America’s richest family is getting into the mountain biking biz. Walmart heirs Sam and Ben Walton – both avid riders – are breaking ground on a new bike park in Pitkin County. The 4.7-mile trail network will be built upon a former coal mining site near the hamlet of Redstone.
According to plans filed with Pitkin County, the trails will be completed in 2020 and include varying levels of difficulty. The trails will be open to the public and free of charge, according to a story in The Aspen Times.
Sam and Ben Walton are grandsons of Sam Walton, the patriarch of the Walmart empire. Perhaps unsurprisingly, both have homes in Aspen.
Of course, as with most things Walmart, the plan is not without controversy. A local citizens group, the Crystal River Caucus, is fighting the development saying it will bring a “flood of mechanized recreation” – not to mention Spandex – into the surrounding national forest. The group has also taken a hard stance against the proposed 83-mile Carbondale-to-Crested Butte trail.
And while the “Walmart bike” has been a long-running joke in cycling circles (plenty of online daredevils have taken the bargain rigs down harrowing descents with varying results), the Waltons are serious about biking. Tom and Steuart Walton, cousins of Sam and Ben, built 163 miles of trails near the company’s HQ in Bentonville, Ark. The Waltons also own a majority in cycling apparel company Rapha as well as bike company Viathon. However, with “low-end” models costing around $2,000, you probably won’t be seeing these babies at the local supercenter anytime soon.
No word on whether the new trails will be called “Wally World” or not.
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