Welcome to the site for all the latest information about Connecticut's dirty little century, roughly 118miles in early September, about half off paved surfaces. Please start by reading The Basics (this is a link) for information about the ride (if current year Basics is not yet available, the previous year will give a general gist).

Rather than answer individual questions repeatedly, please address questions as "comments" to the MOST RECENT post and I will answer in a blog posting for all to see.

Thursday, July 21, 2016


When: Saturday September 3rd for 2016 (with Sunday the 4th kept as a rain date--final decision to be made Friday). Start riding promptly at 8am. That may sound early, but this will be a LONG ride. Add roughly 50% to your time for 118 paved miles; bring lights if in doubt. Sunset is at 7:22pm on Saturday.

What: The 2016 Detour de Connecticut, with its move to the fall, looks to build on the last five years' rides and the relative success of previous "invitation-only" events, or as one participant described the 2010 ride: "Nobody died." This year's "bow tie edition" (the rough shape of the route) looks like it will be 118 miles. Here's the kicker: about half that mileage is off paved roads, with maybe 5 miles tops on numbered highway routes, thus the Detour de CT. If you can handle passages less-buff than D2R2, adventures, mild orienteering, don't mind getting a toe wet (ankles should stay dry), short rough sections, not to mention loads of gorgeous back roads, this is a ride for you.  DO NOT THINK GRAVEL GRINDER!  This route, at times, is a rock crusher, stump stomper, and mud slogger.  Note: this is a self-led ride; you are responsible for finding your way from the directions.  

Route: Many thanks to Jessie, the route exists as a single text document of cues  (there are 3 columns per page, use one page at time--complete full page before continuing to columns on next page).  The file can be downloaded from Google Docs HERE.  (NOTE: Use only this link from this 2016 Basics for the correct cue sheet.  The Interwebs have many iterations, including some from 3rd parties.  There are no accurate GPX files for this year's route.)

The route has changed significantly from last year, largely in the passes through Willimantic due to a new bike path (yay!) and new "No Tresspassing" signs (boo--but there is a super cool new bridge because of it.  And a waterfall!).  There is also a modification out in Canterbury to avoid poisen ivy (side effect of the new fall date).  Last year, I clarified the directions within the Mohegan Forest to keep more people on track, with variable success.  Within the cues there are references to numbered maps for which there are links below.  Note, not all of the route has/can be mapped (you need the cues) and Maps 3 & 8 have been removed due to changes this year.  Also, Map 10 has one deviation from the cues (cues are correct) in the last 1/2 mile.  Again, trust the cues; the maps are just visual aids.

The Bicycle: Minimum 32c tires are good for the soft soil sections, although I would avoid knobbies as there is still a lot of pavement, but an inverted tread tire might be nice. Some woods roads on the loop are very rough, but nothing a Model T couldn't handle. There is one uncontrolled rail road track crossing where I had to walk as well as some potentially wet woods roads in the Mohegan State Forest. Some sections have significantly more vegitation than in the past with the fall date.

I'm not trying to impress anyone, but in choosing your equipment, keep in mind this is the evaluation of a retired pro mountain biker who is generally disposed to riding the wrong bike for the situation. If you consider a cross bike just a dirt-road-bike, a mountain bike might be a good choice. There are sections rougher than D2R2.

Lastly, there is a bike shop in Willimantic, but they are open only on Saturday, so if rain date is used, you get the idea. Regardless of the day, there are LONG stints with nothing resembling support, so plan for self sufficiency.  Also, it can be quite hot still at the beginning of September.  Be prepared for LONG stints without water available.

The Cost: I like free things, so this ride is free. If, on Monday, you feel like you did a fantastic ride, I'd encourage you to donate $5-10 to some bicycle organization of your choice. Again, this is completely voluntary; there is no cost for riding this loop.

All that said, we are adding registration for this year's event.  And, of course, a waiver.  Please click on over to https://www.bikereg.com/30506 and add your name to the list.  If you don't register, you aren't on the ride, just some creepy interloper.

Food: The center, or knot, of the bow tie is Willimantic, CT, and the route passes through at roughly 1/3 and 2/3 distance. These will be opportunities to buy food. I recommend the coop in town which is not far off the route. Also, on the second pass through town, the loop will go by a roadside natural water spring.

Parking: I know not everyone will ride to the start, but you get serious bonus points if you do. There is limited parking right at the trail head. Nearby are Progress Dr. and Utopia Rd. which should be reasonable for street parking. If you drive, you are responsible for obeying parking laws.

One more plug: Why am I doing this? I like riding a bike, and I like riding bikes with other people. I like back roads. I like dirts roads. I like woods roads, and I like sharing what I've found with others.  I'm cruel like that. This loop is not for everyone, but I love it. It's challenging, frequently beautiful, and comprises so many of the reasons I enjoy spending time on two wheels.

Disclaimer: This is just a possible route. I will be riding the loop at the specified day and time. If other's choose to do the same, they do so at their own risk and choosing. To my knowledge, there is no restricted open public access sections of the route, but I do not guaranty this. Obey all no trespassing signs. Route is not solely on maintained public roads.


  1. Every time I navigate in CT I get lost. Actually any time I navigate without my Dumb Device I get lost. Am I doomed? If I am apt to suffer, spin like a monkey, and inclined to hammer socially... may I anticipate that I cam be able to stick with a group that knows (you) ? -adin

  2. Hmmmm. There is no right answer to this one. More accurately, this ride relies on attitude and outlook. If you're inclined to think, "Wow, I'm lost. This should be new/exciting/interesting," you should be fine. If, however, you believe lost=doomed, errr. I will say the goal is the grow the ride to where everyone is riding with someone, and also, many people who've lost the route in past years still said it was a great ride. Of course, I never heard from the ones that were lost and alone and died.

  3. Hey Salem , there is now a bike shop in center of East Hampton, Airline Cycles. I believe they are open till 4:00 on Saturday. - Tim

  4. Hey Salem, as Tim mentions, my shop in East Hampton, AirLine Cycles, is right on the route, and I'll have snacks, sammiches, beers, bathroom, oxygen, fresh legs, whatever you need waiting for the crew to come on by. I'm open Saturday and Sunday, and will stay open as late as I need to, whatever hours you might need me. Great event, would be happy to support it however I can! Cheers, Brian @ airline cycles, 860-365-5496 brian@airlinecycles.com

  5. New bike shops are always a good thing, and I believe East Hampton has been without one since Velocity Cycles (source of my '92 Bridgestone RB-1--I had amazingly good taste for an 18 year old, but alas, that waned) closed in the early '90s. Way to go Brian!

  6. Hi Salem, I remember hearing your name mentioned up here at Bicycles Unlimited in Greenfield over the years...anyhow, do you encourage or discourage willing participants who are slow but willing to endure? Thinking of joining in the fun in 2017.

  7. The Detour is not pace specific; it is a self led ride, so we don't discourage anyone. In fact, the whole idea is to have enough people riding various paces that everyone has someone to ride with, the more the merrier, so to speak. Of course, it is a long ride, so EVERYONE is always encouraged to have back-up plans and lights. I hope to see more people every September.