Great American Ride

March 20, 2021 - May 20, 2021

New in 2021: Participants will ride east to west, starting in Washington, D.C.
3700-mile Virtual Team Ride Along the Great American Rail-Trail

2021 Great American Ride

$50 Registration ends April 20, 2021 at 11:59pm EDT

Great American Ride

The Great American Ride is a 3,700-mile virtual team bike ride along the route of the Great American Rail-Trail™, a developing trail that is more than 53% complete and will one day connect over thousands of miles and 12 states between the District of Columbia and Washington State. We’re combining the camaraderie of team cycling with the fun and sightseeing of a long-distance solo ride. The #GARIDE is a journey that you can experience from whatever corner of the world you call home.


Gather your team of 4, 8, or 12 riders and chip away at the miles as a group. At the end of each day, you’ll report your progress and watch your team dot move across the map in real time while the race leaderboard will update to show the overall standings! And to make the miles even more fun, we’ll send you facts and highlights about the locations you ride past along the way.


GAR Website FAQs Create/Join Team

The Ride From D.C. to Washington State Begins

How It Works

You should track your ride using one of the many GPS-enabled tracking systems (e.g., Strava, Map My Run, Garmin, Wahoo, etc.). From there you will self-report the time and distance of your ride based on your GPS tracking, which will update the leaderboard and move your team’s dot across the course map. Entries without GPS will be permitted but are not encouraged for the sake of validation. If you are in the running to be in the top 10 in your division, you should be prepared to validate your mileage.

The first team in each division to reach Washington will win. Teams have until May 20 to complete the 3,700-mile trek. A 4-person team starting on March 20 can accumulate as few as 60 miles per day in order to finish by the end of May.


You must join a team, but you can compete as a team of one or with up to 12 of your closest friends. Then you register as individuals. You should assign one team captain to set-up your team & then they will be able to share the team name & password (optional) for others to register & join. You will also be able to search for a team during registration & choose to join the team then. For more information, visit our Team Captain Info page.

Team Sizes:

  • 4-Person Team: 1-4 members
  • 8-Person Team: 5-8 members
  • 12-Person Team: 9-12 members

Team Type

  • Open
  • Female
  • Co-Ed (at least 50% of the team is female)
Create/Join Team Manage Team

Perks & SWAG

  • SockGuy cycling socks
  • Event medal
  • Virtual finisher’s badge
  • Pre-mapped 3,700-mile course across the country
  • Leaderboard and online map updates
  • Virtual travel experience through fun facts and photos of things you would see along the route

Registration closes on April 20 at 11:59 p.m. Entries are non-refundable, non-transferable and cannot be deferred to another year.

Participant Items will mail after registration closes. More details to come.


Virtually ride the route of the Great American Rail-Trail™, which traverses 12 states between the District of Columbia and Washington.


The Great American Rail-Trail™ is the nation’s first cross-country multiuse trail, stretching more than 3,700 miles between Washington, D.C., and Washington State. This trail is an iconic piece of American infrastructure that will connect thousands of miles of rail-trails and other multiuse trails, serving tens of millions of people living along the route as well as those who visit the trail from around the country and the world.


Throughout your team’s journey, our group of experienced race organizers will be with you every step of the way! We’ll set up ways for you to stay connected with your team and highlight noteworthy portions of the virtual route you are completing.


Course Interactive Map


Your individual team members must track their rides using one of the many GPS-enabled tracking systems (e.g., Strava, Map My Ride, Garmin, Wahoo). From there they will each upload their tracked ride into the event’s site which will update the leaderboard and move your team’s dot across the course map. Manual entries without GPS will be permitted but are not encouraged for the sake of ride validation.


Specific details about inputting cycling metrics will be distributed via email to event registrants in advance of the event start on March 20.


Official leaderboard/map information to come

Log Activities

How to Log Activities 

  1. Participant Look Up
  2. Lookup Registration
  3. Log Activities 
  4. Two ways to log:
    • Manually Enter
    • Load Activities from File
  5. Submit Activities


How To Edit

  1. Participant Look Up
  2. Lookup Registration
  3. Log Activities next to event name
  4. Manage Activities
  5. Edit or Delete


Referral Rewards


The only thing better than the Great American Ride experience is sharing it with friends & family! Invite others to join you on your journey and earn the following rewards:

  • Refer 5, receive Great American Ride Water Bottle
  • Refer 10, receive GAR water bottle + Goodr Sunglasses


Share your unique referral link (found in your confirmation email)! You can share the link via email, social media, or text. Remind your friends/family to use your link to score all the rewards! To be counted towards your referrals, they must register using your unique link.

Let’s Go, RVA! Sports Backers' mission is to inspire active living in all corners of our community. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit org dedicated to advocating for safe & accessible bike & pedestrian infrastructure, offer free fitness classes, support run clubs during non-pandemic times at area schools, & develop fun, new participatory events for our entire community.

Now, more than ever, our community needs to be physically active. Due to COVID-19, we had to stop all in-person events & cancel all in-person programming in the Spring 2020. Since then, we have reimaged our events & programs bringing virtual & social distancing options to our region. 

Sports Backers Website

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines & connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people. RTC is the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—serving as the voice & advocate for the nation’s 38,000+ miles of trails across the country. The Great American Rail-Trail™ is a signature project of RTC & the organization’s most ambitious trail project to date. As the nation’s first cross-country multiuse trail, the Great American Rail-Trail™ will be entirely bikeable & walkable, connecting travelers of all ages & abilities with America’s diverse landscapes & communities.

Donate to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Website Great American Rail-Trail Website

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