AUGUSTA — One of the “50 things to do before I’m 50” that Eileen Johnson of Bowdoin wanted to do was to complete a 50-mile bicycle ride. Johnson will have her chance just a few weeks before her 50th birthday when she rides in the Tenth Annual Women’s Ride on June 5 in Freeport.
Sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, the Women’s Ride attracts everyone from triathletes in training to new cyclists completing their first group ride. Four distance options, from 5 to 50 miles, all have beautiful views of the coast, rest stops and support vehicles.
“I really love the fact that there are all ages of girls and women that ride and there are opportunities for all levels of riders to participate,” Johnson said in a Coalition press release.
She tries to bicycle at least once a week, and she commutes by bike to her job at Bowdoin College whenever her schedule allows. “It is a great way to start the day,” she said.
She’s recruited her 19-year-old daughter, Kristina, to join her on the Women’s Ride. When Johnson called Kristina at college earlier this spring, she often was on a stationary bike at the gym. She’d say, “I’m training for your bike ride, Mom!”
The Women’s Ride starts and ends at L.L. Bean’s Casco Conference Center on Casco Street in Freeport. Staggered start times begin at 8 a.m.
At the ride’s conclusion, participants can get free massages, participate in yoga and listen to the Blueberry Pancakes steel drum band. A celebration at Gritty’s Freeport will feature free food and a raffle drawing. Participants will receive gift bags with treats and special discounts at Freeport stores on the day of the ride.
Registration costs $35 (members) and $45 (public rate, including a six-month trial membership in the Bicycle Coalition of Maine), with a $10 discount for girls 12-17 years and seniors (over 65). Girls 11 and under ride free. All proceeds benefit the coalition’s work to improve bicycling in Maine.
Ride sponsors are L.L. Bean, Hannaford, Gritty’s Freeport, Terry Bicycles, Athlete’s Touch, Woman Tours, Freeport Ski and Bike, HealthSource Chiropractic and Progressive Rehab, Comfort Suites Freeport, Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute, Delorme and Bath Savings Institution.
Johnson says her favorite part of the ride is getting outside with other women to have fun while exercising. For more information, a video about the ride and online registration, visit www.BikeMaine.org or call (207) 623-4511.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has been working since 1992 to make Maine a better place to bicycle. The coalition advocates for Maine cyclists at the Legislature and in Washington, D.C., teaches bicycle safety to thousands of Maine schoolchildren each year, partners with state agencies on a Share the Road media campaign and serves as a resource on local bicycling issues.