OPINION | Putthoff: Ledger bike ride leads to the top

Riding to the top of The Ledger building offers a bird's eye view of Bentonville.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
Riding to the top of The Ledger building offers a bird's eye view of Bentonville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

Some bikes are geared so low a rider could almost pedal up the side of a building. No need to be Low Gear Louie to ride up the side of The Ledger office building in downtown Bentonville.

A wide ramp made up of switchbacks make for an easy ride, walk or run to the top of the six-story mostly glass Ledger building at 240 S. Main St.

Great news is that the ramp is open to the public from sunup to sundown.

The Ledger is billed as the first-ever bikeable building, allowing workers to bike right to their offices just south of the Bentonville square. The ride is about three-fourths of a mile to the top for panoramic vistas of the city center.

There may be nowhere else in the whole wide world where people can actually ride up the side of a building for a fun biking experience that might bring on the giggles. The ramp isn't steep. It's an easy, gradual trip to the top.

I read long ago that all bikers are welcome on the ramp and was itching to give The Ledger bike ramp a whirl. A sunny Saturday afternoon Nov. 20 was the window of opportunity.

To make a longer ride out of the adventure, I parked at Lake Bella Vista and biked the Razorback Greenway toward Bentonville, wheezing up the lung-buster hill that leads to Crystal Bridges, then along downtown streets to The Ledger. The bike ramp starts on the west side of the building.

It almost seemed to good to be true that anyone with a bicycle is welcome to enjoy this one of a kind biking experience. It's a giddy feeling as the ramp goes higher and higher.

The first ramp section leads to a concrete terrace on the north side of the building with lots of nice tables, chairs, outdoor furniture and of course, art, for people who work at The Ledger. Bike across the terrace to the east side of the building where the series of switchbacks start.

If you're mildly scared of heights, the ride might give you the willies, as it did me, the higher the ramp gets. There's a railing all the way to the top, but still might be a tad scary.

The ramp tops out high above the city. The big fish-art feature on the side of a parking garage glistened in the afternoon sun next to and north of The Ledger. When I got to the top, it was nice to chat with a couple who'd walked up the ramp. It was their first time on the Ledger ramp, too.

After taking in the view, the ride back down was equally fun. I was back on terra firma in no time.

As I was finishing up, here came four more bikers decked out in Thanksgiving turkey costumes cleverly fashioned out of paper grocery bags. That added more laughs to a truly unique and fun experience by bike at The Ledger.

Flip Putthoff can be reached at [email protected] when he's not on his bike.