As of 2:43 p.m., when I wrote this post, there were 16 hours and 15 minutes left to sign up for the Little Rock Gran Fondo bike ride that starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, and time is ticking away. Only 250 cyclists can participate in this fun (but long) ride that features stops for chow and the POP on Main culinary event at the finish line.

Orbea, the Capital Hotel, Ben E. Keith Foods and Mini Cooper are among the sponsors for the nearly 70-mile bike ride that starts at Main and Second streets at 8 a.m. and continues to East End in Saline County and back over a terrain of flatland and rolling (and rolling and rolling) terrain. The Gran Fondo (an Italian term for an often challenging group ride) is not a race and, as the website says, “there’s more than your typical bruised banana” on offer at rest stops at Sardis and Wrightsville: food from Chef Donnie Ferneau of Good Food and Chef Shane Henderson of Ben E. Keith, Leivas Coffee, Mountain Valley Spring Water, Loblolly Creamery Lemonade and Scratch Labs natural nutritional drinks.


All can attend the POP on Main event whether they have on Spandex or not. In the spirit of the Pop-Up neighborhood architecture events Little Rock’s seen in the past couple of years, chefs Ferneau, Matt Bell of South on Main, Tomas Bohm of The Pantry, Travis McConnell of Butcher & Public and Arturo Solis of le klaxon noir will cook for the pop-up street restaurant, offering gourmet nosh at a price ($35) that would let you sample only a couple of these master chefs’ talents. Also, you’ll get to cheer on the arriving cyclists, who should start hitting the finish line at 11:30 a.m., right before the chow begins to be served up. Pop on Main is sponsored by the Arkansas Times and Ben E. Keith Distributing.

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