LEWISTON — Two fourth-grade classes assembled in a room at Longley Elementary School on Monday afternoon to see and hear school Superintendent Bill Webster talk to them.

Webster is spending his vacation on a weeklong BikeMaine 2013 trip and talked to students via FaceTime after biking from Dover-Foxcroft to Belfast on Monday.

There are 260 people riding 60 to 70 miles a day, or 400 miles in total, Webster said. There are 170 men and 90 women. The oldest biker is 76, the youngest 25, he said.

The group started Sunday in Orono. From there, they biked to Dover-Foxcroft and on Monday they arrived in Belfast. They will ride to Castine, Bar Harbor, Camp Jordan in Ellsworth and back to Orono.

The Longley fourth-graders, who are studying a course about Maine, are tracking Webster’s progress as they learn about that region of the state.

They were ready with questions for Webster on Monday.

“What do people do for jobs in Belfast?” asked Ramon Spearman, 9.

“That’s a very good question,” Webster said. “At one point, Belfast was known as the broiler capitol of the world,” Webster said. Broilers are young chickens suitable for broiling. The chicken industry in Belfast has dried up. Today tourism is big in Belfast, he said.

Naima Schueyb, 9, asked: “Have you seen any animals?”

Yes, Webster said. When they started the ride in Orono, “two deer jumped out of the woods right in front of me. Today we went through a flock of wild turkeys, the biggest one I’ve ever seen. There must have been 50 birds. Some actually flew. That was neat.”

Other students wanted to know about logistics, such as how bikers, who camp at night, brush their teeth and take showers.

Webster said showers are available, as are portable sinks.

“Do you know what I did today?” he asked.

“What?” students asked.

“I went in the ocean,” he said, showing a photo of where he swam. “So I feel very refreshed.”

State troopers talked to the group about safety, he said, sharing that everyone is recommended to wear helmets, and bicyclists are to ride in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic.

After the FaceTime, fourth-grade teacher Courtney Wildes said the two classes, hers and Diane Wigant’s, will FaceTime with Webster every day this week.

She said she was pleased with how the first session went.

“It was wonderful,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to see more of their state they’re learning about,” adding most of her students don’t often get out of Lewiston.

Pointing to a large Maine map on the wall, Wildes said the class has marked Webster’s route “so we know where he’s going. We’ll talk to him every day and learn about his adventures.”

Webster is tweeting photos as he goes, which the young scholars are reviewing.

In the fourth-grade course, students learn about Maine geography and economics, “what we produce in Maine,” Wildes said. “We want them to know what their state has to offer, products, produce, manufacturing and our coastal region.”

Spearman, the boy who asked about jobs in Belfast, said he’s learned through the course that there are towns in Maine named after cities and countries, such as Paris and China.

Cassandra Bigelow, 10, asked Webster about lighthouses. “I like lighthouses. I want to see some,” she said. Bigelow said she likes that Webster is using FaceTime to connect with them. “It’s actually cool.”

Webster’s progress can be followed through his tweets @LewistonSuper.

For more on BikeMaine: ride.bikemaine.org/

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