Bicyclists urged to ride for a cause to CT farms, or just take the car

Photo of Joe Amarante

It’s not hard to notice bicyclists on state roads in good weather. And since July 1, some of them are pedaling for a cause as well as recreation.

The 2020 Tour des Farms is ongoing, with a COVID-caused twist, of course, that presents an opportunity for new participants. The eight-route, 75-farm bike tour is taking place at a rider’s own pace and schedule instead of a given day or weekend.

Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development, a rural/agriculture-boosting charity, is hosting the event through Sept. 30 for riders experiencing one of eight regional routes, including Fairfield Region, Greater New Haven and southeastern Coastal — each featuring 6-10 farms.

In lieu of a registration fee, organizers are asking for a tax-deductible donation to the 2020 Connecticut Tour des Farms Program, which will support the farms through the University of Connecticut Extension’s Operation Community Impact and other Connecticut food security initiatives, where local produce, food products and dairy will be distributed to local and regional soup kitchens.

Andrea Peres of CTR&D noted that “not all farms along the route are open to the public due to challenges from COVID. However, we’re still encouraging folks to treat these as ‘wave-bys’ in order to raise awareness.”

Routes are listed with their level of difficulty, but the rides aren’t just for avid cyclists; you can sign up and do them on a motorcycle or in a car —- observing physical distancing guidelines while getting outside and exploring what Connecticut agriculture has to offer, according to the CT RC&D (which is donating the cost of staff time to organize the event).

The largest loop, the 69.8-mile Greater New Haven tour, for example, starts at Bishop’s Farm Market in Guilford, heads east to Madison, north to Killingworth (Lavender Pond Farm) and Durham, then south and west to Wallingford (Gouveia Vineyards), North Branford (Cecarelli Farms) and Branford (Medlyn Farm). Detailed directions are given after registration on the website.

The group points out that 100% of a donation directly supports local farmers and our communities who need it most.

The other five routes are the Litchfield Hills, Quiet Corner, Farmington River Valley, Central CT River and Lower Ct River Valley. Registration and/or donation links can be found at