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June 26, 2018

Aroostook County to reap economic benefits from BikeMaine ride

Photo / Maureen Milliken
Photo / Maureen Milliken
BikeMaine Village at Manson Park in Pittsfield in September, one of the host communities of 2017's event. The 10-day yearly bike trek has added $2.3 million to the state's economy since 2013, organizers said. This year's venue will be Aroostook County.

BikeMaine's annual ride, slated this September for Aroostook County, is expected to inject hundreds of thousands of dollars into local communities.

The County reported that MaryBeth Luce, BikeMaine ride director, told the Northern Maine Development Commission on June 21 that cyclists will "spend their days shopping and eating at local businesses and restaurants and many of them have already made their own hotel arrangements instead of staying at the campsites, which will provide even greater economic benefits to host communities."

On the BikeMaine website, Luce said Aroostook County stood out as a region to showcase to hold the 320-mile trek this year. The ride, scheduled for Sept. 8-15, is sold out at its cap of 450 riders. The route will take riders through Presque Isle, Caribou, Madawaska, Fort Kent and St. Agatha. BikeMaine is an event offered by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, a nonprofit membership organization with more than 5,000 members working to make Maine better through biking and walking.

The direct economic impact of the 2017 BikeMaine ride — which went through Franklin and Somerset counties and included stay-overs in Skowhegan, Pittsfield, Kingfield, Rangeley, Hartford and Farmington – was $660,000, bringing the event's five-year total to more than $2.3 million. BikeMaine spent $262,000 to bring the ride to central Maine and the event's 400 riders spent $398,000, not including the registration fees, according to a report released by event organizers.

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