Rangeley was a three-day layover town for the 2017 BikeMaine event Sept. 12-14. 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.

“BikeMaine is a very organized group of people and they have been a pleasure to host. Their presence has opened our eyes to the benefits of bicycle tourism in Maine while reinforcing the strong sense of community that exists in Rangeley,” said Joe Roach, director of public services for the Town of Rangeley, according to a release from the town.

The Rangeley Town Park was transformed into the BikeMaine Village, where 400 riders and 75 support staff set up hundreds of tents with a lakeside view.

The cyclists explored the region via kayaks, seaplane, pontoon boat, shuttle buses, on foot and even by bicycle on their day of rest. They enjoyed area museums, shops and restaurants, tried their hand at fly-casting and trap and skeet hosted by the Rangeley Region Guides & Sportsmen’s Association, took in the views at Height of Land and many hiked up Bald Mountain. There were art shows, massage therapy, yoga and Qi Gong programs at the Rangeley Public Library and performances at the RFA’s Lakeside Theater. After dinner at the Church of the Good Shepherd, they visited a beer garden and listened to the The Mallett Brothers Band perform at Parkside & Main. The evening ended with a fireworks display sponsored by Koob’s Garage, Parkside & Main, Sarge’s Sports Pub & Grub, Rangeley IGA and Burgess Construction & Property Maintenance. After breakfast, hosted by the Rangeley Rotary, the cyclists headed off, just as the early morning fog was beginning to lift.

Karen A. Ogulnick, executive director of the Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce, stated that the entire community came together to prepare for the event and she was very pleased to hear firsthand all of the positive feedback from the BikeMaine cyclists, according to the release.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to be the 2017 layover town and host the BikeMaine visitors. Our goal was to showcase not only the natural beauty of the region, but also all of the activities available, the shops, restaurants and accommodations and, most importantly, the warm hospitality of the people. By all accounts, working together with the Town of Rangeley and many dedicated volunteers, we succeeded in achieving that goal — and then some. A true testament to everyone and every business and non-profit organization here,” said Ogulnick, according to the release.

Zach Schmesser, event director for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, runs the event and was happy with the group’s stay in Rangeley.

“We were thrilled and thoroughly impressed with Rangeley’s efforts as this year’s layover community. From the moment riders arrived in town until they left, members of the community were enthusiastic to see riders and made them feel welcome. It was great to see all of the businesses in Rangeley work together to make this a wonderful event. We are very appreciative of the leadership provided by Joe Roach and Karen Ogulnick; the 2018 BikeMaine layover community has big shoes to fill. Thanks to numerous volunteers who helped to provide such a fantastic experience,” said Schmesser, shortly after departing Rangeley for the next stop in Hartford on the fifth of their seven-day “Pathway to the Peaks” 2017 ride, according to the release.

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