Pedal the Penobscot, the Bangor Land Trust’s seventh annual bike ride fundraiser, is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 8, and bicyclists of all abilities are already registering for the big event.
The road ride will begin at the Bangor Waterfront and end with a celebratory barbecue on the outdoor patio of the Sea Dog Brewing Co. restaurant.
As in past years, bicyclists may choose from fully supported rides of 14 miles, 28 miles, 50 miles, 76 miles and 100 miles. The 50-mile route was added this year in response to several requests from local bicyclists.
“Biking is an important mode of alternate transportation,” said BLT president Lucy Quimby. “It all goes along with promoting a healthy lifestyle.”
Pre-registration runs through Sept. 4, and is $45 for individuals, $35 for team members and $20 for students. After Sept. 4, the cost jumps to $50 for individuals and team members but remains at $20 for students (as many are just returning to school).
The first 150 registrants will receive a 2013 Pedal the Penobscot T-shirt, and all riders will be entered to win a variety prizes donated by local businesses and organizations. Riders will also receive an annual BLT membership.
“We’re finding many people don’t know about [BLT],” said Quimby. “This is one of the ways we really get our name out.”
BLT is a local nonprofit organization that currently owns and conserves 700 acres of land with public access in the Bangor area, including Walden-Parke Preserve and Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve, both of which contain trails that are free to use. And on Aug. 13, BLT officially opened a new 1.5-mile loop trail on the Central Penjajawoc Preserve, which the trust purchased in 2010.
Founded in 2001, BLT hosts monthly community events on its preserves, such as nature walks and talks. Their mission is “to protect for public benefit land and water in the Bangor region that have special ecological, natural, scenic, agricultural or recreational significance.
“We really see what we’re doing as something that enhances the viability of our community,” said Quimby. “It makes Bangor attractive to an energetic group of people and contributes to our economic viability — I think we’re one of Bangor’s selling points.”
Pedal the Penobscot is a major fundraiser for the trust. Money raised from the event will go toward trail maintenance, land acquisition fees, stewardship monitoring of the trust’s preserves, outdoor educational programming and the trust’s overall operational costs.
“Everything we do as an organization is dependant on people giving us money, so fundraising is really important,” Quimby said.
Participation in the road ride has grown annually since it began in 2007. Some participants ride in teams (at least five people), taking the opportunity to show community spirit and advertise their business or organization on team shirts.
“Gather a group of friends, promote your company or make it a family reunion and distinguish yourself to win a prize,” BLT suggests in this year’s Pedal the Penobscot flyer.
Each year, a group of volunteers work to make the ride run smoothly. Support and gear wagons circulate during the entire ride, offering assistance to the riders. Last year, 45 volunteers, including radio operators from Pine Tree Radio Club, helped with the event.
“If you’re out there riding and having difficulty, the truck will go by sooner or later,” Quimby said. “It really gives people courage to extend themselves and try something new. It’s kind of scary if you decide to do 28 miles all by yourself. But a ride like this means you’ll have some support.”
Start times are as follows:
— 6:30 a.m., registration opens for the 76- and 100-mile rides.
— 7 a.m., start for 100-mile ride.
— 8 a.m., start for 76-mile ride.
— 8:15 a.m., registration opens for 14-, 28- and 50-mile rides.
— 9 a.m., start for 50-mile ride.
— 10 a.m., start for 14- and 28-mile ride.
To register for the ride, call 942-1010 or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bangorlandtrust.org, where a map and itinerary for each route is available. Participants may also register on the day of the ride. Riders must wear helmets and obey all traffic laws.
To sign up as a volunteer or learn more about the ride, call 942-1010 or email email@example.com. Volunteers help with tasks of all types, including staffing registration and rest stops and directing riders on the route.
BLT is always looking for more event volunteers and sponsors. To learn about the benefits of sponsors, call BLT office manager Donne Sinderson at 942-1010.