A new spin on farm tour

Mar. 28, 2014 @ 06:40 PM

Ride from one farm to the next, buying produce along the way.

That’s the idea behind Cycle-to-Farm, a 62-mile bicycle farm tour through Orange County. The event is scheduled for May 3 and is capped at 300 riders.
The tour will pass by a bison farm in Hillsborough called Vista Wood Bison Ranch, the new Honeysuckle Tea House, as well as Fickle Creek Farm, RambleRill Farm, and Timberwood Organics.
“You know it’s local if you can ride your bike there,” said Jennifer Caldwell-Billstrom, event director. She’s the founder of the bicycle tour company Velo Girl Rides, which is putting on the event.
Caldwell-Billstrom, who lives in the western North Carolina town of Black Mountain, , said she got the idea for the bicycle farm tour three years ago when she realized one of her favorite cycling routes passed by farms that she buys from at the farmers’ market.
The first tour, which was held in Black Mountain, drew 165 people, she said. The second year, the tour sold out with a cap at 250 riders. This year, there are four locations for the tour, including the first tour in Orange County.
About half of the 300 available spots had been filled, Caldwell-Billstrom said.
The cost is $69 for riders, which includes the ride, a bag of sponsored giveaways, samples at each farm stop, and a farm-to-table meal at the finish. Staff will collect riders’ purchases at the farms and take them back by car to the ride finish.
The ride is 62 miles, which she said is known as a “metric century” in the cycling world. She said it’s not “something you can just get off the couch and do.”
“You need to be training a couple months in advance,” she said.
There will be no road closures; bicyclists will ride with traffic. For information, go to the website http://cycletofarm.org/chapel-hill/farms/.