The Tour de Franklin Charity Bike Ride will be held this year on Sunday April 26, 2020 at Franklin High School in Somerset, NJ. Now in its 31st year, the Tour De Franklin has grown into a community tradition for both Franklin Township and hundreds of cyclists. The day consists of 7 bike rides ranging from the 62 Mile ride to the 1-to-5 Mile Walk/Ride, and draws up to 800 participants annually.
The Charity Bike Ride is also the largest annual fundraiser for the Franklin Food Bank. In 2019 cyclists, the sponsors, and the community rallied together to raise almost $80,000 of much needed funding for the Food Bank. While the Tour de Franklin happens in Somerset, groups throughout New Jersey make the event a success on all levels. The Tour happens on the last Sunday of April and is often the first long ride of the season for many avid cyclists. The Morris Area Freewheelers (MAFW) Bicycle Club uses the spring timing to support a good cause, with over 40 club members participating. Club member Jim Barnish who often rides in the Tour explained, “The club members participate in plenty of charity events but Tour De Franklin is a club favorite.” The MAFW is one of the largest cycling clubs in New Jersey, with over 700 members and 1,400 scheduled rides per year throughout New Jersey. The club has morning rides on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday year round and evening rides on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between April and October. The paces of the rides range from beginning (Casual) to very fast (A-pace) so there is something for all levels.
While not as visible as the cyclists, the community sponsors are an important part of the Tour de Franklin. The largest sponsor year after year is Thor Labs, located in Newton, New Jersey in another Franklin Township. Finally, the Tour de Franklin is run entirely by volunteers, many of whom come from the Program Management Institute New Jersey Chapter (PMINJ). PMINJ has over 5,600 members throughout New Jersey, and many lend a helping hand to make the Tour run smoothly.
The Tour de Franklin 62, 40, 25, 10, and 5-Mile rides are on-road through scenic Franklin Township, while the 5 and 10-Mile rides also have routes along the historic D&R Canal. “The Tour de Franklin is a community event, so we strive to have rides for all levels of cyclists so that everyone can have a memorable day,” explains Lisa Frey, Tour de Franklin Chairperson. Participants who register before April 1 receive a T-shirt, and cyclists who raise $150 or $300 receive special black T-shirts. Breakfast and lunch are also offered and there are stops with snacks and beverages along the rides.
The New Jersey Department of Health estimates that one in ten people in New Jersey are food insecure and the Franklin Food Bank works to lower that statistic, fighting local hunger with dignity and compassion. The Tour de Franklin Charity Bike Ride is a large part of that effort. Learn more about the Franklin Food Bank and the Tour de Franklin or sign up to ride at franklinfoodbank.org and Like the Tour De Franklin of Facebook.