Many of you have been wondering… what are the 2017 dates for Cycle to Farm?

 

This year the date is: Saturday — September 2, 2017

And we’re changing the format of Cycle to Farm® — expect an intimate experience for just 10 riders. The same great concept, offered in a one-day tour format rather than a large group event.

We’re proud that Cycle to Farm has introduced nearly 2,000 cyclists to 27 local farms over a span of 10 events in 5 years. Dozens of sponsors and 800+ volunteers have helped make that happen, and we’ve seen many of these local farms grow and blossom before our very eyes!

Hickory Nut Gap Farm had a couple of freezers full of meat for sale when we started; today they offer a wide variety of products, an eat-in (or out) café, as well as beer and wine. Other farms have followed a similar arc. We’d like to think Cycle to Farm played a small role in raising the visibility of our treasured local farmers.

And we know Cycle to Farm has had an impact on the region – introducing cyclists from 20+ states to our beautiful area, and creating nearly $500,000 in economic impact over 10 events.

The Cycle to Farm events were also known to be safe, and extraordinarily well-supported with volunteers, marshals at intersections, beautiful route maps, and great first responders: law enforcement, fire, EMS and rescue. All of these people made it happen for you.

So now we’re shifting the format to a small group tour of local farms, capped by a delicious farm-to-table meal sourced from our farmers and paired with local beer and wine. And yes, David and I will be riding with you… something we could never do with the large event.

We’re proud of 800 volunteers, dozens of local government agencies, and loyal sponsors. They all made this dream come true. We will always be thankful for their hard work and support.

– Jen Billstrom, Creator of Cycle to Farm®

Cycle to Farm By the Numbers

Cycle to Farm® was created by Jennifer Billstrom in 2011, and first held in Black Mountain, North Carolina in 2012. The concept was simple: beautiful route, challenging riding (62 miles and 5,000ft+ of climbing), local farmers offering tasty samples, and a small “tailgate market” at each farm with purchases by cyclists transported back to the Finish by vehicle. And a Fabulous After Party with a farm to table meal at the Finish.

It broke even the first year, despite high expenses of the delicious meal, music, and the complexity of volunteers retrieving purchases made by cyclists at 5 local farms spread across three counties and miles of country roads. Large cycling events almost always lose money the first or even second year. We knew we were on to something. And we were committed to raising the visibility of local farmers, especially those on beautiful cycling routes.

Participants came from as far away as California and New York. And in a feat not since matched, the event attracted slightly more than 50% female riders. To our knowledge, Cycle to Farm is the only large group cycling event to attract 50% female riders every time it was held (more typical is 5% to 20%).

The event has raised money for charities, centered on supporting greenways but also including land conservation, healthy lifestyles, and sharing the bounty of local farms with the poor.

The Numbers (2012-2016)

10 Events since 20121,961 Cyclists participating
29 Local farms806 Volunteers
22 Different states as the home address of cyclists34 Marshal positions staffed by volunteers, on each course
17 government agencies, on average, participating in each event
$17,180 in cash contributions to non-profit organizations:
  • Black Mountain Parks & Greenways Inc
  • Friends of Connect Buncombe
  • Buncome County Service Foundation
  • LiveWell Greenville
  • Farmer Foodshare
$461,000 in economic development impact in four communities
  • Black Mountain, NC
  • Sandy Mush, NC
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Greenville, SC

The Cycle to Farm events were known to be safe for the rider, extraordinarily well-supported with volunteers, marshals at intersections, beautiful route maps, and great first responders: law enforcement, fire, EMS and rescue. All of these people made it safer for the participant.

We’re proud of our volunteers, dozens of local government agencies, and loyal sponsors. They all made this dream come true. We will always be thankful for their hard work and support.

– Jen Billstrom, Creator of Cycle to Farm®