August 18, 2017

Sun Shines Brightly on Another Highly Successful ‘Tour de Lyme’ Cycling Event

Off they go! Bike riders start their choice of Tour de Lyme route.

Nine hundred and fifty cyclists from all around the area woke up on Sunday morning to the early spring sun shining down on the registration tables of the 5th annual Tour de Lyme. The event started and finished at the beautiful Ashlawn Farm on Bill Hill Rd. in Lyme, Conn., for the third consecutive year. Participants could choose between a myriad of different rides both through the trails of Nehantic Forest, Beckett Forest, and Mount Archer or through the winding roads of Lyme.  The event even offered an eight-mile family ride.

First started by John Pritchard five years ago, this year’s Tour de Lyme hosted by the Lyme Land Conservation Trust was a huge success and through registration fees and charitable donations, the land trust is able to maintain and expand the beauty of Lyme’s forestry and wildlife. In an effort to keep the town of Lyme as rural and well-maintained as possible, the Tour de Lyme is clear proof that a small organization can have a big impact.

Musicians entertain during the post-ride picnic at Ashlawn Farm.

The start times of each individual ride were staggered with the intention that all riders arrive back at the picnic around the same time to enjoy live music, several unique food trucks, and even physical therapy free for anyone who participated in the ride.

The 950 riders had a choice of four different routes on the road, and two routes through the woods. Brian Greenho, Tour de Lyme Mountain Bike Director and course designer, took time out from his busy schedule on Sunday to talk more with me about the event. He explained that has been heavily involved with the mountain bike aspect of the tour since its commencement, helping adapt the routes in order to make it more attractive to the riders.

Riders set off enthusiastically from Ashlawn Farm in Lyme on the mountain bike route.

Greenho noted that by obtaining one-day permission to use land from six private land owners, “The Tour de Lyme provides an opportunity for riders to get out into the trails and explore all three forests [Nehantic, Beckett, and Mount Archer] with hundreds of other riders,” adding that this is, “… something that would be inconceivable any other day of the year. Plus it gives the riders a chance to see the land that [Lyme Land Conservation Trust President] John Pritchard and the Trust itself work so hard to protect.”

Year-on-year participant growth in the Tour de Lyme can be seen through each of its first five occurrences. The Lyme Land Conservation Trust intends to keep the event going — and growing — in years to come and in a clear validation of that goal, it certainly seemed that all this year’s riders left the 2017 event enthusiastic for the next.

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