THANK YOU for taking the time after your rides this year to let us know about your experience at Farm to Fork Fondo. We want to make our events the very best in the whole wide world, and we can't do that without your help and feedback. We received over 600 responses throughout 2017 and we read them all and have planned changes to address the most consistent concerns. Read below to see some of the improvements in store for our 2018 events.
Packet Pickup streamlined
We hate long lines as much as you do. We iterated our Packet Pickup process throughout 2017 and we have a major revamp planned for 2018 to speed it up significantly. You'll just pick up the essentials (like your number plate, wrist band and course map) before your ride, and get your commemorative swag bag and other goodies in the Finisher Tent. You can expect to see our staff greeting you and getting you started while you wait in line, and additional staff members in the merchandise area to make sure you can grab your new gear quickly.
Earlier start times
To lessen your time in the hot sun and make sure you get home at a reasonable hour, all of our mass starts will be at 8:30am in 2018, which is 30min earlier than most of our 2017 starts. We'll always have the exciting mass start, because that is a hallmark of a Farm to Fork Fondo, but we think an earlier start will make your day even more awesome!
Saturday rides for destination events
To make your weekend experience (especially the drive home) better at our most remote events, we have moved the rides to Saturdays for Finger Lakes and Maine. If you're thinking about joining us in those destinations, don't fret about a late drive home Sunday night. Pennsylvania Dutch is also a Saturday event, but that's so we can include our Amish farmer friends.
Additional signage on course
Our course signage is designed to for visibility, safety and for your enjoyment and understanding of your ride. We made improvements to our signage throughout 2017 based on your feedback at events earlier in the year. We have even more updates planned for 2018 including:
- 'Please Share the Road' signs throughout every route, especially in the busier sections, to help alert motorists to your presence and make you feel safer
- Improved Segment Challenge signage including alerts and informational signs containing each segment name, distance and elevation gain
- More specific caution signs to help keep you safe, including 'pothole,' 'grate,' 'rough road,' and 'poor shoulder conditions'
- Throughout 2017 we also added mileage marker and aid station ahead signs based on our feedback
Easier Ramble Ride and Piccolo Fondo courses
Farm to Fork Fondo is about immersing yourself in beautiful farmlands and enjoying fresh food from the farms. We're not trying to make our Ramble Ride and Piccolo Fondo routes a killer ride. It's difficult to find flat routes in some of our farmland regions, but we've made adjustments, some major, to many of our shorter routes, and we think you'll enjoy the experience even more. Stay tuned for full 2018 route announcements.
Post-Ride Festival Enhancements
We want to make sure every participants gets a chance to enjoy our post-ride festivities, so we are extending the live music and vendor hours through the end of the day at 6pm. We're also making the following enhancements:
- New free aid station food sample tent that will offer select small bites from the farms out on course back at the venue for anyone to sample at no charge!
- Improved and more consistent recycling stations at all our venues
- Enhanced sound system so everyone can hear the morning safety speech and announcements throughout the day
Improved Stages Segment Challenge
For our participants that want to challenge themselves and see how they stack up, we are putting more resources behind our Segment Challenges, which are sponsored again in 2018 by Stages Cycling. To make sure everyone understands how to participate, we'll have a staff person at Packet Pickup with a laptop ready to get your Ride With GPS account set up and answer any questions. That staff person will also be at the Information Tent to help you upload your ride so you can be in the rankings. We're also adding more age groups and more prizes to the competition.
If you have anything more to add, or if you didn't have the chance to share your thoughts, you can still fill out our Participant Feedback Survey to send us your thoughts. Thanks for helping us make Farm to Fork Fondo better and better every year as we grow!