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Great River Ride 2019

GRR Update For The Covid-19 Age

Due to restrictions on gathering size by the Massachusetts Dept of Health the Great River Ride will be a non-traditional event. This year's GRR will be a free RideSpot Challenge.  The GRR will have 3 distances as RideSpot Challenges with awards for completion. There will be no entry fee, Mid Sept to Mid Oct for completion and your ride will be tracked on the free RideSpot APP. Download the APP at or from our June Challenge at  We will be hosting monthly Challenge rides leading up to the GRR and recommend downloading the APP to familiarize yourself with it before the GRR.. 

October 11, 2020

Join us Sunday October 11, 2020for the 33nd annual ultimate century ride. The Great River Ride has been rated as "one of the best century rides in the USA" by Bicycling Magazine and the League of American Bicyclists. "Gorgeous but gruelling" is Bicycling's description for what we believe is the most challenging century in New England. This is a must do event for any cyclist. Done it before? Come again, each year or two the route changes slightly offering new vistas and new challenges. Can't wait til October? Visit our Berkshire Brevet page for a series of Spring events.


 In the past your entry allowed the staff of New Horizons to pursue their bicycle advocacy efforts throughout the Pioneer Valley. New Horizons works with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, MassBike, the Friends of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail, City Governments, and other organizations to improve cycling in the region. Accomplishments include:

  • Attend the Annual National Bike Summit in Washington DC
  • Share The Road Signs on Westfield streets
  • Bike racks on PVTA Southern Tier routes
  • Organizer of the Berkshire Brevet Randonneur Series
  • Encouraged the city of Westfield to approve a $700,000 bond to complete Columbia Greenway design
  • Assisted in the development and co-promoter of the 1st 4 years of D2R2
  • Encouraged the adoption of a resolution in support of Active Transportation by the city of Westfield
  • Spearheaded the successful effort to prevent the sale of future Rail Trail Right of Way to a private developer in 2006, insuring the future of the Columbia Greenway.
  • Introduced a zoning amendment (currently in Legislative & Ordinance Committee) to require bicycle parking in future commercial developments
  • Founder and first chairperson of the Friends of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail
  • Founder of Westfield's original youth BMX racing program at the Westfield Fairgrounds.

For 2020 the Great River Ride will be the major fundraiser for the Friends of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail.

Choose between five rides; 125 miles, 111 miles, 85 miles, 62 miles, 35 miles. Your entry fee includes a commemorative water bottle (First 300 Entrants), ride refreshments, a post-ride social with entertainment, and loads of great food. Riders registered before Sept. 25th can order a t-shirt.  T-shirts might be avaialble day of the ride.

You will encounter knee-popping hills, breathtaking views, awesome descents, and gorgeous fall foliage as you tour the hilltowns of the Eastern Berkshires. Add in miles of stone walls, waterfalls, plenty of New England white churches, loads of colonial homes, historic keystone arches, a wild and scenic river, and did I mention hills. But thats not all, we've got rest stops staffed with friendly cyclists and good food, including our famous "Baked Potato" stop, and a feast at the end. Sometimes we're not sure whether riders come for the ride or just for the food.

The Westfield River, the Great River in the river ride, is a federally designated Wild and Scenic River. The GRR wanders the course of this scenic river to give you a unique cycling experience. For 2019 we're using most of the original route, thanks to Mass Highways repaving projects. The Century will actually total 111 miles with bailout options and we've got the original 25 mile downhill run (mostly) to the finish. Click to view scenes along the GRR.

New for 2019 

The GRR Gravel Route is a mix of pavement, gravel, dirt and seasonal roads that we’ve enjoyed fall riding on for over 50 years. The 65 mile route has several gravel/dirt sections totaling 23 miles.  The route will take you through the remote Knightville Basin and Chesterfield Gorge with stunning vistas along the East Branch of the Westfield River. You’ll pass through the Knightville Meadows, the Rainbow Pool, the Little Gorge and the Chesterfield Gorge on your ride.  Most climbs are paved but Thayer Rd. is a moderately difficult climb of 1.4 miles on dirt ranging from 10% to 7%.  A long descent to River Rd. follows a seasonal road with some steep downgrades. At River Rd. you will have a choice of the final gravel climb up Maynard Rd. or the bailout paved climb up East River Hill to the Spud stop at the Chester Hill Church.  Maynard road gives you a chance for a Strava KOM, only 3 riders have ever attempted this 16% gravel climb.  Gravel/Dirt sections will not be monitored by SAG vehicles and Cell Phone coverage is limited.  Be prepared to handle mechanical problems,and flats.  Several miles of the route follows a gated road closed to motor vehicles.   We recommend teaming up with other riders on these sections.  Tire widths of 38mm or wider are recommended.  Fallen leaves will hide loose and bony surfaces, so caution on descents is advised.

GRR Jerseys

Our  GRR Short Sleeved  jersey is custom made by Louis Garneau Cycle Clothing and can be ordered here. A limited number will be available for pick-up day of the ride others will be shipped shortly after.

Our  GRR Long Sleeved  jersey is custom made by Louis Garneau Cycle Clothing and can be ordered here. A limited number will be available for pick-up day of the ride others will be shipped shortly after.


 For 2019 we'll be doing a GRR T-shirt again. For those of you that have done the GRR in the past, you'll remeber how unique our t's always were. We hope to continue that tradition with our 2019  t-shirt.  One catch though, only early pre-reg riders can order a T-shirt, so don't wait til the last minute to register, Sept. 25 will be the cut-off date for T-shirt registration.  

There are some t-shirts still available for day of the ride.

Image coming soon

Start Times

RUSA 200K Brevet (Pre_Reg Only Lights Required)  

RUSA 170K Populaire (Timed Century)

6:00 AM

7:00 AM

Century Ride (111 miles) 7:00 - 8:30 AM
85 mile route  9:00 - 9:30 AM
Metric Century 9:30 - 11:00 AM
35 mile ride Noon

Gravel Great River Ride 

9:00 am


The GRR is a recreational ride on hilly and winding roads. Riders of all ages and abilities are welcome.

34 x 28 is recommended but strong cyclists will find a 39 x 23 adequate.


Support includes parking, marked routes, sag wagon for rider pickup in the event of an irrepairable breakdown. Rest stops are supplied with snacks, water, and energy drinks.  


Sons of Erin , William St., Westfield, MA

Directions to the GRR start:
From the Mass. Pike I - 90, Take exit 3, Right on to Rte. 202/10 South for 2 miles, immediately over Great River Bridge take a Left on to Meadow St., 0.4 miles Left into Sons of Erin Parking.,-72.73955,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x5d1a507a0806c388

Attractions For Non-Riders

Bring the entire family to the GRR. There are plenty of attractions in the area to keep everyone happy.

Westfield's Stanley Park offers gorgeous floral gardens and extensive walking paths in its wildlife sanctuary. Just 3 miles away.

Sports buffs can visit theNaismith Basketball Hall of Fame in sprigfield, just 11 miles away.

If history is your cup of tea take a trip to the Springfield Armory National Historic Site (11 miles).

RUSA Populaire

           The RUSA  (Randonneurs USA) Brevet and Populaire are timed with a 6:00 AM start time for the 200K ride, 7:00 AM for the 170K  rideand 9:30 AM for the 100K ride. No adjustments are made for late starts and all finishers must turn in a completed ride passport at the end of the ride to have a time recorded. 200K Brevet riders are required to have lights (front and rear), a reflective vest and reflective ankle bands.   

Riders are timed and must check in for a time stamp on their route card at each rest stop. RUSA membership is not required to ride the populaire. 

Entry Fees

Entry fee prior to August 13, 2019

$60.00 pre-registration fee includes post-ride buffet, water bottle.

Entry fee: August 1st to October 10th  $75.00 includes post-ride buffet

This Is a Pre Reg only event

This is a Rain or Shine ride    

No Refunds!

GRR on-line registration   

GRR Route Cues

All routes are fully arrowed with detailed cue sheets provided day of the ride. Cue sheets of the routes are available here. Please be aware last minute changes are always a possibility and you should rely upon the cues given out day of the ride.

Click here for the 200K Cue

Click here for the  Full Century Cue

Click here for the Metric Century Cue...

Click here for the 35 mile Cue...

Click here for the 85 mile Cue...