OLD TOWN, Maine — The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has chosen its route for the 7th annual BikeMaine event.
During a kickoff party at the University of Maine held Saturday, the coalition revealed this year’s route — which will feature a tour called the Katahdin Frontier. Cyclists will get to explore the Katahdin region and spend several nights camping out in the nearby communities along the way.
The coalition selected five communities to serve as host sites for the tour with the loop route starting and finishing in Old Town. Cyclists will spend the first night in Binette Park — along the Penobscot River — then move on to Lincoln, Patten, Millinocket and Dover-Foxcroft.
The trip will also include a loop ride through Monson, according to a press release from the organization on Wednesday. The week-long bike tour will begin Saturday, Sept. 12, and conclude Saturday, Sept. 19.
Established in 1992 by a small group of cyclists, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine is a non-profit group that works to improve bike and pedestrian safety across the state.
In the past, the annual event has been used to help boost the economy of each community the riders visit. The organization chooses host sites that are capable and eager to host the 450 cyclists and another 100 volunteers, said Eliza Cress, communications and development manager for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.
“It’s a comprehensive process to figure out which towns were capable of hosting,” she said.
Throughout the week, all the money that cyclists spend during their trip goes right back into the region.
Since BikeMaine began in 2013, it has brought riders through seven different and diverse regions of the state. Over the last seven years, the event’s annual economic impact has gone from $235,000 to $906,000 and has had a positive impact on communities from Caribou to Kennebunk, the release stated.
The vast majority of cyclists will camp out in Old Town for the first night, close to downtown, where riders and volunteers can get a taste of the local flavor and meet the community, Cress said.
“We are both lucky and grateful to be working with these wonderful communities in the Katahdin Region,” ride director Will Elting, said in Wednesday’s release.
“It really does come down to which communities are excited to host 450 riders … We’re so grateful that people are willing to host us,” said Cress.
People can visit bikemaine.org for information on the BikeMaine 2020 event.