School’s alcohol policy forces major bike tour to change plans

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An island community in Maine will miss out on the economic windfall created by a major bicycle tour because alcoholic beverages aren’t allowed on school property, even for a non-school event.

Velo Quebec plans to bring 1,400 to 2,000 recreational cyclists to Maine for a week-long, 600-mile bicycle tour of the state. The GrandTour Desjardins is the group’s major event of the year.

As you can see from the video, the cyclists like to ride hard then go about the business of some serious relaxation. Clips show wine bottles on tables and cyclists toasting the day’s accomplishments.

Organizers of the nonprofit group wanted to bring the cyclists over to Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island and use the local high school for lodging the campers and feeding the cyclists. The island is home to the Acadia National Park.

They ran into objections from the high school board, however, which bans all alcoholic beverages on school grounds.

The Hancock County Fence Viewer reported that the local chamber of commerce president made a pitch in favor of the hosting the cyclists, as the tour hires locals for catering and other services.

“We also expect these cycling enthusiasts will come back in the future and stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop. It’s really a great opportunity for our community to showcase what we have to offer here.”

Velo Quebec had earlier announced it would use Bar Harbor or Ellsworth as a host city; looks like they’re headed to Ellsworth on the mainland. The bike tour starts in Waterville, with other overnight stops in Bangor, Belfast and Newcastle.

Maine’s Economic and development commissioner George Gervais announced earlier this year the the 20th annual GrandTour Desjardins would visit in 2013 with up to 2,000 cyclists. Of that, as many as 200 would be seeking lodging every night and an estimated 36,000 meals would be served.

The 2012 GrandTour Desjardins escorted cyclists around the Gaspe Peninsula this August.

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1 comment

    • Bob on September 27, 2012 at 10:54 am
    • Reply

    The no Alcohol Law is in effect for schools all over the nation. I’ve been on many rides like this and it is easy enough to abide by it by visiting the local establishiments and nearby parks.

    This I’m afriad is being a little short sighted on the ride leaders part and shouldn’t be a deal breaker for visiting the city. Perhaps the city or a charitable organization and ride could split the cost of a beer tent on nearby private/commerical property?

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