Monday, November 23, 2020
Home Wellness Northwest Arkansas Is Offering You a Free Bike and $10,000 to Move...

Northwest Arkansas Is Offering You a Free Bike and $10,000 to Move There

Bentonville, Arkansas, the self-proclaimed “mountain bike capital of the world,” wants to give you a new bike to move there. Not quite enough to book the movers? They’ll even throw in an additional $10,000 to help sweeten the deal.

This is all part of the Life Works Here initiative, which highlights the region’s lifestyle and career benefits. The non-profit Northwest Arkansas Council hopes to use that unique work-life balance to draw even more potential workers to the area.

The corporate home of Walmart, Bentonville and its surrounding communities have gone all-in on a comprehensive trail network, building more than 160 miles of paved greenways and 320 miles of singletrack. With so much adventure at their back door, many corporate employees ditch their business-casual wear for dirt-covered baggies and Cannondale Scalpels on the weekends. If you’re interested (or even if you’re not), check out the application here.

“We’re proud of the cycling infrastructure we’ve built here,” non-profit Northwest Arkansas Council CEO Nelson Peacock told Bicycling. “The free bike was a way we could further promote it. These trails really set us apart from other communities; not only can you have a great job here, but you can also have an amazing lifestyle.”

But before you strut into your boss’s office to quit your current job or ask permission to relocate, you should know there are a few catches. You need to already have a full-time remote job or skills needed in the local community, such as tech talent, budding entrepreneurs, graphic designers and other creative types. Surf instructors, lobster fishermen, and potato farmers all provide great services to the world, but probably won’t make the cut for this program.

Perhaps most importantly, the promise of a free bike is a bit of a misnomer; instead, you get a $600 credit at a local bike shop—which is still good! Just don’t think you can buy a $9,000 Pivot Switchblade and send the bill to the Northwest Arkansas Council. (And if you don’t bike, the council is offering a free membership to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art or one of the area’s other cultural institutions.)

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Peacock says they’ve already received more than 10,000 applications, from all 50 states and even more countries. Applicants include several James Beard-winning chefs, a Los Angeles artist who logs 100 miles a week in-between painting portraits inspired by Renaissance masters in Italy, a working voice actor who happens to be an avid cyclist, and a tech-industry veteran who has visited Northwest Arkansas with his family five times since the beginning of the pandemic.

The incentive program isn’t without controversy; current residents argue that the Council should be helping current residents who are struggling with the financial impact of COVID-19. But CEO Nelson Peacock says the group is looking ahead to the future, hoping to attract workers who, due to the pandemic, now have the ability to work remotely anywhere in the country.

Winning applicants must agree to move to Northwest Arkansas within six months of being chosen. After they provide proof of a mortgage or lease on an apartment, the $10,000 will be paid out over installments over the next year.

You can put that $600 credit toward one of these bikes

Roscoe 7

Best Women’s Trail Bike

Roscoe 7

Growler

Great Value and Performance

Growler

Stance 29 2

Best Combo of Grip and Speed

Stance 29 2

Mahuna

Great First Trail Bike

Mahuna

After spending nearly a decade as a reporter for The Indianapolis Star, Robert Annis finally broke free of the shackles of gainful employment and now freelances full time, specializing in cycling and outdoor-travel journalism. Over the years, Robert’s byline has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Outside, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, Bicycling, Men’s Journal, Popular Mechanics, Lonely Planet, the Chicago Tribune, and Adventure.com.

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