The inaugural Climate Ride Northeast, a 320-mile journey from Bar Harbor to Boston, will be held Sept. 17-21, and registration is still open. The five-day ride is expected to raise $400,000 to support organizations throughout the country that are involved in environmental causes and cycling advocacy.

Starting in Bar Harbor, up to 200 cyclists will pedal along the New England coast, stopping at small towns and landmarks along the way for talks on a wide range of issues.

“We’ll discuss national parks, preservation and conservation, sustainable cities, and how transportation and bikes play a role in that,” said Caeli Quinn, co-founder of Climate Ride. “We’ll discuss how climate change has started to affect our health and the vitality of economy.”

Founded in 2008, Climate Ride is a nonprofit organization that organizes charitable multi-day bike rides and hikes throughout the United States to raise awareness and support sustainability, active transportation and environmental causes.

This is the first time Maine has been included in a Climate Ride biking route.

“We really work to connect people to the American landscape, to places that are so vital to protect,” Quinn said. “There were a lot of people who expressed an interest in a ride in the northeast, and we wanted to highlight a beautiful national park, so we’ll be starting the ride in Acadia.”

Climate Ride events raise funds for more than 100 beneficiaries, organizations involved in conservation, sustainability, cycling advocacy and more. And this year, for the first time, a number of Maine organizations have been added to that list, including the Bangor Land Trust, Bicycle Coalition of Maine, Maine Farmland Trust and Conservation Media Group of Camden.

“I registered because I wanted to make a difference with these Maine organizations,” said Tim Godaire, 24, a graduate student at the University of Maine Climate Change Institute in Orono.

Through social media and letters to families and friends, Godaire has already raised the required $2,800 to participate in the ride, an amount that all riders must raise by Sept. 11.

“As a student studying climate science, I’m aware of the urgency and need for climate action, community awareness, and alternative sources of energy and transportation,” said Godaire. “Participating in the Climate Ride Northeast allows me to raise funds for organizations that address these particular issues within my local community and on a national scale.”

Each rider chooses up to five organizations from the Climate Ride beneficiary list to direct their fundraising proceeds. Godaire chose the Bangor Land Trust, Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which opened a chapter in Bangor last September.

Of the funds Godaire raises, 15-20 percent goes to support Climate Ride programs; 30 percent goes to the cost of the ride; and 50-55 percent go directly to the designated benefiting the beneficiaries in the form of an unrestricted grant, according to the Climate Ride website. Grants will be issued at the end of December.

“I’m looking forward to meeting all the other riders,” Godaire said. “I think it’s a special group of people who are that committed to do this, have the drive to do this.”

At the Climate Change Institute, a research unit known internationally for its work on climate-related issues, Godaire is a part of a team researching the glaciers of Denali National Park in Alaska. The team is using satellite imagery and ice cores to track changes in the glacier over time and uncover a long-term record of climate in the region.

“I do most of my work in the office, and I felt like I needed to do more,” Godaire said. “I came to this realization that scientists as a whole need to do more to educate others.

“The challenge for me will be the actual ride,” he added, explaining that he is more experienced in long-distance running, not cycling.

Each Climate Ride is fully supported with meals, snacks, bike support, luggage transport and all of the logistical details of the trip. Participants are given route options for different mileages each day, but all end up at the same locations to rest each night.

“It’s a long ride, but it’s absolutely doable,” said Joshua Denk, 43, of Westbrook, a veteran Climate Ride participant who is registered for the Northeast ride. “You have a lot of support, a lot of friendly riders along with you to make sure you get there.”

Denk, an instructional designer who works from home, has long found bicycling to be a form of exercise that best suits him. He also is concerned about climate change and the future of the Earth.

“Last year was the warmest year on record, and the warming is affecting the health of our planet, economy and communities,” said Denk. “I’m incredibly frustrated with the lack of urgency and public consensus around climate change.”

Denk learned about Climate Ride from a podcast he was listening to a few years ago, and he thought it was a perfect opportunity for him to make a difference. He trained, fundraised and successfully completed the 2013 Climate Ride from New York to Washington, D.C.

“It’s just a great opportunity,” Denk said. “The Climate Ride folks give a real effort to get you into the communities that you’re passing through. They take a lot of time to find the right route, with good places to stop and local businesses to support.”

By Wednesday morning, Denk had raised $1,540 of the $2,800 needed to participate in the Northeast ride.

“I’m combining my passion for cycling with my passion for leaving the best possible planet for my children — that’s what motivates me,” said Denk, who chose to support two of Climate Ride’s 2015 beneficiaries: and the National Parks Conservation Association. “I feel an obligation to do what I can for my two daughters and everyone else.”

Other Climate Ride events planned for this year are Climate Ride California and Climate Ride Midwest, as well as Climate Hikes in Glacier National Park in Montana and Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park in Utah.

The Northeast Climate Ride itinerary:

— Day 1: Bar Harbor, Maine-Hope, Maine (62 or 79 miles)

— Day 2: Hope, Maine-Jefferson, Maine (52 or 72 miles)

— Day 3: Jefferson, Maine-Ocean Park, Maine (56, 74 or 100 miles)

— Day 4: Ocean Park, Maine-Amesbury, Massachusetts (56 or 76 miles)

— Day 5: Amesbury, Massachusetts-Boston, Massachusetts (64 miles)

To register for the Northeast Climate Ride or to donate to a cyclist, visit or call 406-552-0708. Participants can enter the discount code “climateride2015” for $25 off their registration fee of $100.

Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...