CHESHIRE — Last June, when Bike Cheshire and Hartford Healthcare held the town’s first “Ride to Wellness,” the routes were decidedly short and moderate distances: four and 10 miles.
The next ride, on Sept. 21, will still have a 10-mile route, but adds a 25-mile route that loops around Cheshire.
“We’re calling it the ‘Tour De Farms.’ It goes by every major farm property in town,” said Jim Jinks, executive director of Bike Cheshire and one of the ride’s organizers.
The 25-mile route will traverse past Old Bishop Farm on South Meriden Road and Ives Farm on Cheshire Street.
For less experienced riders, and those of varying ages and skill levels, the event’s 10-mile “Town to Trail Loop’’ might be more attractive.
The first Ride to Wellness brought in 30 riders.
“We’re aiming to be close to 100 riders,” Jinks said about this year’s event.
The event is free. Participants can make a donation to Hartford Healthcare’s Chase Family Movement Center.
“There’s a way to do that through our registration page,” Jinks said.
Jinks and fellow avid riders from Cheshire mapped out the routes.
“The stipulations were, we want to start and stop at the Hartford Healthcare center. And we want to try and avoid the main state highways as much as possible,” Jinks said.
Pre-ride check-ins will start at 11 a.m. at 280 S. Main St., the center’s location, on the day of the ride. The ride itself will begin at 11:30 a.m.
All would-be riders are required to sign waivers and wear bicycle helmets.
Dr. Michelle Lavallee-Dagostine is a neurologist with the Chase Family Movement Disorders Center which encourages patients diagnosed with progressive disorders, like Parkinson’s disease, to exercise.
Lavallee-Dagostine described biking as a “fantastic” way to delay symptoms like tremors associated with Parkinson’s. Patients have anecdotally reported having reduced tremors and improved dexterity and motor skills.
“Cycling is fantastic...Patients who cycle have a better night’s sleep and see improvements in every area of their lives,” she said.
BIke Cheshire has a limited number of bicycles available for use during the event through its “ride share” program. Jinks recommends contacting him before Sept. 18, to reserve a bike for the ride. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jinks is hopeful the Ride to Wellness will grow and become a regular event in town, with participants forming teams to fundraise for different causes.
In a statement, Hartford Healthcare Senior VIce President Gary Havican said, “Supporting healthy, outdoor activities and partnering with local organizations like Bike Cheshire are meaningful ways for us to interact with the community.”
Visit the Bike Cheshire website for more information about the Ride to Wellness at www.BikeCheshire.org/Ride-to-Wellness/.