Starting about 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 10, some 260 hungry, tired cyclists descended upon the parking lot of the Second Congregational Church for lunch. And the Twin Village community was ready for them, thanks to months of planning, organizing and the generosity of many area businesses and individuals.
The riders responded with good cheer and appreciation for the lunch. By 2 p.m., they were all fed, rested and off to Boothbay Harbor, their next port-of-call. The weather was ideal, with temps in the high 60s and partly cloudy skies.
The cyclists had arrived mounted on a full range of bicycles, from traditional tour bikes, hyper-lightweight racers, and bikes built for two, to more exotic stand-up, sit-down, and reclining models. The riders were dressed in an assortment of high-visibility shirts, shorts, custom shoes, helmets, eye-wear and biking gizmos. A U-Haul van and a ready crew awaited to assist any riders in need of a tire change, gear adjustment or other mechanical assistance.
The BikeMaine “2014 Peddling the Waterways” tour (http://ride.bikemaine.org) was conducted between Sept. 6-13, and included more than 100 riders from Maine and 160 more from around the nation and the world, ranging in age from late teens to 40- to 70-somethings.
BikeMaine is an organization that intentionally designs their rides to showcase and put money back into the communities involved. BikeMaine pays $10 per head for its riders and 20 volunteers for a nutritious luncheon made from locally sourced ingredients.
Second Congo’s Christian Outreach Committee accepted the challenge to feed this crowd so that it, in turn, can put the earnings to work supporting its partner community organizations, such as the Community Energy Fund of Lincoln County, CHIP, Inc., and Tedford Housing.
Second Congo’s team worked closely with BikeMaine’s food director to plan a healthy, attractive menu for the riders at the midway point of their day’s ride. BikeMaine also provided $500 to offset any costs associated with using the church, and provided portable toilets and sinks, and arranged for trash pick-up.
The event owes its success to a joint effort between the church and the community. The church’s Christian Outreach Committee worked closely with church-member and Chef-in-Command Bill Howlett, a veteran of innumerable church barbecues, pot-luck dinners and other church events where organizing materials and personnel are essential. Sourcing local foods took place over the summer, and the bulk of the work was completed in the days just before the event.
Each rider was given a choice of healthy food, including vegetable plates, apples, a selection of soups (butternut bisque, clam chowder, chicken), as well as ham and cheese or chicken salad sandwiches, plus desserts, including carrot cake and peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, cider and water. Riders ate in the church’s Fellowship Hall and outside on tables overlooking the scenic Damariscotta River.
Local vendors provided the bulk of the food required, including 44 loaves of bread from Borealis Breads (Waldoboro), 12 pounds of butter from Kate’s Homemade Butter (Arundel), 10 dozen ears of sweet corn from County Fair Farm (Jefferson), 50 pounds of potatoes from Clark Farms (Damariscotta), 100 pounds of apples from Biscay Orchards (Damariscotta), and an unknown amount of butternut squash from Beth’s Farm Market (Warren). Hannaford supplied cider at a discount.
“The event was a great opportunity to showcase our community while raising money to support vital programs,” said Ann Tischbein, chair of the Christian Outreach Committee. “We couldn’t have succeeded without the generous suppliers of food and other support from the community. Thank you, everyone!”