Thursday, April 17, 2014
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine this afternoon announced the route for the debut BikeMaine event during a press conference in Bangor. Riders, whether from here or away, won't be disappointed in the 400 miles they'll pedal from Sept. 7-14 along a route that includes Orono, Dover-Foxcroft, Belfast, Castine, Ellsworth and Bar Harbor.
"We had to start somewhere," said Mark Ishkanian, chair of the BikeMaine Ride Committee. "We wanted to build a route that would build momentum quickly for the ride and make people say, "Wow, I really want to ride that route."
Registration for the 2013 event is limited to 350 riders, with half the spots reserved for cyclists from out of state. The cost is $875 per rider and includes 18 meals, beverages, snacks, baggage transport, mechanical and medical support, daily entertainment and a nightly camping site.
"Everyone at BikeMaine is beyond thrilled that two years of planning and countless volunteer hours have led us to the point where we can share the details, reality and scope of BikeMaine with the rest of the state," said Kim True, BikeMaine ride director.
BCM members can begin registering (www.bikemaine.org) at 7 a.m. Feb. 12. Registration for the general public begins at 7 a.m. Feb. 13. The ride is expected to sell out.
"I think the real strong motivation behind BikeMaine is to take people to places they've never been, whether we're talking about residents of Maine or out-of-staters," Ishkanian said. "We fully expect to truly go off the beaten tourist path each year for at least some of the days."
Riders will start and finish in Orono. The 70 miles of pedaling for Day 1 will bring the group to Dover-Foxcroft. Day 3 offers the longest mileage as it winds from Belfast out around Blue Hill and into Castine at 73 miles. Riders will have a rest day (Day 5) in Bar Harbor.
"Over the years, BikeMaine will explore every corner of Maine and involve many Maine towns as host communities to welcome riders," the Maine Office of Tourism's Phil Savignano said in a press release. "This is a real winner for Maine."
The debut route has a cumulative elevation of 24,000 feet and is not a ride for beginners.
Ishkanian describes it as challenging, but the route shouldn't be overwhelming for riders who have trained well through the summer. He emphasized that this event is for experienced riders who are comfortable changing their own tire on the side of the road and who can get back on the bike day after day.
"There will be hills," he said, "not like the hills you experience in the Rockies, but enough of them that you know you rode them at the end of the day."
BikeMaine is modeled after CycleOregon, now in its 25th year. That event annually sells out its 2,200 spots. BikeMaine hopes to also grow its numbers into the thousands and to eventually give back 60 percent of its proceeds to its host communities.