Thursday August 23, 2012 | 08:03 AM
It may seem like the days for riding in organized, benefit rides are waning, but don't forget about the great opportunities coming up in September. That's when the riding weather gets a little cooler and the routes get a little more scenic.

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The Saturday, Sept. 8 Maine Lighthouse Ride, sponsored by the Eastern Trail Alliance, offers the chance to see nine Maine lighthouses on a century route, eight on 62- or 40-mile rides and seven on a 25-mile shortie.

According to some of the comments Carole Brush, executive director of the ETA, has received, riders sign up for the ride for the great scenery, the views of the water, the route variety and the chili. "There's hot food at the end," Brush said.

All rides begin at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland and head out toward Bug Light Park. More lighthouses are visible at toward the end of the ride than at the beginning. The courses were designed that way for rider safety and "something to look forward to at the end," Brush said.

The 100-mile route takes cyclists all the way down to Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport and shows off Ram Island Ledge Light, Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth Light/Two Lights (east and west), Wood Island Light, Goat Island Light, Spring Point Light and Halfway Rock Light. Organizers suggest setting aside seven to 10 hours, which should allow riders to take advantage of the views and the five rest stops along the way.

The 62-mile metric century turns around at Camp Ellis and should take six to seven hours, while the 40-mile ride includes a 3-mile section of the Eastern Trail across Scarborough Marsh and should take about four to five hours. The 25-mile ride sticks to South Portland and Cape Elizabeth.

The Maine Lighthouse Ride, now in its ninth year, begins at 7:30 a.m. (100-mile route). Fees are $40 for ETA members and $50 for nonmembers before Sept. 1; $50 and $60 on the day of the event.

The ride was created by ETA Vice President Bob Bowker. Seven-hundred riders participated last year. According to Brush, the funds raised will benefit "the growth of the Eastern Trail and the continued development of its off-road sections."

About the Author

Karen Beaudoin lives in Portland and is the web editor for PressHerald.com.

Her Pedal On blog offers info, events and advice for people who love their bikes more than, well ... almost anything.

Get in touch at kbeaudoin@mainetoday.com

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