BikeMaine — The Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s epic, week-long ride — is already gearing up for its second edition. They recently announced the 2014 route, a 350-mile journey that explores the people, places, culture and landscape of Maine.
This year’s ride, scheduled for Sept. 6-13, is entitled “BikeMaine 2014: Pedaling the Waterways.” Building on the success of last year’s inaugural ride, and 7-day ride will feature host communities in western, central and coastal Maine, according to a recent press release.
The loop route will begin and end in Westbrook, and will include the following host communities: Norway, Winthrop Center (State YMCA Camp of Maine), Gardiner, Boothbay Harbor (two nights) and Bath. During the journey, bicyclists will ride along rushing rivers, tranquil lakes and the Maine coast. Three of the six overnight campsites are located next to a body of water.
The year’s ride will be limited to 350 riders, with half coming from out-of-state. Registration at ride.bikemaine.org is currently open and the ride is expected to sell out.
“BikeMaine 2014 is purposefully being kept to 350 [riders] to ensure a, well supported, quality experience for riders and host communities,” said BikeMaine Ride Director Kim True.
The cost is $875 per rider and includes 18 meals made from locally sourced, seasonal foods, ample beverages and snacks, baggage transport, mechanical and medical support and a camping site that includes showers, restrooms and evening entertainment.
The 2014 route will see participants pedaling 55 to 62 miles each day (with daily options for increased mileage) and climb more than 23,000 feet in cumulative elevation. Along the way, cyclists will discover Maine’s history, culture, people and food with the assistance and encouragement of host community organizations and residents.
Each year, BikeMaine will choose a different route and a new part of the state to explore. And each year, the event is expected to grow.
“A key goal of BikeMaine is for riders to discover every corner of our state and celebrate the great riding found throughout Maine,” said BikeMaine Ride Chair Mark Ishkanian.
“Our community is proud to host BikeMaine,” said Patrick Wright, Gardiner’s town coordinator for BikeMaine. ”This ride gives us the opportunity to showcase our businesses and organizations, support our long term community improvement projects, and promote cycling as a healthy, family activity.”
Last year’s inaugural ride attracted 251 attendees from thirty-six states and provinces, and the event had an estimated economic impact of $235,000.
Large week-long, supported, endurance cycling events are well established and very successful in other parts of the United States, some generating more than $5 million annually in state economic benefit, according to The Bicycle Coalition of Maine.
BikeMaine is supported by returning sponsors L.L.Bean and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, as well as sponsors The Bank of Maine, the Maine Tourism Association,
Idexx and Poland Spring. Grant funding for BikeMaine 2014 has been provided by the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, Quimby Family Foundation, The Betterment Fund and Davis Conservation Foundation. Key BikeMaine partnerships include the Maine Downtown Center, The Nature Conservancy, and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Media partners include WCSH6 / WLBZ2, MaineToday Media and Maine Magazine.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is the statewide voice of cyclists. Since 1992, the organization has led the effort to make Maine better for bicycling by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists through education, advocacy, legislation and encouragement.
For information on the BikeMaine 2014, visit www.bikemaine.org.