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For 50 miles of dirt road action, very few cars and even fewer hills, cyclists can pedal the Arvest Dirty Fondo.

The noncompetitive ride will be held May 6 and is part of the Arvest Little Rock Gran Fondo weekend.

The Dirty Fondo begins and ends at Marlsgate Plantation, 2695 Bearskin Lake Road in Scott. Pastries and coffee will be served starting at 6 a.m., with riders leaving at 7 a.m. on a route that will take them through the Delta farmlands on dirt and gravel roads.

Including vehicle support, at least one well-stocked rest stop and a post-ride lunch, the cost is $95, with all proceeds benefiting Recycle Bikes for Kids, says ride director Aaron Roberts.

"They refurbish bikes and provide them to children that need bikes, or to churches or charities," Roberts says of the North Little Rock-based group. "They also work with the homeless who need transportation. They will help them build a bike."

To register, visit and search for "Arvest Dirty Fondo."

When it comes to amenities, a fondo -- an Italian word that translates to a long-distance, organized road-cycling event -- is traditionally a step above a regular charity ride.

"You can expect bigger and better things," Roberts says. For instance, the ride's swag bag will include an engraved pint glass, a shop apron from Park Tool and items from Arkansas bike shops. Riders can also expect that the food offered at the rest stops will surpass the pickle juice and PBJs found at regular organized rides.

"It's an elevated event," says Roberts, though the elevation he means has more to do with service than hills. This course is pretty much tabletop flat and the vibe is relaxed and fun.

"This is a social ride," Roberts says. "That's a cool thing about the gravel scene. It's very grass-roots."

Roberts stresses that gravel bikes aren't a requirement. Mountain bikes and their ilk are welcome, though the going might get a little rough on a skinny-tired road bike.

Don't want to do the whole thing? Roberts says there will be a shorter route of 20 to 25 miles.

-- Sean Clancy

ActiveStyle on 03/12/2018

Print Headline: Dirty Fondo bike ride 50 miles of dirt roads


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