BOWDOINHAM — Bike riders of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in the Explore Merrymeeting Bay Bike Tour on July 28, sponsored by Merrymeeting Trailblazers and Maine Farmland Trust. Three free guided bike rides will visit open farms and art studios. Merrymeeting Wheelers, Maine Farmland Trust, and Kennebec Estuary Land Trust will be supporting the rides, according to a news release from the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, based in Bath.

All rides leave from Bowdoinham’s Mailly Waterfront Park. Beginning at 10 a.m., there will be a 35-mile ride through Bowdoinham, Richmond and Topsham, with short stops at farms on the route. This ride is best for intermediate or advanced riders. The 24-mile ride through Bowdoinham and Richmond will leave at 10:15 a.m. This is a good ride for beginner or intermediate riders and will feature stops to explore farms along the way. The third ride begins at 10:30 a.m. and is a 14-mile ride with stops to explore some of Bowdoinham’s Forever Farms led by Maine Farmland Trust staff. This ride is good for beginner and intermediate riders and those who are interested in learning more about farmland protection in one of the richest farming areas in Bowdoinham. All riders and farm visitors are invited to attend the Open Farm Day barbecue. This barbeque is from 3 to 6 p.m. in Bowdoinham’s Mailly Waterfront Park, 21 River Road, and features fresh foods from local farms. The barbecue is $10 per plate and $4 for dessert.

Preregistration for the rides is not required, but it is appreciated for help with ride planning. To register, visit merrymeetingtrail.org or contact Ruth Indrick at the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust at [email protected] or 442-8400.

According to the release, Bowdoinham will have 12 open farms and 15 artists for Open Farm Day this year. Visitors to the farms can talk to the farmers and try samples of their products. Bowdoinham has farms for vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, horses and chickens. Local artists will have work including, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, glass, woodworking, scarves, furniture and photography. Although the sites can be visited by car, these rides provide a fun way to explore the farms and studios with ride leaders who have experience with biking in the region. For bike riders who aren’t interested in an organized ride but still want to experience Open Farm Day by bike, there will be maps of suggested ride routes available in Mailly Waterfront Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Explore Merrymeeting Bay Bike Tour provides people with the opportunity to explore and enjoy the Merrymeeting Bay region, and it helps to raise awareness about local farms, Merrymeeting Trail and farmland conservation. Merrymeeting Trail is a proposed 25-mile multi-use trail for bikers and walkers of all ages that will travel through the towns of Gardiner, Richmond, Bowdoinham and Topsham, connecting the Kennebec River Rail Trail with the Brunswick Bike Path. To learn more about Merrymeeting Trail, check out the Merrymeeting Trailblazers, a local group working to make this trail a reality at merrymeetingtrail.org. Maine Farmland Trust is committed to protecting farmland, supporting farmers, and advancing the future of farming in Maine. To learn more about Maine Farmland Trust, visit mainefarmlandtrust.org.

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