scenic course.”

The article details their route, which started in North Little Rock and overnighted at Greers Ferry Lake, Mountain View, Marshall, Tilly, Lake Nimrod, Hot Springs before ending up back in Little Rock (you can also view their route online).

The riders had to battle some rainy days, and “Boy, we went up some big hills. But we managed to get up the hills,” Linck says. “We only had one flat. Everybody had good equipment. Everybody came physically fit enough to ride those hills. We didn’t have a weak link, which really made it nice.”

Britt says they will try another BRAA or BARK or whatever next spring. No frills, no insurance. Feel free to join them.

Read the full story: 7-day Arkansas bicycle tour often arduous, usually scenic

About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

2 responses to “A Roll-Your-Own Cross-State Bicycle Tour”

  1. noam65 says:

    Arkansas would seem to be a good fit for such a tour

  2. Steve Garufi says:

    This is a great story. I would love to participate in a BARK someday. Then again, I’ve biked across America twice in 2008 and 2011, and each time I went across Arkansas. 🙂