ROCKLAND, Maine - Nearly 800 bicyclists from across the United States and Canada will participate in the Seventh annual Maine Lobster Ride & Roll sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine on Saturday, July 26.
“This is the only bicycle ride in the world, where riders are given a Maine lobster roll at the finish line,” said ride organizer and founder, Joel Fishman of Rockland.
The coalition is an advocacy group working for bicyclists’ rights and bike safety, he said.
“We teach safety,” he said. “We have in the past eight years taught bicycle safety to over 85,000 elementary school students,” he said.
The event offers four varying routes beginning and ending at Rockland District High School.
A 100-mile ride, or Century Ride, will be held for long-distance riders.
“There’ s also a 50-mile ride, a 30-mile ride, and a 16-mile ride,” he said. “We offer something for everyone.”
Fishman has given each distance a nickname, beginning with “Lobster Haul” for the 100-mile ride, “Lobster Ride” for the 50-miler, “Lobster Cruise” for the 30-miler and “Lobster Ramble” for the 16-miler.
“Everyone gets a lobster roll at the finish, a pair of bicycle socks bearing a lobster image, and a Lobster Ride water bottle,” he said.
Fishman said he got the idea for the Ride in 2000, after riding in Bike New York.
“When I got back to Maine, I discussed it with Jeff Miller, who at the time was the executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine,” Fishman said. “I suggested that we come up with something like Bike New York around here.”
In an attempt to make the event appealing, Fishman and Miller came up with a Lobster Ride with a lobster roll at the finish for all participants.
“One of our sponsors is the Lobster Festival, and we work closely with them,” he said.
The first ride drew 45 participants and 150 the second year, he said. The event has grown since then.
Last year, 625 people rode. They came from 22 states and two Canadian provinces. This year more than 800 riders are expected.
“One is coming from as far away as Italy,” he said.
The event has attracted national media attention, including Outdoor magazine, which called the Century Ride one of the most scenic 100-mile bike rides in the United States, he said.
Although advance registrations have been cut off, it is still possible to register on the day of the event.
The coalition will accept registrations at 7 a.m. Saturday at Rockland District High School. Fees are $65 for coalition members and $75 for noncoalition members.
Starts will be staggered, with the 100-mile ride starting at 8 a.m., followed by the 50-miler at 8:30 a.m., the 30-miler at 9 a.m. and the 16-miler at 9:30 a.m.
Anyone seeking information may call the coalition office at 623-4511 or visit the Web site at www.bikemaine.org.