AUGUSTA, Maine — Austin Watts figures he has earned a spot in an elite group — those cyclists who have participated in the Maine Lobster Ride & Roll since its inception a decade ago.
Watts, a self-employed engineer from Bowdoin, will return to Rockland on July 23 to bike in the 10th annual event, sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. He grew up in the area and enjoys biking by three of the streets where he lived as a child. He also rides to support the coalition’s work to improve bicycling in Maine.
The Maine Lobster Ride features some of the best scenery in Midcoast Maine, including lakes, harbors and lighthouses. The ride has four distance options — 16, 30, 50 and 100 miles — suited to riders of all abilities. All routes start and end at Oceanside High School (formerly Rockland High School), and all have rest stops and support vehicles. Participants are served a freshly made lobster roll lunch (hotdogs, tuna and veggie options also are available) and they can watch a live broadcast of the Tour de France.
Watts has signed up for the Maine Lobster Ride’s century route. “There is nothing like seeing the odometer turn over 100 miles,” he says. “No matter how many times I do it, powering myself 100 miles in a day still feels the same. It is my fountain of youth.”
As for the ride’s terrain, Watts subscribes to the philosophy that “there are no hills, only slow places in the road.”
Those who register for the ride by July 16 pay $85, with a $20 discount for coalition members. Rates for children ages 12-17 are $25, and those under 12 ride free. Participants will receive Maine Lobster Ride socks. For online registration, a video about the ride and more information, visit www.BikeMaine.org or call (207) 623-4511.
The Maine Lobster Ride & Roll raises money for the Bicycle Coalition, a statewide organization that teaches bicycle safety and works to improve bicycling conditions. The Bicycle Coalition has helped Maine become the second most bicycle-friendly state in the country, according to the League of American Bicyclists.
Major sponsors of the 10th Annual Maine Lobster Ride are L.L. Bean, Hannaford and the Maine Lobster Festival. Other sponsors include ReVision Energy, K.J. Edward Knight, Auclair Cycle & Ski, DeLorme, Bikesenjava and Maine Sport Outfitters.