The fourth annual Strolling of the Heifers Tour de Heifer is set for Sunday, June 8, 2014. The Tour is a set of scenic farm-to-farm bicycle rides tailored to most levels of ability, with 15-mile, 30-mile and 60-mile routes. There is also a five-mile walking option.
This year, organizers have added two new routes, 15 and 30 miles in length, both designed to be suitable for beginner to intermediate riders with moderate skills and strength. Both of these rides include rolling hills on paved roads, and a long stretch of relatively level dirt road along the Green River.
All of the routes begin and end at Lilac Ridge Farm in West Brattleboro, and feature incredible views, farm and woodland terrain, New England villages (one with a covered bridge), and much more.
The tour is part of the annual Strolling of the Heifers Weekend, which takes place June 6-8 in Brattleboro. The centerpieces of the weekend are the world-famous Strolling of the Heifers Parade and the Slow Living Expo, both on Saturday, June 7. Come for the Parade and Expo, and stay for the Tour! The Tour is made possible through sponsorship from Stroll Weekend Presenting Sponsor Merchants Bank; Key Sponsor Rudi's Organic Bakery, many other donors of food and services, and the support of area cycling shops including Burrows Specialized Sports, West Hill Shop, Brattleboro Bike Shop, and Bicycles Unlimited.
Proceeds from the Tour de Heifer will benefit the Stroll's programs to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in farm and food enterprises throughout Vermont.
Strolling of the Heifers and the Tour de Heifer promote and encourage connecting directly with local farms, farmers and food enterprises who supply healthy local food, and using pedal power as an alternative means of local transportation and exercise.
All of the Tour de Heifer routes include substantial stretches of dirt roads. Use of mountain bikes, cross-bikes, or road bikes fitted with 28mm knobby tires is recommended. No highway travel is involved in any of the routes.
All of the rides include a great, farm-fresh lunch served at Lilac Ridge Farm (except for the 60-milers, who will have a lunch waiting for them midway at Green River). Upon returning to Lilac Ridge, riders will also be entertained by the duo of Alan Greenleaf and the Doctor (with their perennial favorite, "The Heifers are Coming to Town!"). The routes are:
*Heifer Classic 60+ mile Ride: A very challenging ride for experienced riders, which starts at 8 a.m. (Slower riders are encouraged to start as early as 7 a.m.) This route has nearly 7,000 feet of elevation gain, and minimal pavement.
*The 30-mile Classic Farm Loop: A challenging ride for experienced riders, starting at 9 a.m. It has about 3,300 feet of elevation gain, and minimal pavement.
*The 30-mile Family Ride: An out-and-back ride, starting at 9 a.m., designed for families with moderately experienced cyclists. It entails a bit more than 2,000 feet of elevation gain over a mix of rolling paved roads and nearly level dirt roads along the Green River.
*The 15-mile Classic Ride: A challenging ride for first-time/beginner dirt-road riders, starting at 10 a.m. It has about 1,900 feet of elevation gain, and minimal pavement.
*The 15-mile Family Ride: An out-and-back ride, starting at 10 a.m., designed for families with moderately experienced cyclists. It includes about 1,250 feet of elevation gain over a mix of rolling paved roads and nearly level dirt roads along the Green River.
*For walkers: 5-mile Road and Trail Stroll: The guided hike starts 10:30 a.m., from Lilac Ridge Farm to the top of nearby Round Mountain, and then back via Ames Hill Road and Abbot Road. The climb to the summit is about 750 vertical feet and is rewarded by scenic vistas to the east, across the town of Brattleboro to Mt. Wantastiquet and Mt. Monadnock.
Cycling farm to farm: Among the farms these routes pass are the following, some of which will have refreshments or surprises for riders: Winchester Farm, Robb Family Farm, Franklin Family Farm, Deer Ridge Farm, Sunrise Farm, Circle Mountain Farm, Full Steam Farm, Olson Farm, Gateway Farm, Shearer Hill Farm, Bree-Z Knoll Farm, Cortland Hill Orchards and the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center.
Registration and information: Riders and hikers may register for the Tour at BikeReg.com -- the registration page is reached most easily via www.strollingoftheheifers.com/tour. Early bird rates are in effect through May 25, and are $15 for children on any route, and range from $25 to $60 for adults. Final and onsite rates will be slightly higher. Early registrants will receive special gifts from sponsors.
If you have questions, contact the Tour Coordinator, Hanna Thurber, by email at email@example.com or by phone at 802-380-0502.