Walmart is Building Mountain Bike Trails!?

Walmart is Building Mountain Bike Trails!?


– Today on BCPpov we jump.
(cheering) Drop. And ride trails built by Wal-Mart? Our road trip through
North America continues. After a few hot and
sweaty weeks in Florida, Yuka and I are heading northwest to the decidedly cooler
Bentonville, in Arkansas, the home of Wal-Mart. And as we entered the city,
it quickly became apparent the presence that Wal-Mart has here. Of course they have the
department store we all know, but there was also Wal-Mart
branded gas stations, convenience stores, fitness
centers, a world room, a culinary center, the
home office, a museum, and the original Wal-Mart, called Walton’s named after the founder, Sam Walton. As one might expect, Wal-Mart has made the Walton
family a whole ton of money. And with that money, Sam
Walton created a charity called the Walton Foundation which is now run by his
children and grandchildren. The foundation’s main focus is
on education and environment. But a little bit of that
Wal-Mart cash has actually gone into building mountain bike
trails in northwest Arkansas. And when I say a little bit of cash, I’m talking about $74 million,
and that’s as of 2018. It’s likely a fair bit more now. With that money, they’ve
built and maintained 163 miles of trails over 10 years. And while that number seems impressive, that’s about $450,000 per mile of trail, which seems a tad pricey. So, with a price tag like
that, are the trails any good? Well, let’s find out. Waking up bright and early, we started our ride in
downtown Bentonville. We passed by the store
that started it all, the original Walton five and dime. Oh, the original, that’s the original one. Oh, there’s an ice rink here. And a minute and 30 seconds
later, we’re at our first trail. Oh yeah, here we go. So, the first trail already. But wait, who is this person guiding us? Well, to find out, we have to
rewind back to the day before. And that started with Yuka
and I riding the free rise skills park in the Slaughter Pen area. There were a set of drops
going from small to large, with the last one featuring
a step up onto the drop. The first two went fine.
(gentle music) But fans of the channel
might be able to predict how that last step up is going to go. (gentle music)
(bike rattling) Yep, that’s right. Step ups are my kryptonite. It all started with this step up in the Whistler Bike Park last spring. (gentle music) – You alright? – This where our fortune changed that day. We crossed paths with a local ripper, a 17 year old named Cooper. He knew how to ride the step up, and he offered to tow me in. Perfect, let’s do this. Cool, alright, I’ll follow you this time. – Alright. (gentle music)
(bike rattling) Still have a problem. Ah, come on Eric just send it. – You gonna try? – Uh, yeah, maybe I will try. – Alright, well maybe
Yuka will have better luck following Cooper in. (upbeat music)
(bike rattling) – Wrong gear. – She’s not one to give up easily, though. – High five.
– Really? – Yeah pre-high five high five. And she says something where
I know she is committed to it. – Alright. – Oh, she’s going to do it now. – Ready?
– Yeah. (gentle music)
(bike rattling) I got bucked.
(laughs) I got bucked.
– You got bucked? – Yeah. I did, I was surprised.
(laughs) That was not that beautiful. That was not beautiful, but it’s okay. Did you see it? – Yeah, I did! She’s such a superstar on a bike. There’s no mental games for her. If she’s made the decision,
she just sends it. I noticed it didn’t go perfect,
but you were still fine. – I was fine, yeah. – You kind of barely made it, but you still had tons of room. – Oh yeah, where did I land? – Well you rolled like
right up the, the angle. – Oh, was I?
– Yeah. – That’s bad!
(laughs) – She didn’t do it quite
perfectly though, but she made it. Which gives me the confidence to do it. (upbeat music) Oh, there we go.
(upbeat music) The lip is pretty aggressive. – Yeah, you’ll lose a lot of your speed as soon as you hit it like whoop. – It wasn’t quite perfect, either, but with the feature unlocked, I can do it again and improve on it. (upbeat music) After some more practice,
Cooper had to go, but we agreed to meet the
next day to ride some more. – Nice. – Which takes us back
to the Walton’s store in downtown Bentonville. And like I said our first
trail, the All-American, is just a minute and a half away. Oh yeah, here we go. It’s the first trail already. And it’s filled with a ton of
fun stuff to mess around on. (upbeat music) How grippy are these
rocks when they’re wet? Whoa! You got off the wire.
– My foot got stuck. – Oh, here’s some wood. But as we ride through,
you might be wondering, at 17 years old, shouldn’t Cooper be in school right now? It is a Tuesday after all. Well, he’s home-schooled, and
mountain biking is basically his physical education class. Sounds pretty good to me. (upbeat music) Nice.
(upbeat music) As we climbed up to our next trail, we saw a trail crew repairing a trail. This is actually a really common sight in Bentonville though. They’re building and maintaining
trails all the time here. Those Wal-Mart dollars hard at work. And speaking of those Wal-Mart dollars, check out this platform as
the start to the trails here. These hubs really are a hallmark of the style of building in Bentonville. And since the trail crew
is working on Choo Choo, we head down Boo Boo.
(funky music) Alright, you ready Yuka?
– Yes! – Oh, yes. (upbeat music)
(bike rattling) Sweet. That’s fun.
– Yeah. – As we continued on, it
starts to become obvious that they’ll put a trail anywhere here, including the side of the road. (upbeat music)
(bike rattling) Hard work! But while all the stuff is good and fun, let’s ramp things up a little, by crossing this crosswalk, to a trail called Barn
Burner, a black jump line. Another hallmark of the
building style out here is the way they build their jumps. Most of the jumps use these flat rocks to create these long-lasting lips. It takes a while getting used to as they’re not as smooth as dirt, but in the end they work well. It took us a few tries
to clear them properly, but when we did, it was oh, so satisfying. Sick.
(upbeat music) (grunting)
That one’s hard. (upbeat music) Oh man.
(upbeat music) Cooper took us to a small pump track, but what he really wanted
to show us was a feature in another zone just north of
here, called Blowing Springs. Rock drops, okay. Oh, you roll them?
– Yeah. – Oh yeah, okay. Rock slabs, I love rock slabs. And with a bit of a pedal, we had arrived. – So that’s the uh.
– Oh. Drop? That’s interesting, huh?
– Yeah. – Can you just crawl down
it and go pretty slow? – I think so.
– Yeah, have you hit it? An awkward climb to the
top and Cooper’s ready. You going to send it? – Yeah.
– Should be okay. (upbeat music)
(bike rattling) (laughing) – Yeah!
(laughing) – Once you’re on, you gotta go. After a bit of an
inspection, it’s my turn. Yeah it’s not really that big. – No, it’s not big. – Ooh.
(laughs) – There is no traction. – Going up is harder. (upbeat music)
(bike rattling) Whoo, nice. And Cooper wants to go again. Nice! He goes so fast.
(laughs) Yeah I don’t think I could go that fast. (laughs) (upbeat music)
(bike rattling) There we go. By this time we built
up a bit of an appetite. So we headed over to the
local fast food joint and filled up on some greasy goodness. But there is still one
last trail we had to ride, a double black jump line back
in the Slaughter Pen area. But first we had to pedal
past these amazing cliffs. (upbeat music) Followed by a harrowing creek crossing. Soon enough, we were at
the top of the double black jump line called the Blackbird. But this trail is pretty
unique because of its surface. That’s interesting. – Yeah it’s.
– Is it grippy? – Oh my goodness, like no other. – That’s interesting. It has this kinda
gravely, concrete surface. It’s something called Soiltac, that is apparently used on BMX tracks. It’s almost as if it’s
been paved, like a road, and it makes for the
smoothest mountain bike trail I’ve ever ridden. It was so new to me that I
didn’t really know how much I could trust the grip in the corners. But nevertheless we went
down and gave it our best. (heavy breathing) Cool.
– Did you see me get bucked? – Oh, no. – Oh my god dude.
– Scare yourself? At the beginning of the video, I talked about how much money the Walton foundation had
spent to build these trails, and whether or not they’re any good. But you know, I’d say
they’re pretty world class. Everything has been
intelligently designed, making good use of the limited
elevation they have here. Even the flat portions of
trails have been filled with features to keep things interesting. On top of that, there are
skills parks and pump tracks scattered all over the place. A lot of time and effort
has gone into making the trails look good as well especially the elevated trail hubs. But if I do have one criticism, it has to do with the
more advanced jump lines. You just have to pedal so
hard to make them work. (grunts) In many other places, flow and jump lines require
very little pedaling to clear the jumps. Just go trail speed, and they work. But in Bentonville you either need to be an extremely dialed jumper or you’ve got to pedal hard. (grunting)
(bike rattling) But this fault is really
just a side effect of the limited elevation
they have in Bentonville. The trail builders just really just want to maximize the elevation they do have, thus creating low angled trails. But on the plus side,
the kids growing up here will become amazing jumpers, just due to the fact that
the jumps are so difficult. On next week’s video we’ll
still be in Bentonville and we’ll still be riding with Cooper. But this time, we’ll be
riding the Coler preserve, where Yuka and I will work our way up to one of the biggest
features in the area. It’ll be a good one. But, as always, thanks for
watching and stay gnarly.

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