Opacum Land Trust is pleased to announce its third annual Southbridge Credit Union Tour Opacum – a bike ride for land conservation- to be held on July 7th in Brimfield. Opacum, named after the endangered marbled salamander, Ambystoma opacum, has helped conserve over 2,000 acres of natural land in south-central Massachusetts. Preserving the rural character of our towns, natural habitats for wildlife, working farms and forests and open space for hunting, fishing and public recreation are at the heart of Opacum’s mission.
On the Tour Opacum bike riders explore the beautiful towns and countryside of the Quaboag and Quinebaug river valleys. The ride starts and finishes at the Brimfield Winery on Route 20 in Brimfield, and on returning riders will receive a free beer or beverage of their choice provided by Rapscallion Brewery along with food and a performance by the local band Livestock. The ride is not competitive, with riders setting their own pace and enjoying the ride however they wish, with everyone timed to return to the Brimfield Winery at around the same time to enjoy the music, drink and good cheer of fellow riders supporting an important cause. Proceeds from Tour Opacum directly supports the charitable work of Opacum Land Trust, preserving land across this region.
“Last year we had 190 riders participate and we are hoping for more as we grow this event into a major regional bike event”, says Ed Hood, Executive Director of Opacum Land Trust. “With a lead sponsorship from Southbridge Credit Union and in partnership with Brimfield Winery, Rapscallion Brewery and Southbridge Bicycles this event is primed to continue to grow into an annual regional attraction. Riders will pass several of our conservation properties and see firsthand how important it is for us to protect our natural lands and rural character while we still have the chance” Hood adds.
Riders can choose from one of four routes to explore the Opacum Land Trust service area, with a 26.8 mile “Quarter Tour”, a 48.3 mile “Half Tour”, the 99.8 mile “Full Tour” and an all-flat 2 mile “mini-tour” for families and those who just want to take it easy. The longer tours are hilly and offer a great challenge for experienced bike riders while the quarter tour and mini-tour are fine for less experienced or new riders (though the quarter tour still has its share of hills). There is a SAG Wagon (road assistance for breakdowns) provided by Southbridge Bicycles and volunteers, rest stops with free food, water and facilities, and the ride is structured so that you are never too far away from a rest stop.
For more information and to register go to www.touropacum.org, or call Opacum Land Trust at 508-347-9144.