FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Inaugural BikeMaine Ride Makes Economic Impact
An estimated $235,000 spent in Maine communities
Portland, Maine. November 8, 2013 – Maine’s first seven-day mass bicycle ride contributed an estimated $235,000 of direct economic benefits to the communities along its route. The inaugural BikeMaine ride, produced by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, attracted 251 bicycle riders from thirty-seven states and three Canadian Provinces. Cyclists pedaled 400 miles from September 8-14th and visited the communities of Orono, Dover-Foxcroft, Belfast, Castine, Bar Harbor (two nights) and Camp Jordan (Ellsworth) before returning to finish in Orono.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine set out to create a unique bicycle ride that expands bicycling to parts of the state that don’t often see cyclists. In doing so, the Coalition hoped to capture the imagination of communities along the route regarding the benefits of cycling and the economic value of bicycle tourism. The ride also looked to make a local economic impact by buying as much food as possible from Maine farms, highlighting Maine products, and securing local services.
“We set out to develop a totally new and exciting week-long bicycle ride that is a discovery tour of Maine’s famous and undiscovered places,” said Nancy Grant, Coalition Executive Director, “and the response from riders and host communities was an enthusiastic two thumbs up.”
Bicycle riders gave the inaugural ride high marks in a follow up survey with 93% rating it as very good or excellent and 92% saying they planned to participate again.
As one rider noted: “I really liked discovering the beauty and cultural richness of the smaller communities.” Another rider, when asked what he most liked about the ride, responded: “Seeing new corners of a state I have biked in for 20+ years. [I loved] the connections and interactions with the communities… And they all seemed to really enjoy meeting us too.”
The ride also generated funds for local non-profit organizations. Riders and volunteers contributed over $3,000 to benefit groups like the Orono Fuel Assistance Program, the Foxcroft Academy Football Team, Blue Hill’s The Simmering Pot, the Maine Sea Coast Mission, and Bangor YMCA’s Camp Jordan.
Along with the 251 riders, 33 weeklong volunteers, more than 250 local community day volunteers, and 7 Bicycle Coalition of Maine staff members participated in the event.
The volunteer Ride Committee is already planning for the 2014 BikeMaine ride, which is slated for September 6-13. Next year’s ride will explore a different region of Maine and will be capped at 350 riders. The 2014 route will be announced in February.
L.L.Bean and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine are founding sponsors of BikeMaine and are joined by a dozen other companies who sponsored the inaugural ride. In addition, seven non-profit organizations partnered with BikeMaine in brining the event to fruition.
BikeMaine is the latest and most ambitious undertaking of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. In addition to promoting and celebrating safe cycling events and pedestrian initiatives, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine acts as the statewide voice of cyclists and a repository of bike-related information. Since 1992, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has led the effort to make Maine better for bicycling by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists through education, advocacy, legislation and encouragement. The Coalition supports biking for health, transportation, recreation and fun.
Registration for BIkeMaine 2014 is already underway at bikemaine.org. Volunteers can sign up to support the ride by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information on BikeMaine, photos of the ride and more please visit the BikeMaine website at ride.bikemaine.org.