BikeMaine is a weeklong cycling tour held in mid-September. This year, 360 cyclists rode about 350 miles, from Kittery to Bethel and back, ending Saturday.
They pedaled an average of 55 miles a day through small towns, from the rocky coastline to mountains and lakes.
The event is offered by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, a nonprofit organization with more than 5,000 members working to make the state a better place through biking.
KITTERY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The 350 cyclists who participated in BikeMaine this year got a nice warm welcome back in Kittery.They finished the ride in Fort Foster Park where it all started a week ago.
The cyclists rode about 350 miles over the past seven days. That’s about 55 miles per day.
Along the way, the riders visited Kittery, Old Orchard Beach, Bridgton, Bethel, Sweden and Kennebunk.
“We had the best weather, except for rain the first day, but even that was something that I’m glad I had to experience,” Mike Dunn said. “It was wonderful. I’m so glad I did it.”
Ross Healy, who lives on the West Coast, said he enjoyed his first trip to Maine.
“It was one of the best ways to come, check out the state, see a lot of cool stuff, a lot of local culture, and the ride was just beautiful,” he said.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine, which puts on BikeMaine every year, has already announced the region where the ride will take place next year. It’ll be along the Bold Coast of Maine in Hancock and Washington counties.Read More
SWEDEN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – After a rest day Wednesday, the BikeMaine riders hit the road again Thursday. Cyclists started in Bethel and rode to Sweden. They took a 60-mile route, passing through the White Mountains National Forest.
Each day, a few “support and gear,” or SAG, vans follow the cyclists as they ride. They help the cyclists who have flat tires or broken chains, and the ones who just can’t quite make it up a hill.
“Of course, some of them are your frequent fliers, if you will,” Rob Bakker said.
He operates the ham radio while Allan Harville drives. The two have been volunteering in the support vehicles since the ride started three years ago. Over the years, they’ve become friends.
Allan and Rob are there mostly to lend a hand, but there’s something in it for them too. Even though they both live in Maine, they get to explore parts of the state they’ve never seen before. But when duty calls, they spring into action.
Marina Wheland, a rider from Canada, had a broken spoke. Allan and Rob spotted her, gave her a ride to the another SAG van that was headed toward the BikeMaine mechanic.
“They are the angels of the road,” Wheland said. “They are fantastic guys, and it makes every day riding better, knowing that they’re there to pick us up if, like my bike just pooched out on me, and I’m not going to be stranded.”
For Harville and Bakker, hearing that makes giving up free time and using vacation days worth every minute.
“You know what, I get paid in smiles,” Bakker said.
“Knowing that when somebody’s in trouble, we’re going to be there. We can say that with authority because we are going to be there,” Harville said.
For Day 6 of BikeMaine, the riders will head back to the coast. They’ll ride 75 miles from Sweden to Kennebunk.
(NEWS CENTER) — The organizers of BikeMaine say anyone can complete the ride with the right training. Mike Dunn is proof of that.
Eight months ago, he was 80 pounds heavier.
“I kept thinking, ‘I’m going to go to the gym. I’m going to be working out,'” Dunn said. “‘I’m going to do all this stuff,’ but I never did it.”
In February, his doctor told him he was headed toward a heart attach, diabetes or other diseases. A close friend, who’s a personal trainer, stepped in to help. He went through Dunn’s cabinets and got rid of all the junk food.
“He came over and said, ‘I’m not going to watch you die, Dunnsy.’ He said, ‘I’m going to make sure you change,'” Dunn said.
That’s the push Dunn needed to start eating healthier and exercising. A few months after his doctor’s appointment, he signed up for BikeMaine. His friend put together a training plan for him, and he hit the road. Three hundred miles into the ride, he said he’s doing well.
“I was scared poopless as the ride got ready to go, because I wasn’t certain I was ready,” he said.
He still has about 50 pounds to lose before he reaches his goal weight, but Dunn said he’s feeling better than ever. He hopes he can do BikeMaine, or another ride like it, next year. As soon as he finishes the ride, he said he is going to join the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, which organizes BikeMaine.
Saturday is Day 7, the last day, of the ride.Read More
(NEWS CENTER) — On Day 3 of BikeMaine, the cyclists rode about 45 miles from Bridgton to Bethel.
The Powell family is getting a lot of attention on the ride. It’s not hard to spot George Powell among the rest of the BikeMaine riders. At 10 years old, he’s the youngest cyclist to ever participate in the ride, but not by much. His twin brother Noah is about 28 minutes older than him.
“My legs are good,” Noah said, about 120 miles into the ride. “They’re not hurting yet.”
Noah and George are kind of a big deal at camp. By now, they’ve gotten used to the other riders coming up to them, asking which twin they are and calling them celebrities. Their older sister Annie, who’s only 14, is adjusting to the newfound fame too. “It’s just kind of cool to have tons of people know who you are, but it’s also a little bit weird,” she said. The three of them are doing the ride with their parents, who home school them in Georgia.
“When the school buses pass, it’s like, ‘Hi I’m here. You have to be on the bus,'” Annie joked. The Powell family has been training together since April, biking a thousand miles to get ready for this ride. “We didn’t bring any books,” their mom, Lori, said. “There’s no time for that this week.”
Instead, the kids are getting the chance to explore a new place, and they’re learning the importance of hard work and determination. “How to deal mentally with something difficult, and when you get tired, maybe you get bored, we keep pressing on,” the kids’ dad Robert said. With every mile they ride and every hill they climb, they’re also learning the value of family.
The Powells are looking forward to Wednesday, a rest day in Bethel with optional riding.
On Thursday, Day 5 of BikeMaine, the riders are making their way from Bethel to Camp Tapawingo in Sweden.Read More
(NEWS CENTER) — Day two of BikeMaine began Monday morning at Old Orchard Beach and by the end of the ride, bikers had made their way to Bridgton.
The trip totaled about 54 miles, which means riders have completed about 120 miles in the 350 miles ride.
For riders, it’s hard enough biking as far as they do each day, so the folks at BikeMaine make things a little easier for them by packing up their chairs, luggage and tents for them.
The people who do that are all volunteers, some of them are students at Westbrook High School. Their teacher, Shannon Belt, brings them along for the event.
Belt says the students that volunteer are all “at risk,” so BikeMaine is a great experience for them.
“It be easy to get some funding and be in a hotel, and make it very plush, but that’s not where you learn,” Shannon Belt said. “The best part of these sort of experiences is trying to figure out where kids breaking point is, and try not, not break them, but to try to get them to grow and become better people.”
The volunteers get to have some fun too. Yesterday, they went paddle boarding in Old Orchard Beach and they might even do some hiking and tubing over the next few days as well.Read More
KITTERY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Cyclists from across the country, and even around the globe, are in Maine this week for the seven-day BikeMaine ride. It started Sunday morning at Fort Foster in Kittery.
Three hundred fifty riders are participating in this year’s ride, 100 more than last year. Over the next seven days they’ll be riding about 350 miles, about 55 miles each day.
“If you can do something that’s like BikeMaine, you might be able to do something that you didn’t believe you could do outside of bicycling,” Doug Eaton, who came from New York for the ride, said.
The cyclists rode 60 miles Sunday to Old Orchard Beach, where they’ll stay over night. As they were eating breakfast before the official start of the ride, participants were excited, despite the rainy weather.
“I just got up and I was like I can do this,” Eliza Dagostino, a Massachusetts resident, said. “Just take my time, go slow, cruise along with everybody else. I have some friends here. They did it a couple years ago and they said it was a ball, so I’m ready to have fun.”
This is the third annual BikeMaine ride, which is put on by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. Each year there are different host communities. Organizers said the ride had a direct economic impact last year of $395,000.
The host communities this year are Kittery, Old Orchard Beach,Bridgeton, Bethel, Sweden, and Kennebunk. The ride wraps up Saturday back in Kittery.
NEWS CENTER will be following the riders each day for the next week.
KITTERY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — More than 350 cyclists are preparing for the first leg of BikeMaine set to begin on Sunday.
This year’s week-long tour is expected be the biggest one yet. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine estimates that last year’s event had a direct economic impact in Maine of $395,000.
Over the course of their adventure, cyclists will pedal more than 50 miles a day, throughout southern and western Maine. Along the way they will enjoy locally-sourced foods like Maine seafood and fresh-from-the-farm produce at every meal. At night they will camp at host communities including Kittery, Old Orchard Beach, Bath, Sweden and Kennebunk.
Tune-in to NEWS CENTER for complete coverage of the event.Read More
September 11th, 2015
By Gail Geraghty
Over 350 cyclists from 35 states will camp out on the grounds of the Bridgton Community Center Monday afternoon and overnight, Sept. 14, and Bridgton is ready to give them a warm welcome.
The cyclists should start to arrive around 1:30 p.m. after covering around 50 miles on the third day of their 350-mile trek through Southern and Western Maine. Residents should start to see them rolling up Route 117 from Sebago and Denmark, past Woods Pond to South High Street, and down Main Hill to Depot Street. When they leave on Tuesday, they’ll head out on Main Street and turn up Highland Road to Chadbourne Hill Road, passing through Waterford, where the North Waterford Congregational Church has planned a luncheon and rest stop.
There’ll be hundreds of volunteers to help the riders get comfortably settled — Bridgton Academy students will help them unload trucks, and the Lake Region High School’s Interact Club will also help out
The grounds of the Community Center will be transformed into a temporary tent city, as individual tents are set up for the bikers and larger tents for services such as bathrooms and first aid that will be needed.
Among organizations that have promised food and support are the Bridgton Lions Club, Rotary Club, the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce and The Bridgton Economic Development Corporation. Downtown businesses are also planning to put out the welcome mat; The Depot Street Tap House is promising a lineup of entertainment.
Maine Women’s Fund CEO Sarah Ruef-Lindquist, of Camden, will join more than 300 cyclists as they tour the state by bicycle Sept. 12-19. The 2015 ride is the third annual organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, founded to promote the state as a bicycling destination and to use cycling as an economic development tool for local communities.
Ruef-Lindquist has completed long distance rides in Maine, including the American Lung Association’s 180-mile Trek Across Maine five times and the Tour de Cure in Bar Harbor and Tour de Farms in Wiscasset for several years.