WATERVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The 2nd Annual BikeMaine Ride kicks-off in Westbrook this weekend, with more than 250 cyclists setting out on a 350 mile journey across Maine.
Gi Reed has been preparing for the week-long ride since a snowy day in early February, when she sat down and wrote a letter to her principal explaining why she felt taking part in the ride would benefit not only herself, but her students.
“You know, I’m a recreational cyclist. I grew up riding a bike,” said Mrs. Reed, a fourth grade teacher at the Albert S. Hall School. “When I was my fourth graders’ age, I was on a bicycle riding around, riding to school.”
Over the years, Mrs. Reed has continued to ride, but hasn’t done a week-long ride since she was in college. She says she was motivated to seek permission because she felt the ride, and its dedication to locally-sourced foods dovetailed nicely with the school’s focus on helping students and their family’s eat better and move more.
“Our district really is promoting the ideas of perseverance and grit for not only our students, but our staff as well, to take on a risk and a challenge and to stick with it even when it is hard,” she said.
She admittedly is a little nervous as the ride approaches, but excited, too. She says she is looking forward to bringing her students along with her and teaching lessons from the road.
“I’ll also use this throughout the year in math lessons, science lessons,” explained Mrs. Reed. “I hope to take some soil samples along the way. I hope to take some soil samples along the way.”
Her students had a hard time believing how far she is planning to ride, but have faith that she can reach her goal.
“I think that maybe the long time sitting on the bike and moving her legs will be the hardest part,” stated Lily Ker. “I just want to tell her that this is a great idea and I give her good luck.”
“She’s really independent,” said former student William Place. “She never gives up and she tries her hardest.”
Mrs. Reed thinks sleeping under the stars may be a bigger challenge than biking 50 to 60 miles a day for a week.
“Sleeping in a tent might be tricky. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that,” she said. “I think I’ll be tired at the end of the day, so I don’t think sleeping will be a problem.”
Once again, NEWS CENTER will be following along as the BikeMaine riders make their way across Maine, and will be filing live reports from the field all next week.