ROCKLAND, Maine — Between the stunning scenery and the juicy lobster rolls, cyclists are in for a treat next weekend, said Joel Fishman of Rockland.
He founded the Maine Lobster Ride & Roll eight years ago and promises that this year’s fundraising ride for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will be unforgettable for the hundreds of participants expected to hop aboard their bikes next Saturday and pedal around the midcoast.
“This ride is really unique,” Fishman said. “We ride around and past cliffs, lakes, mountains, the ocean, harbors and lighthouses. It really is gorgeous … and we’re the only ride in the world where, at the conclusion, you’re given a freshly made lobster roll.”
Last summer the event attracted 800 people from 24 states and two Canadian provinces, Fishman said. Participants don’t have to be die-hard cyclists to take part, either: There are four distance options ranging from 16 to 100 miles, all of which begin and end at Rockland District High School.
The event is the largest fundraiser for the coalition, which works to educate Mainers about bike safety and Share the Road laws while advocating for more bike facilities and access, according to the coalition.
Fishman said he is a certified safety instructor, and volunteers his time teaching bike safety in the state. It’s a labor of love for Fishman, who said he started riding just 13 years ago, when he was 49.
“That first summer, my weight, my blood pressure, my cholesterol all came way down,” he said, adding that his doctor hopped on a bike himself after watching his patient’s transformation. “I’m just an average guy. If I can do this, anybody can do this — with the proper training. I love the challenge. I love getting out on the bike and pushing myself.”
For would-be riders who want to make sure they won’t be on their own for dozens of miles in the midcoast, Fishman is reassuring. Helmets are mandatory, a police escort will ride with the cyclists for a while, and he will give a safety talk about the course, hand signals and proper helmet usage.
“It’s a great day,” he said. “We get rave reviews from everybody.”
For more information about the Maine Lobster Ride & Roll to be held Saturday, July 25, in Rockland, call 623-4511 or visit www.BikeMaine.org.