Farmhands on Bikes ready to ride

Nyree Bridgman tunes up a bike at Fresh Roots Farm during an exploratory tour.

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A team of cyclists will head into rural Manitoba Aug. 17-20, to tour the country side and help out farmers at harvest time as part of Farmhands on Bikes.
Leanna (Fehr) Wiebe said the idea for the event came about last summer when she and Nyree Bridgman were on a cycle tour north of Morden.
“We both loved the experience of exploring the country side as it’s a great way to connect with a landscape,” she said. “Our idea was that volunteering on farms along the way would really add to the experience as a way to build relationships with people”.
Through connections with FortWhyte Farms and The WRENCH, a community bike shop in Winnipeg, they invited six youth from the inner city to join them.
“We wanted to share that experience with urban youth as well as a means of bridging the urban-rural divide and just sharing a fun experience with a broader group of people,” she said. “Our trip will be similar to eco-tours that combine cycle-touring with volunteering.” The trip is mapped out with significant miles to be covered.
“Our trip will start in Winnipeg at Fort Whyte Farms. From there, the ten of us will make a pit stop in Morden before traveling to Clearwater, MB,” she said. “From Clearwater, we will ride our bikes along a route near the Pembina River Valley from Clearwater to Cartwright and back. We will be volunteering at Fresh Roots Farm near Cartwright and Dogs Run Farm near Clearwater.”
Cycle tourism is not new and Wiebe said it’s a growing form of tourism.
“For our group, an important part of cycle touring is getting to know the landscape we’re traveling through,” she said. “Agriculture is such an important part of the culture and economy in Southern Manitoba that volunteering on farms during our ride will add a lot to the experience. This project aims to bridge the urban-rural divide while encouraging young people to explore the practice of farming.”
There is a cost to this, and Wiebe said they’re hoping to raise the $2,000 needed.
“As much as possible we will be sourcing food from the farms we visit as a small way of supporting the farmers we visit,” she said. “We are currently raising funds to cover the costs of fuel and food.”
The group has GoFundMe campaign called Support Farmhands on Bikes”.
Wiebe said they appreciate the support they have from Morden Co-op and others through the Pembina Valley.
“These funds will directly support youth and the farms we visit,” she added.

Erin Froese is a full time urban farmer.

Erin Froese and Nyree Bridgman will be joined by Leanna Wiebe and six others from Winnipeg as they begin their journey Aug. 17.