ORONO, Maine (WABI) – Many Mainers dream of having a bike, but for some, that dream is just out of reach.
One local man is teaming up with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine to try and change that.
“It’s hard not to smile when you’re on a bike,” said Orono’s Abe Furth.
If that’s true, Furth has miles of smiles ahead of him.
“It’ll be a little under 1,300 miles,” Furth said of his trip. “Probably by the time I get lost a couple times, it’ll be 1,300 miles.”
Furth, a cycling enthusiast who’s make cross-country trips before, decided to put his long-distance skills to use again. This time, he’s pedaling for a good cause.
Following Saturday’s send-off party, Furth left Orono for Washington, D.C. in an effort to raise money for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s earn-a-bike program.
“That program gives people, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a bike, the change to own a bicycle, a helmet, a lock, as well as to get educated on safe riding and how to maintain a bicycle,” Furth said.
His goal? Raise $50,000. That will help tackle the program’s wait list in Portland and bring the service to Bangor. He’s already halfway there, thanks in part to sales of a new beer from Orono Brewing Company, where Furth is a co-owner.
“One Bike IPA… is an IPA that we did in collaboration with this fundraiser,” Furth said. “It’s actually been featured at beer stores all around the state, as well as Hannaford. Hannaford is donating part of the proceeds from all of the sales this month of Orono Brewing in their stores to this fundraiser, which is awesome.”
Once in D.C., Furth, who announced his candidacy for a Maine Senate seat in June, plans to speak to Maine’s congressional delegation about the earn-a-bike program. And, of course, he’ll crack open a cold one.
“[I’m] pretty excited to be able to have a beer and feel like I kind of deserve it, like I earned it,” Furth laughed.
Supporters can send checks to the BCM at 38 Diamond Street, Portland ME, 04101 below with “One Bike Can” in the memo line or donate online at bikemaine.org/earn-a-bike-program.