Bridgton to host BikeMaine Tour campover

Kim True, BikeMaine Ride Director, told Bridgton Selectmen Tuesday of the group’s plans to camp overnight in downtown Bridgton next September as part of their week-long statewide tour. (Geraghty Photo)

Kim True, BikeMaine Ride Director, told Bridgton Selectmen Tuesday of the group’s plans to camp overnight in downtown Bridgton next September as part of their week-long statewide tour.
(Geraghty Photo)

By Gail Geraghty
Staff Writer
Bridgton Selectmen are psyched that the town will have the chance to showcase itself next September, when nearly 400 bicyclists will camp overnight beside the Bridgton Community Center during the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s BikeMaine 2015 tour.
“I’ve been waiting a long time for something like this to happen — it’s great news,” Selectman Ken Murphy said Tuesday during a presentation by BikeMaine Ride Director Kim True.
Around 350 bicyclists and 50 volunteers will bring tents, banners, porta-potties and signage to the land around the Community Center and across from Skillins Circle the night of Monday, Sept. 14. True came to the meeting to request permission for the 5,000-member-strong statewide organization to use the town property Sept. 14-15, 2015.
The board enthusiastically granted their permission, and were quick to suggest local organizations and businesses that would be more than happy to provide meals, activities and support services during the visit.
The Bridgton stopover is part of a week-long mass bicycle ride exploring around 350 miles of inland and coastal regions of the state. Each night, riders stay in a different host community, and the Coalition pays $4,000 to a local service organization to put on two dinners. Another $1,000 is contributed for evening entertainment that is open to the public, and $2,000 is given to the town to offset expenses for hosting the stopover.
Crews from the Bicycle Coalition will begin arriving early Sept. 14 to set up a mini-tent city, the BikeMaine Village, complete with toilets, gathering, massage and first aid tents, and even a beer/wine garden. The Coalition will provide Maine-grown food in bulk and work with a local service organization to prepare meals designed to showcase “a distinctly Maine culinary experience,” True said. The meals provide a boost for the growers and suppliers of Maine foods, she added.
Along with raising money, the BikeMaine Tour “serves the state’s need for experiential tourism options that promote healthy activity and ways to explore all that Maine has to offer in terms of its unique and diverse people, places, culture and food,” said True.
Last year’s second annual tour drew 258 bicyclists from 34 states and five foreign countries. The age range of the participants was from 25 to 81, with the average age of 58. The event contributed more than $395,000 to the communities along the BikeMaine route.
“Bridgton is a very wonderful town with a very active and alive Main Street,” said True, in explaining why the town was chosen for a BikeMaine Village camping site. She said more details will be forthcoming as of Feb. 4 on the Coalition’s website, wwwbikemaine.org, when full marketing promotion of the 2015 tour begins.

Please follow and like us: