Tour de Francestown has a new twist

By ISABELLA MESSA

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 05-10-2024 12:01 PM

Modified: 05-10-2024 12:15 PM


The Tour de Francestown fundraiser for the Old Meeting House on May 18 will have a new addition this year.

Meteorologist and bike rider Cyrena Arnold has developed the new Road Ride, a 25-mile loop on primarily paved roads with some hard pack surface. The intent is to provide a less-strenuous way for riders to experience the back roads of Francestown and other surrounding communities.

The new trail joins the “Gravel Grinder,” designed by Melissa and Ed Dishong – a 25-mile ride on mostly gravel roads, with some stretches of Class VI roads and a smattering of low-traffic pavement through Francestown and Greenfield, or a 50-mile ride that loops into Deering and reaches a vertical variation of 5,000 feet.

The first gravel trail for the fundraiser was introduced three years ago, but the “Gravel Grinder” differentiates itself by the variations of terrain to cater to all types of cyclists and ages as well. 

“Some people in previous years had started to ask if we’d ever considered a gravel ride,” Arnold said. “I think the recent addition three years ago gives more opportunity for participation in Tour de Francestown and anyone can ride on gravel because a gravel bike is not as demanding as road bikes can be.” 

Although the trail is not only gravel, Arnold went on to explain the process of how one can prepare to get biking on gravel.

“Aside from the bike's differences, such as the big bulky tires or the difference in being hunched over while road cycling compared to the upright position while on the gravel bike, the best way to prepare is to just get out there and try it,” she said.

The variety of choices cyclists have for which trail they ride adds inclusivity to the event.

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“Ages range from people in their teens to people in their 70s,” Arnold said. “We encourage people to get out there with us even if its a new experience because we all support each other in the process.”

The 25-mile rides have a fee of $45, and the 50-mile ride as a fee of $60. The fees cover the cost of accommodations such as resting stations on the rail, water provided and meals given post-ride. The Gravel Grinder” starts at 9 a.m., and the Road Ride starts at 10 a.m.

To register, go to bikereg.com/the-tour-de-francestown. The online registration deadline is Thursday, May 16, at 5 p.m.

All proceeds from the event will go toward the preservation and protection of the Francestown Old Meeting House.