PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Cycling enthusiasts and community organizers joined members of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine as the route for the 2nd annual BikeMaine Ride was unveiled.
The week-long, community based cycling tour of the Pine Tree State is designed to help expose riders from Maine and afar discover sections of Vacationland that are off the beaten path and provide a boost to the state's economy during the lull that occurs after summer vacations and the influx of leaf peepers in the fall.
The 350 mile ride will begin in Westbrook on September 6th. From there, riders will travel into the western mountains to Norway, before crossing over to Winthrop and Gardiner in central Maine. Riders will then head towards the coast, staying in Boothbay Harbor for two nights, before working their way south to Bath and ending the week where they started back in Westbrook.
"We wanted it 100 percent," exclaimed Lynda Adams, Westbrook's city clerk and the BikeMaine community organizer for the city. "We want Westbrook to be in the limelight and we know we have a lot to offer people and we were ready to do it."
The number of riders this year will expand to 350 from the 250 who participated in the inaugural event.
"We live in Westbrook, we love Westbrook, so we know everything that Westbrook has to offer, but to be able to showcase that to potentially 350 bikers and lots of support people, we just are really proud," stated Westbrook Mayor, Colleen Hilton.
"I think a lot of people may have a maybe a view of a particular community,but they have actually never been in it," she said. "So this really puts people camping in our park and hopefully patronizing our local restaurants and stores, and hopefully taking some walks and bikes around our trails, so we are really happy and we think it will be really good for the city of Westbrook."
"We can use that extra boost going into winter," said Angela Harvey, owner of the Green Machine Bike Shop in Norway.
"We are so proud and honored to have such a great event come through Main Street, and as a small bike shop, we have been there two years, just to be able to give it all we have to encourage more biking in our community," she added.
BikeMainealso adds to the economy by using locally sourced food whenever possible, and by encouraging community groups and non-profits to provide entertainment and meals as a way to raise money for their organizations.
In the future, as the event continues to grow, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine hopes to split proceeds from the event with host communities to fund infrastructure improvements for pedestrian and bicycle friendly projects in their towns.