Shore Line Shuttle is a fast lane to mountain biking fun
By Jill Rohrbach, Arkansas Tourism Travel Writer
Shore Line Shuttle puts mountain bikers on the fast lane for fun by allowing visitors to Northwest Arkansas to hop on a mountain bike trail for an exciting ride through the hardwoods of Ozark Mountain.
The ATV Shuttle picks up bikers at Slaughter Pen and transports them to Coler Mountain Bike Preserve, then picks them up and brings them back to Slaughter Pen. It helps people use both ATV systems in one day without having to load bikes, transport them and park; and, the parking lot is definitely crowded on these popular trails.
“It takes all the complicated parts of these experiments out of the equation,” says James Mattox, owner of Shore Line Shuttle. “This is especially important for someone who is not from here.”
Mattox knows because he’s not from here. He moved to Northwest Arkansas in September from Wisconsin, where he owned a successful bicycle store.
But let’s go back to his college days, spent at Missouri State in Springfield. He lived there for almost 10 years working for an outdoor store and spent a lot of time in the Ozarks of northern Arkansas rock climbing, hiking and biking.
“This is where we went almost every weekend,” he says. But mountain biking was not then what it is today with the new OZ Trail system in Northwest Arkansas. Fast forward to his time in Wisconsin and he still traveled to Arkansas to hike the trails, which rapidly multiplied as cities and groups increasingly invested in building world-class trails.
“We came with a group of 10 and had the challenge of all parking at Slaughter Pen,” says Mattox. Getting to Coler was even more difficult. Bikers ride and park or ride their bikes from one trail system to another on a six mile round trip route. “We didn’t come here to drive on a road,” he explains. “We came to trail. “
Mattox saw the need for the shuttle service and acted on it.
My wife and I had been discussing moving somewhere to raise our children, ”says Mattox. They weren’t too keen on Wisconsin winters and were interested in places where they could mountain bike all year round. “It put Bentonville on the map,” he explains. “I had my wife come here several times and she loved it. Then COVID hit and we decided to shut down our hugely successful business and take the plunge. “
However, he kept an item from his bicycle store, an extraordinary shuttle. Using the Shore Line Shuttle means traveling in style via an old M1078 military troop transporter. Riding the streets is hard to miss with 46-inch tall tires, rear-mounted bikes, and 12.5-foot OZ Trail flags flying around. The iconic vehicle definitely sets it apart from the medium Econoline vans usually used as shuttle vehicles.
Currently, Shore Line Shuttle operates 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Basically, Mattox picks up at the top of the hour at Slaughter Pen and picks up at the bottom of the hour at Coler.
“We’re going to let demand tell us what the hours should be in summer,” he adds. “If the demand is there and we see a need for more during the week, we will be flexible.”
The website – www.shorelineshuttle.com – is the best way to keep up to date with shuttle offers and to make reservations. He asks people to book in advance because he can only shuttle 10. He advises taking some time to plan the shuttles in the morning or afternoon and reminds people that it is imperative to book a return.
“It is extremely important that people plan and book, but we can make appointments [assuming availability],” he says.
Mattox also notes that anyone under the age of 16 cannot legally ride in the back of a truck. “So they have to get into the cabin and there are only two seats in the cabin,” he explains. Families with young children or groups should take this into account when booking.
Because there are other shuttle companies that can be hired to serve other trails or downhill runs, Mattox is focusing on a market it feels is being overlooked. “I focus on serving the vacationers who come here and giving them a positive experience,” he says. “But we are also here to serve the local community. This service benefits everyone.
“I am a great mountain biker. I know all the trails around here, ”says Mattox. “I myself would have benefited enormously from something like that. I do this for the community. I firmly believe that you should try to improve any place you live.
“I rode all over the world and it was always my favorite place to come ride. What’s so special about the OZ Trail System is that it’s so user-friendly for a wide range of riding abilities. If you are an experienced rider, you can find something to test you on the same trail as the novice. This is something special. You can walk the same trails. It’s something you don’t get elsewhere. Usually you have to hike different trails and find yourself in about an hour and a half. It’s not the same, because we’re all going to ride together.
For example, he says his wife can ride their two-year-old in a bike rack on a cycle path through Slaughter Pen and that he and his son can ride the more difficult trails on the side of his path, but they all roll together.
“That’s why I think Bentonville’s self-proclaimed title ‘Capitol of the Mountain Bike World’ is correct,” said Mattox. “It’s amazing. It’s fair.”
He adds that it’s amazing for more than mountain biking. While some with family or groups ride a bike, those who don’t can take advantage of all the area has to offer. “As a family traveling here, mom and friend can go to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the rest of the vacation crew can go up to Slaughter Pen.” Or for another example, he says some can hike some great trails at Leatherwood Lake in Eureka Springs while others take advantage of this popular mountain town full of shops, spas, Victorian architecture, and restaurants.
“You don’t get that anywhere else. Maybe some pockets and places where to ride is really good or where the trails are really good, ”he says. “But, let’s say Colorado, the elevation can be more difficult. I would rather ride here.
He prefers it so much that he moved here and is now helping others discover his love for the trails and the area.