More than 400 people pedal in Portsmouth (photos)

Inaugural Farm-to-Farm Bike Ride held Saturday

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PORTSMOUTH — Judging by all the smiling faces seen zipping up and down Middle Road for two hours Saturday afternoon, it appears the inaugural Farm-to-Farm Bike Ride was a great success.

Bike Newport, which organized the event with the help of local volunteers, estimated that 450 people turned out.

“It’s been amazing,” said Daniela Abbott of Portsmouth, the lead event volunteer. “I’m blown away — couldn’t be happier. The weather was fantastic and we have a huge turnout.”

The four-mile ride (both ways) began at the School Administration Building on the north end of Middle Road. Bicyclists of all ages and abilities either rode the entire route, or managed whatever they could.

Some stopped for pictures at one of the six local farms along the way: Escobar’s Highland Farm, DeArruda Farm, Quonset View Farm, Portsmouth Nursery,  BAW Farm and DeCastro Farm. 

Some stopped for a cold drink at the lemonade stand a few youngsters had set up between Hillcrest Road and Stub Toe Lane. 

Some grabbed a grass-fed burger from Cloverbud Ranch on the north end of the route.

Some just stopped to catch up with friends they spotted along the way.

To make for a safe, “car-free” ride, both ends of Middle Road were blocked off, although police and traffic volunteers allowed a few drivers from the neighborhood to carefully pass through if they had to get somewhere.

Ms. Abbott said residents were notified in advance of the event, and volunteers came up with alternate routes for people who wished to get  out of their neighborhoods by car.

“We hand-delivered 230 letters to residents along Middle Road and the neighborhoods adjacent,” said Ms. Abbott. 

Middle Road, with its sweeping views and bike-friendly surface, was an ideal spot for the ride, said Ms. Abbott, who believes the route would make for a great bike corridor someday.

“If you build it, they will come,” she said. “If you give people good, safe options for riding a bike, they will use it.”

Event organizers look forward to making the ride an annual tradition in May, which is National Bike Month.  

“We’d love to do it every year — first weekend in May,” said Ms. Abbott.

Numerous local businesses sponsored the event, including Newport Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, Bristol Marine, Countryside Children’s Center, YMCA of Newport County, EcoRI News, Aquidneck Island Planning Commission, Aquidneck Pediatrics, Clean Ocean Access and Rhody Fresh Milk.

For more information about Bike Newport, visit http://bikenewportri.org.

Bike Newport

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.