Brian Lopes is a professional mountain biker, multiple mountain biking world champion, author and inductee into both the Mountain Bike and BMX Halls of Fame. Lopes started riding BMX in his childhood and turned pro at age 17. And, lucky for us, he recently spent some time in Northwest Arkansas riding the trails and exploring the food scene. Here, he gives us the run down on his entire Oz Trails experience.
My initial impressions of Bentonville were immediately exceeded by quite a lot. The city has awesome restaurants, bars, coffee shops, bike spots all around town, and the impressive Crystal Bridges Museum of American Arts. And when it comes to trails, there’s everything from singletrack to jump trails. To be honest, I haven’t stopped talking about the place since I left. When I’m talking about trails to friends, I always bring up Northwest Arkansas. I’ve even started looking at houses in Bentonville on Zillow. I used to have a house in Whistler and it was kind of hard to get there. NWA is much easier to get to.
The crew took me to The Railyard, an amazing bike park in nearby Rogers. We were going through a residential area and, all of a sudden, we arrived at this huge, impressive bike park. It was awesome.
One of the great things about Oz Trails is that there is something for every level of mountain biker and an amazing diversity of trails. I saw terrain for a wide variety of skill level and interest. Everyone from the pros to the beginners can ride in NWA.
On Oz Trails
The Oz Trails are so fun with tons of jumps and berms and really have something that appeals to every level of rider. The builders have created trail systems where a pro-level rider can have just as much fun as a novice. The trails allow the pros to get creative with all the features and obstacles and create their own lines to increase the challenge.
There are some trails around the U.S. that are made specifically for the pro rider and your buddies who aren’t as skilled won’t be able to ride it. But with the Oz Trails, there are lines for riders of all levels and skill sets so everyone can have a great time.
I also loved hanging out in Bentonville. To me, that’s a big part of what made the destination so attractive. There are a lot of features about Bentonville that I’ve been bragging about - the restaurants, the breweries and the people. I’m really looking forward to coming back! I think fall would be the next time I’d be able to make it there. I just need to put together a group of people and make it happen.
In Bentonville, you’re never far away from a trail head, even in the middle of town. In my experience, if you have to drive a long way to get to a trail, you’re not going to ride as much. In Bentonville, its easy to go from trail to brewery in the same ride.
I was blown away by the restaurants we went to. I’m 98 percent gluten free and to go into a place and to learn that everything on the menu is gluten free was awesome. I would be a regular at all the restaurants! If I lived in Bentonville, I wouldn’t even need a kitchen because of all the amazing places to eat.
Another nice point of the area was flying in to the local airport. You can land and be on your bike within 45 minutes!
Why everyone should ride Oz Trails