With the natural landscape within our state, biking continues to increase in popularity.
In this week's Adventure Arkansas, Sean Bailey teamed up with a local biking group in the River Valley to learn about the social scene, and the scenery, that comes with mountain biking.
Starting atop one of the best views in Fort Smith, the McClure Amphitheater, the River Valley Cycling club met for a weekend ride.
Carl Norris is one of the leaders in the club, and he said mountain biking as a group can be an effective motivator.
"It's hard sometimes to get outside and exercise by yourself, so if you know people are going to ride at a set time, you're more likely to do it," Norris said. "Plus we have so many different skill levels that there's always someone more experienced or slightly better skill level, that you can actually improve your cycling abilities with people who have been riding longer or have greater abilities. So it's both social and improves your ability."
Nancy Pollan, a rider with RVCC, echoed how wide the range of riders' skills are in a group.
"We have everything from first time somebody's gotten on a bike riding out at Springhill -- that's a good place to start for beginners," said Pollan. "Young kids, all the way up to Cat-1 riders tearing it up on the trail."
Age also isn't a factor, as Clay Hobbs keeps up with the group in his Cat in the Hat jersey.
The River Valley trail network can meet the needs of each person in a group rides. Norris knows some of the best places are to get started.
"The best place to start is over at Lock and Dam 13 in Springhill," Norris said. "It's flat, there's very few rocks, so it's not very technical. It doesn't take an expensive bike to get started."
In addition to the fitness goals you can achieve, Pollan said mountain biking has one distinct advantage over road biking.
"It's just social, because mountain biking is a little slower," she said. "You get a chance to talk a little bit more and stop and catch up."
As for getting started, she said it's simple.
"Don't be intimidated," Pollan siad. "Don't think because you've never been on a bike, or you're not good, that you can't do it. All you got to do is pedal."
We've featured both Springhill and Ben Geren park biking trails on the interactive Adventure Arkansas map to help get you there, and if you're interested in joining the River Valley Cycling club, we have a link to their Facebook page on our website.
That's it for this week's Adventure Arkansas.