On the calendar of the mind, March 1 can be the first day of spring. Big deal if it’s not the official start, but it’s springtime nonetheless with daffodils blooming, birds singing and grass getting green.
What better way to usher in springtime than to hop on a bike to welcome a new season. That is, unless it’s cold with a stiff breeze to match, as it was this March 1. So we moved the first day of springtime to March 3 on our mind’s calendar, perfect for a ride on the Razorback Greenway. Sixty-eight degrees beats 40 when you’re pedaling into a headwind.
Ah, but we were on a mission this fine Friday afternoon. Two missions, really. First, to check out the new reroute of the Razorback Greenway that’s just been finished near Village on the Creeks shopping area in Rogers. Second, to see if the temporarily closed section of the Greenway that goes under Interstate 49 near the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion might have opened.
We found the biking on the reroute to be fine and dandy. A second delight was seeing the closed section is open again.
To get this springtime jaunt going, we started at the Rogers Regional Sports Park at Dixieland and Hudson roads. The concrete trail for bikes and feet heads west through town, near Mathias Elementary and into a pretty meadow and woods in the Turtle Creek neighborhood.
This isn’t part of the Razorback Greenway, but Rogers’ own trail network. There are pedestrian traffic signals to help bikers cross Olive Street and busy Walnut Street. The path returns quickly to a quieter ride en route to New Hope Road where the Razorback Greenway reroute starts.
Bikers, runners and walkers pass under Interstate 49 and continue west along flowing Osage Creek toward the shops and restaurants at Village on the Creeks. There’s a nice new bridge on the trail over Osage Creek, where it’s worth a stop to gaze at this pretty, urban stream.
Now the ride gets really nice, meandering along the lake behind Village on the Creeks, before curving north to cross Stony Brook Road at another light. The Greenway now blocks away from the original route along bustling South 52nd Street.
From here the Greenway goes up a moderate hill past some upscale apartments and then joins the original Razorback Greenway route, which heads north to Bentonville.
The afternoon was perfect to spend on a bike. We kept heading north, past the Horsebarn Road trailhead where kids played in the creek and took turns on the swings. The Greenway heads into Bentonville through a tunnel under the traffic on Walton Boulevard. Trail travelers pass some wetlands, meadows and go past Bentonville High School.
Then it’s a short ride to the downtown square or farther to Lake Bella Vista. After a water break on the square, we pedaled back toward Rogers.
At New Hope Road, springtime thoughts turned to that closed section of the Greenway under the interstate. Could it be open? We pedaled south, past the Mercy Hospital trailhead. Lo and behold, the trail is open again, at least it was on March 3. Barricades were removed and we met runners and walkers headed both ways.
To ride from Bella Vista to Fayetteville or vice versa, one had to take a detour on busy streets to bypass the closed section. It was a hallelujah moment to see the trail open again. That made our ride back to the sports park even more pleasant.
No telling how far we pedaled to ring in springtime. There’s no odometer on our handlebars that tells the distance to the inch. Same reason we don’t have a digital fish weighing scale in the boat. If you catch a big old bass, you can eyeball it and say, “That fish is 6 pounds, easy,” when it might really only be four and a half on the scale. Then you release the fish. “Yep. Six pounds.”
That little ride on the Greenway had to be 30 miles. Yep, 30 miles, easy.
Flip Putthoff can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NWAFlip.
Sports on 03/14/2017