Biking the Back Roads

Biking the Back Roads

By Brett Barest | August 28, 2015
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biking the back roads

EVENTS SUMMER 2015

Velo Girl Rides’ Cycle to Farm

There are a few things in life that can make even the best food in the world taste just a little bit better.

Shaking hands with a farmer when you buy the fruits of his or her labor, you can see the love and passion for what they do. Likewise, when you reward your body with a hearty meal after demanding physical activity, the food nourishes both your body and your soul. On July 18, Velo Girl Rides invites you to combine these two experiences for a truly rewarding day on the road.

Black Mountain’s third annual Cycle to Farm is a 63-mile ride through the Western North Carolina mountains, touring both the local scenery and the area’s food system. Five farms will serve as “rest stops” along the route that sees riders cross the Eastern Continental Divide three times as they conquer a total elevation gain of roughly 5300 feet. That’s the equivalent of biking to the top of Paris Mountain seven times—so, clearly, this ride is not for amateurs.

But along the way, riders will be treated to tasty offerings crafted by the farmers themselves, get that chance to shake hands and take a few things home. Organizers will deliver everyone’s purchases to the finish line to eliminate schlepping produce across the mountains.

And then, there’s the “Fabulous After Party”—a locally sourced farm-to-table meal, live music and, of course, swag from the sponsors. Much needed beer and massages will be available for purchase, as well as additional meals for friends and family who still want to celebrate more than they sweat.

Cycle to Farm is the brainchild of avid cyclist Jennifer Billstrom, who’s been designing routes and organizing rides for her friends for 10 years now. It was only three years ago, however, that the hobby evolved into a business model and Velo Girl Rides was born. With the help of her husband, firefighter and fellow cyclist David Billstrom, Velo Girl guides a number of tours throughout the region. Some are single-day events like Cycle to Farm, while others extend up to 10 days and over the entire 470 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Proceeds from Cycle to Farm benefit the non-profit group Black Mountain Greenways. To date, the event has raised nearly $9,000 over its three year history, money that has helped to improve and maintain current greenways, as well as build new ones.

Beyond the easily measurable impact of the donations to Black Mountain Greenways, David points out that Cycle to Farm makes a significant impact on the local economy. When you consider what riders spend at the farms, as well as lodging, meals and other extracurricular activities during their stay in Black Mountain, he estimates Cycle to Farm’s total economic impact to the region was over $57,000 last year alone. How’s that for supporting your community?

Clearly, Cycle to Farm is a celebration of community, camaraderie and the local food system. The only hard part is the ride itself.

CYCLE TO FARM
July 18
Black Mountain, North Carolina
Cloud 9 Farm
Hickory Nut Gap Farm
Looking Glass Creamery
Rise Up Rooted Farm & River Camp
Highlander Farm

For more information and registration visit www.cycletofarm.org.

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY. . .

CAROLINA FARM STEWARDSHIP ASSOCIATION’S UPSTATE FARM TOUR
June 6 & 7
Across the Upstate

The CFSA’s Upstate Farm Tour is back for its ninth year, so grab your cooler, camera and kids (not necessarily in that order) and get ready for a fun weekend exploring your local farms. This year, there are 23 stops across the Upstate, with seven of them brand new to the tour. It’s a great way to meet and learn about the men and women that serve as the backbone of our local food system. For tickets and more information visit www.carolinafarmstewards.org/uft.

BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL
July 11
Roper Mountain Science Center
402 Roper Mountain Rd.,
Greenville

Roper Mountain Science Center’s Second Saturday program is always an enjoyable experience for the whole family. July’s edition celebrates everything blueberries, with pie-eating contests, cooking demonstrations and more. Families will also enjoy the living history farm, the butterfly garden, nature trails and everything else that makes Roper Mountain Science Center one of the Upstate’s best hands-on learning destinations. Find out more at www.ropermountain.org.

SANS SOUCI COMMUNITY GARDEN SERIES
Monthly
Sans Souci Community Garden
12 Ethelridge Dr., Greenville

What better place to take in live music on a Sunday evening? Join the Sans Souci Community for their monthly concert series, featuring local favorites and even some national touring artists playing in the garden. These events are free (tips for the artists are encouraged) and guests can bring chairs, snacks and beverages, relax and listen to the music. Scheduled events and featured artists can be found on Sans Souci’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/sanssoucicommunitygarden.

ASHEVILLE WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL
August 20-22
Asheville, NC

What better way to send off summer than by spending three days celebrating all the food and drink the Asheville region has to offer? Local bartenders and distillers open up the festivities Thursday night. Our sweet tooth gets all the attention it deserves on Friday when the Grove Arcade stays open late for dessert, bubbly and shopping. And then the main event, the Grand Tasting, turns the US Cellular Center into a “Culinary Circus.” Farmers, chefs, artisan beverage makers, cookbook authors and more will be on hand for you to sample all afternoon. For more information visit www.ashevillewineandfood.com.

OTHER GREAT SUMMER EVENTS. . .

SWAMP RABBIT CAFÉ & GROCERY OUTDOOR MOVIE SERIES
June 6 & 20, July 18 & 25, August 8
205 Cedar Lane Rd., Greenville
www.swamprabbitcafe.com

GROWING, PRESERVING AND USING EDIBLE FLOWERS WITH ELIZA A.H. LORD
June 13
Hagood Mill, Pickens
www.visitpickenscounty.com

THOMAS CREEK’S 17TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY
June 27
2054 Piedmont Hwy., Greenville
www.thomascreekbeer.com

FESTIVAL OF DISCOVERY
July 9-11
Uptown Greenwood
www.festivalofdiscovery.com

SOUTH CAROLINA PEACH FESTIVAL
July 10-19
Gaffney
www.scpeachfestival.net

QUEST BREWING COMPANY’S SECOND ANNIVERSARY PARTY
July 11
55 Airview Dr., Greenville
www.questbrewing.com

HUNT CABIN: THE 19TH CENTURY “GROCERY STORE”
August 29
Hanson Nature Learning Center, Clemson
www.clemson.edu/scbg

Article from Edible Upcountry at http://edibleupcountry.ediblecommunities.com/about-us/biking-back-roads
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