July 22, 2012

Pedal On: Bicycle coalition planning cross-state ride for next fall

By Karen Beaudoin kbeaudoin@mainetoday.com
Online Editor

(Continued from page 1)

BCM EVENTS

Current Bicycle Coalition of Maine events:

Great Maine Bike Swap, Orono & Portland: A total of 2,896 attended the April 2012 events, with 946 bikes and bike parts sold.

Maine Women's Ride, Freeport: A total of 500 riders participated in route distances of 5, 15, 25 and 50 miles during the June event.

Maine Lobster Ride & Roll, Rockland: The 11th annual event took place Saturday with approximately 1,000 riders tackling distances of 16, 30, 50 and 100 miles. The Lobster Ride century was picked as one of the top 10 in the country by Bicycling Magazine.

AND THERE'S A BLOG

READ Karen Beaudoin's Pedal On blog.

"Part of it is the challenge of having that kind of a goal," Ishkanian said of his Cycle Oregon experience. "Having an event at the end of the summer, I had to continually train for helped me get out more."

BCM is working with grants from the Betterment Fund, Horizon Foundation, the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation and the Maine Office of Tourism to get the event rolling. The goal for year one is 350 riders, and neither Grant nor Ishkanian think that will be difficult to reach.

The toughest part will be the next 14 months of organizing. Beyond the route and registration, there is also the logistics of transporting luggage for 350 riders, camping areas, volunteers, food and much more to think about. CycleOregon has matured to a level where it gets 400 volunteers, communities open up their football fields for camping, four tractor trailer trucks are used to transport gear, high school students schlepp luggage for tips, and the organization provides tents for half of its riders.

BikeMaine riders will have to provide their own tents and gear, at least for the first two years. By Year 3, the hope is that upping the number to 750 participants will allow the ride to be self-supporting and for BCM to split excess revenues with host communities for local pedestrian and bicycle projects.

"It will be our biggest event," Grant said, "and we hope to make it absolutely a signature event."

And when they finally see BikeMaine become a reality, with hundreds of cyclists pedaling away from the start on Day 1, members of the ride committee will likely feel much the way Ishkanian describes the end of a perfect ride in Oregon: "It's a sense of accomplishment, it's fun to do, and it's fun to be with a group of people at a table in the beer tent talking about the ride."

Karen Beaudoin can be contacted at 791-6296 or at:

kbeaudoin@mainetoday.com

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