Vermont at its finest, unspoiled, unaltered and staying true to its historic past. Picturesque Tunbridge, Vermont is a quintessential small Vermont town nestled in the gentle rolling hills, lush farm pastures and is home to the Ranger Gravel Adventure Ride.
The Alliance of Vermont Communities, which organizes the Ranger, formed to protect this historic landscape and preserve the rural culture and heritage against a massive development called New Vistas, lead by Mormon tycoon David Hall. The Ranger was organized to help raise awareness and money to support AVC’s efforts to stop the New Vistas development.
On a cool June morning over 200 riders form across New England traveled to the Tunbridge Fair Grounds, home to the famous 147th Worlds Fair to take part in the Ranger. Event organizer Alex Buskey welcomes the riders, briefs them on the course and shares his passion for preserving this amazing landscape for generations to come by becoming a Ranger yourself. “A Ranger is someone who resides on a plot of land as its protector”, says Buskey. He encourages you, as you pedal, to let your surroundings soak in and be present in the pristine environment.
After final adjustments, we are ready to roll out. We begin the ride climbing a gravel road of course, this is Vermont after all. Once we top out, the sweeping vistas are breathtaking! The well laid out 32 mile/4000K loop offered rolling ridgetops, solid climbs, fast dirt road descents and challenging timed Strava “Enduro Segments” on the infamous Vermont class IV roads. There was also an energetic kids option at the event, offering a Junior Ranger ride which stretched 4 miles long in a nearby pasture and that included a pump track in the course, donated by RASTA (Rochester/Randolph Area Sports Trail Alliance).
Upon return we were greeted by a warm, festive celebration. Live bluegrass music set the post ride tone with craft beer, wood fired flatbread, tasty tacos & small batch ice cream offered up to the riders. People stayed long in to the afternoon, soaking up the sun and resting their tired legs.
The Ranger is an adventure, an adventure both on the bike and in your mind. It forces you to think about the what if’s. What if this landscape was taken away by massive development, which could be never be reversed. The folks that took part in the Ranger walked away with a strong sense of community spirit and a new-found passion to help preserve this great place. It was quite the day! Look for it next year again in early June, always set in beautiful Tunbridge, VT.