Event takes riders down forgotten U.S. 71
FAYETTEVILLE—Sure there are kicks on Route 66, but dozens of bike riders had their fun on U.S. 71 during the annual Highway 71 Classic bicycle ride.
The once busy highway is a haven for cycling now that Interstate 49 carries most of the traffic over the Boston Mountains between Fayetteville and Alma. Riders pedaled the meandering road on a chilly Sunday on March 12 for the thrill of the ride and to raise money for the bicycle advocacy efforts of Bike NWA and the Breakaway Cycling youth racing program.
Highway 71 Classic offered routes of 32 or 71 miles starting at Walker Park in south Fayetteville. The 32-mile ride meandered to Brentwood City Park and back. Riders going 71 miles headed south to Mountainburg and returned. They tackled two lung-buster climbs of Mount Gaylor, near Winslow, followed by exhilarating descents down the mountain.