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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 4 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.. 

September 18 to October 18, 2020

Enter the Great River Ride Challenge for FREE! at 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 Challenge will be the major fundraiser for the Friends of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail.

Entry is FREE but a donation to the Friends of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail (FOCGRT)  is suggested.

Donate to FOCGRT  Here

Choose between four rides; , 108 miles,, 62 miles, 36 miles or a 36 mile gravel ride. Successful completion of a will earn you a commemorative pin. Each distance will have its own distinct pin. Ride one or ride all 4 . 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. 

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. The final gravel climb up Maynard Rd. has grades up to 16%. Be prepared to handle mechanical problems,and flats, cell phone coverage is limited..  Several miles of the route follows a gated road closed to motor vehicles. 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 2020 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 2020  t-shirt.  

Image coming soon


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.

Entry Fees

For the 2020 GRR Challenge there is no entry fee, but a donation to the Friends of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail is suggested

GRR on-line registration