ONLINE EXTRA: Weston man leads Ride into Ridgefield History July 4

Tom Steinert-Threlkeld of Weston is organizing the first “Strengthening Hearts: The Ride into Ridgefield History,” which takes place Wednesday, July 4, starting at 9 a.m.

Ridgefield’s historical connection to July 4 goes back to before the founding of the nation in 1776.

On July 4, 1727, the original proprietors that were putting together the town made their fourth purchase of land from native Americans. The price: 18 pounds, two guns and three bottles of rum.

That tract won’t be on this July 4th’s Ride into Ridgefield History. But in this inaugural bike ride, benefiting the Ridgefield Historical Society and the Keeler Tavern Museum, riders will see where Benedict Arnold was a hero of the revolution. And where, later, a turncoast colleague of his was arrested, on Main Street.

Riders will see where famed playwright Eugene O’Neill lived, and a still-working farm that once belonged to a former Connecticut governor, in the early days of the new nation.

And, if the names of publisher Henry or congresswoman Claire Booth Luce ring any bells, then this ride is for you.

More than a dozen historical sites will be on the Ride into Ridgefield History and another dozen homes of famous individuals.

The ride is being staged by the Ridgefield Bicycle Company for cyclists of all ages and skill levels.

There will be three levels of rides:

Family Fun: 1.5 miles on flat ground along Main Street in Ridgefield. Most historical sites will be included in this ride.

Midlength Meander: This 8.5-mile loop will include some hills and a visit to the longest-standing farm in Ridgefield history, originally operated by the Lounsbury family. Today, it is a source of fresh, organic produce deliverable on a subscription basis to Fairfield County families.

All In, All Sites: This 39-mile ride will challenge even serious cyclists, with several notable climbs. But it also will take riders to all historical sites and include ride-bys of more than a dozen homes of famous Ridgefield residents, in business, broadcasting, publishing, entertainment and more.

The cost is $15 for an individual rider and $25 for families. All but $5 in each case goes to the Keeler Tavern Museum and Ridgefield Historical Society, for their work in keeping the past alive in the present.

For advance registration, visit and search “Ride into Ridgefield History.”

The rides start and end at the Ridgefield Bicycle Company at 22 Catoonah Street, itself an historical site. The last blacksmith lived here, until the 1960s.

For more information, call Mr. Steinert-Threlkeld at 203-544-8406.

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