Bicyclists get close-up tours of farms in Cycle to Farm event, which is expanding beyond Asheville

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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cycle_to_farm_1Very cool. Press release:

Velo Girl Rides, organizer of the Cycle to Farm tour of local farms by bicycle, today announced that two more locations would bring cyclists to beautiful local farms to enjoy stunning scenery, eat locally-grown and raised food, and buy products at local farms. Cycle to Farm will offer the challenging metric century distance (about 62 miles) ride in a total of four locations to cyclists in the farms around Greenville, SC area and the Chapel Hill, NC area, as well as farms in Black Mountain, NC and Sandy Mush, NC, both of which are in the greater Asheville, NC area.

This is the third year of the event. After just one year, Cycle to Farm sold out a month before the event last year, and drew cyclists from 20 states. In response, the creator and organizer Velo Girl Rides acknowledged the large demand, and considered requests from six other communities across the South to bring Cycle to Farm to their local farms. Through a competitive process, Velo Girl Rides chose the Greenville and Chapel Hill areas for their beautiful routes, active local farms, and community support.

“It was difficult to choose just two additional locations, since there are so many beautiful cycling routes and fantastic local farmers throughout the South, and so many communities eager to expand agritourism,” explained Jennifer Billstrom, creator and director of the Cycle to Farm events.

The first Chapel Hill event will be held on Saturday May 3, 2014 and is in partnership with Farmer Foodshare. Farmer Foodshare is a young organization that has made a substantial impact in a short period of time – providing locally-grown food to families that need support.

The first Greenville event will be held on Saturday June 14, 2014 and is in partnership with LiveWell

Greenville, a coalition that partners with dozens of public and private organizations to make

Greenville County a healthier place to live, work and play. Greenville was recently named as one of 2013’s best towns by Outside magazine, thanks in part to the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a popular walking and bike path.

The third annual Black Mountain event will be held on Saturday, July 19, 2014, in partnership with the Black Mountain Parks and Greenways and will promote the greenways. It will follow the same route as used last year.

The event returns to Sandy Mush for a second year, on Saturday, October 11, 2014, and follows the same route as 2013. It begins and ends at the Addison Farms Vineyard, in Leicester, NC. The event is held in partnership with the Buncombe County Soil and Water Conservation District, to promote farmland preservation.

All of the events are strictly limited in the number of cyclists, so that the smaller farms are not overwhelmed with customers, and to keep the Fabulous After Party small and a real opportunity for the farmers, volunteers and riders to gather as community. As a result, these events sell out well before the day of the ride.

For more information, and to sign up as either a volunteer or rider, see

Cycle to Farm events use a route of about 62 miles (62 miles is a “metric century” distance popular with many serious cyclists), visiting local farms about every 10-15 miles. The farmers offer samples of tasty food to the cyclists, as well as offering their products for sale.

Cycle to Farm staff collect the purchases and transport them by vehicle back to the Start/Finish, where riders return after 4 to 7 hours riding through beautiful rural countryside. For many, it is their first experience riding the route and discovering the area.

Once back at the Start/Finish, cyclists enjoy a delicious farm-to-table meal at the Fabulous After Party, sourced from the farmers they visited during their ride. The farmers and the many volunteers who work the event also join in the meal, along with beer and local musicians providing entertainment. “We really enjoy connecting cyclists, who are often foodies, with the community of farmers, sponsors and volunteers that make all of this possible, and breaking bread together is a great way to do it” explains Jennifer Billstrom.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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