SKOWHEGAN — Four hundred bicyclists gathered Saturday afternoon at Fairgrounds Market Place for the first night in BikeMaine Village before beginning an estimated 355-mile trek through the central and western parts of the state for the fifth annual BikeMaine.

Skowhegan was selected as the host community for this year’s BikeMaine, which drew riders from five countries and 35 U.S. states. Businesses throughout downtown posted signs in their shop windows reading “Welcome BikeMaine” in anticipation of the event, which has been known to boost local economies.

Peter Jameson, of Bathurst, New Brunswick, arrived at the fairgrounds for his fifth BikeMaine. He’s one of 23 people who have come back to the event each year.

“It’s a well-organized trip. It’s a good value. You meet lots of good people,” Jameson said.

The first night riders will stay in Skowhegan and enjoy a lobster dinner after check-in, served by the local Rotary Club and followed by live entertainment.

Riders will embark on their journey Sunday morning

Madeline St. Amour can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: madelinestamour