Ride your bike for 62 miles along secluded country roads, with tight and twisty climbs and descents, crossing the Continental Divide three times, snacking along the way on goat cheese and salsas made fresh from the farm.

The Cycle to Farm ride is on Saturday, June 23, starting in Black Mountain N.C. This inaugural ride will be a showcase for local farmers along the route who will be hosting rest stops. Cyclists can even order groceries from farmers who will deliver the goods to the finish line. The Highlander Farm sheep farm, Harvest Table Farm and Looking Glass Creamery are participating.

Farmgirl cyclist Jen Caldwell-Billstrom created this ride. She grew up on a family farm in Virginia with four siblings. They shared a bike once her older sister turned nine. By the time she got her own bike, she chose the Evil Knievel model, wanting it to be very different from her sister’s pink girlie bike. It wasn’t until she was 32 that she got her first road bike, inspired by her brother and the fact that her grandmother died of congestive heart failure.

“A light bulb went off about my family heart disease,” she said. “But it was love at first pedal.”

Training rides for the Cycle to Farm have unofficially begun as Sunday social rides through Velo Girl Rides. The weekly training rides will progressively increase mileage with an excellent sample of area road rides similar to what the event will offer on June 23.

Caldwell-Bistrom hopes to not only support and showcase local farming, but to make money for the Black Mountain Greenways. “I’m happy that the race gives back to an organization that created something as cool as the Point Lookout Trail.” She said that the first time she rode it, she couldn’t believe the beautiful views from a paved greenway.

“There need to be more trails like that,” she said.

The hopes are to create an event that will provide local greenways with additional income while helping people meet their local farmers and support local food, which is far better for the environment, the economy, and our bodies. What better way than to combine that with cycling, which supports the same premise.

More info can be found at cycletofarm.org.

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