WEST OCEAN CITY – With a month remaining, event organizers are gearing up for the first annual Maryland Coast Bike Festival.
On Saturday, May 8, community members are invited to join the inaugural Maryland Coast Bike Festival, a day-long celebration that starts and ends at the West Ocean City Commercial Harbor.
Event co-owner Salty Selt said the day will begin with a series of bike rides, and participants can register for any of the three routes. The Island Ride (17 miles) features a family friendly loop that explores the area around Assateague Island, while the Surf & Turf (35 miles) and Metric Century (62 miles) loops around Assateague Island and the scenic back country of Worcester County.
The rides will begin and end at the harbor, which will feature live music, food, craft beer, vendors, and paddleboard, skateboard and electric bike demonstrations.
“We wanted to do an outdoor, community event,” he said. “We love the Harbor Day at the Docks event the county puts on and we love the cycling events, so we wanted to do a combination of the two.”
Selt said participants will also have an opportunity to join a cleanup in partnership with 4Ocean. A portion of event proceeds will go to support the nonprofit.
“Because of the concern we have for the environment, we wanted to have a cleanup component to it, as well” he said. “There will be cleanup opportunities not only around the harbor and waterways, but the roadways as well.”
Selt stressed that the event will follow safety protocols consistent with guidelines set by public health officials and established endurance event experts. Start times for the three bike rides will also be staggered to avoid crowds and ensure social distancing.
“Everything will be spaced out …,” he said. “We want everything open-air.”
Selt said the Maryland Coast Bike Festival will begin with the Metric Century bike ride at 7:30, followed by the Surf & Turf ride at 8:15 and the Island Ride at 8:45. The start line will be open for all until 9 a.m.
“It gets everyone to come back at the same time,” he said.
Online registration for the Maryland Coast Bike Festival ends Monday, May 3, at 11:59 p.m. Registration fees are $35 for the Island Ride, $55 for the Surf & Turf ride and $65 for the Metric Century.
Every rider will receive a T-shirt, a free beverage coupon for a beer or soft drink, bike mechanics and course support, several well-stocked stations along the routes, que sheets and GPS maps, complementary cold brew energy coffee, and free parking a short walk to the start and finish line.
“For a first-year event, it should be a lot of fun,” Selt said. “We are expecting a good turnout.”
Online sign-ups are also open for cleanup volunteers and event vendors. Fees will be waived for local businesses.
For more information, visit marylandcoastbikefestival.com.
“We’d like to make this an annual event, something that people can put on their calendars,” Selt said. “It’s a great way to start off the spring.”