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November 14, 2017

2017 BikeMaine added $660K to state's economy

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

The direct economic impact of the 2017 BikeMaine event in Maine was $660,000, organizers said this week, bringing the event's five-year total to more than $2.3 million.

BikeMaine, organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, 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.

The 10-day bike trek has added $2.36 million to the state's economy since its first year in 2013, the coalition reported.

This year's ride, Sept. 9-16, featured 335 miles of biking in Franklin and Somerset counties, and included stayovers in Skowhegan, Pittsfield, Kingfield, Rangeley (for two nights), Hartford and Farmington. Each year's trek is in a different region of the state and resources required for riders are Maine-sourced and bought within host communities or businesses along the route whenever possible.

The organization spends money on food, lodging, community relations, fees, local purchases, vehicle rentals, mobile showers, fuel and other rider support. BikeMaine served 10,500 meals during the week, and 75% of the food was bought within 75 miles of the event, according to the report.

Rider expenditures included lodging, food/beverage, transportation, retail shopping and recreation. At each stopover, local vendors and artists were also invited to sell their wares.

Organizers said that the top comment among participants responding to a survey was how friendly the host communities were.

One comment provided by the organization was, "It is such a great feeling to feel wanted. I come from an area with much more car traffic and local businesses sometimes couldn't care less you are stopping and spending your money in their business. Maine is open for bicyclists and they let you know it!"

Other numbers from this year's event:

  • Of its 400 riders, 160 were from Maine, and the rest were from 40 other states, provinces and countries;
  • 233 of the riders were male; 167 were female;
  • 145 were returning riders;
  • Age of riders ranged from 17 to 79, with an average age of 50.

After this year's event, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine awarded grants to Washington County and Bath, of $4,000 and $2,750 respectively, for bicycle-related improvements. In the first round of grants, in 2015, Gardiner was awarded $12,300 to be used to spur local investment to complete a connector from downtown Gardiner to the Kennebec River Rail Trail.

Next year's BikeMaine will be Sept. 8-15 in the St. John Valley of Aroostook County. Specifics of the route, including which communities will host the trek will be released in February.

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