Founded in 2012, BikeMaine was organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, an advocacy group that has led the effort to make Maine better for biking and walking since 1992. BikeMaine was founded to promote Maine as a bicycling destination and to use cycling as an economic development tool for local communities. Proceeds from the event support BikeMaine host communities and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s cycling and pedestrian initiatives.
Following the completion of BikeMaine’s three-year start-up phase, BikeMaine awarded its first grant in support of biking infrastructure to the City of Gardner, BikeMaine 2014 host community, in 2016. Gardiner is using the $12,300 grant to attract matching funds to complete a connector trail from its downtown to the Kennebec River Trail. The second round of grants were awarded in 2017: $2,705 to Bath (2014 Host Community) and $4,000 to Washington County Council of Governments (2016 Region).
Bath used the funding to construct a “pump” track in a vacant lot between Bath Middle School and the Bath Skate Park. A “pump” track is a small, looping course of banked turns and other features, designed to be ridden without pedaling. Instead, riders gain momentum by “pumping” with up and down movements on the bicycle. The track has been equipped with 30 high-quality bicycles and helmets, as well as tools and supplies for maintenance.
Washington County Council of Governments is using the funding to place public bicycle repair tool kits at automobile service stations along the Bold Coast Scenic Bikeway, a new, world-class, 300-mile, bicycle route that winds through 30 communities from the Schoodic Peninsula to Eastport, and connects via the East Coast Greenway and US Bicycle Route 1 to Calais and the Canadian Maritimes.