Author: Zach Schmesser

BikeMaine Weeklong Cycling Ride Announces Early Sellout

March 10, 2016 Comments Off on BikeMaine Weeklong Cycling Ride Announces Early Sellout
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Contact:
Brian Allenby
Communications Director
Bicycle Coalition of Maine

brian@bikemaine.org

34 Preble St. Portland, ME 04101
BikeMaine Weeklong Cycling Ride
Announces Early Sellout
Portland, ME, March 10, 2016 – The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is proud to announce that BikeMaine 2016 has sold out in record time.  This is the soonest the event has filled in the four-year history of the weeklong September ride. Four hundred cyclists will be at the start on Schoodic Point on September 10 for the 350-mile adventure. BikeMaine is the largest 7-day ride in the northeastern United States and is modeled after successful rides in other parts of the country. This years’ ride will have riders from thirty-five states and a half dozen countries.
“We are thrilled to sellout the BikeMaine event before the end of winter,” said Zach Schmesser, Coalition Events Director. “Every year we have endeavored to carefully grow BikeMaine while maintaining a ride that has garnered sterling reviews from participants. We are thrilled that the reputation of our ride and the great cycling found in Maine has resulted in our earliest sellout ever,” continued Schmesser. “Especially exciting for us was our ability to nearly double the number of in-state participants, in part because we are traveling to a part of the state that is less familiar to Mainers.”
Each year, BikeMaine chooses a different route and a new part of the state to explore. The 2016 edition of BikeMaine will cover 355 miles along the “Bold Coast” of Maine, exploring Washington and Hancock Counties. The event will take place from September 10-17 and allows riders to explore the people, places, culture, and food of Maine.
The first three BikeMaine rides generated a total of over $1 million in direct economic impact to different regions of the state through rider spending as well as the sourcing of local products and services for the ride. “BikeMaine perfectly aligns with a years-long regional effort to shine a light on the unique and little-known natural and cultural assets that characterize the Bold Coast,” said Coalition executive director Nancy Grant. The Coalition is collaborating with Washington County Council of Governments and Bold Coast communities to turn BikeMaine 2016 into a sustainable, permanent bike route after the September 2016 event is over.
The 2016 loop route will begin and end in Winter Harbor, and will include the following host communities: Jonesport, Machias, Eastport (two nights), Lubec and Milbridge. During the seven-day event, riders will experience spectacular, untouched natural beauty and the freshest and tastiest food Maine has to offer. Along the 355-mile route, cyclists will discover Maine’s history and culture with the assistance and encouragement of host community organizations and residents.
Working with local civic organizations, BikeMaine provides 18 meals made from locally sourced, seasonal foods, ample beverages and snacks, baggage transport, mechanical and medical support and a camping site that includes showers, restrooms, and evening entertainment.
BikeMaine, in support of its mission to promote bicycling, healthy lifestyles and economic development, is proud to have Presenting Sponsor Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine and supporting sponsors Vermont’s Original Bag Balm, Maine Beer Company, Norway Savings Bank and Poland Spring on board again this year.
Grant funding for BikeMaine has been generously provided by the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, Horizon Foundation, The Betterment Fund and the Maine Tourism Marketing Partnership Program. Key BikeMaine partnerships include Capital Ambulance and The Nature Conservancy. Media partners include WCSH6, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, the Bangor Daily News and Maine Magazine.
For more information: ride.bikemaine.org
###
BikeMaine is a project of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, the statewide voice of cyclists and pedestrians. Since 1992, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has led the effort to make Maine better for bicycling and walking by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists and pedestrians through education, advocacy, legislation and encouragement. The Coalition supports biking and walking for health, transportation and recreation.

2015 Route Digest – Chapter 3

August 10, 2015 Comments Off on 2015 Route Digest – Chapter 3

2015 Chapter 3 – Route Digest

Day 6: Sweden to Kennebunk

Distance: 74 miles

Elevation Gain: 3,040 feet

Upon leaving Camp Tapawingo, we ride on familiar roads for the first couple of mile as we head west to Lovell, then take a sharp left onto Knights Hill Road. As you have discovered by now, road names in Maine often describe something notable about the road, and Knights Hill is no exception. You have a few hills to start the morning, but things level out as we approach the coast.

After crossing Route 302, we pass Shawnee Peak Ski Area, which opened on January 23, 1938, and is the oldest major ski area in Maine.

IMG_1943

Denmark Congregational Church

The shaded Mountain Road takes us on the west side of Moose Pond, home to Camp Winona for boys and the United State’s oldest continuously run camp for girls, Camp Wyonegonic.

We turn onto Route 117 into Denmark. Denmark was incorporated in 1807, and named in solidarity with the country in Europe that had been attacked that year by the British Royal Navy, who had attacked Portland, Maine in 1775. Early settlers found the soil in the region to be stony and sandy, making farming difficult. Fortunately, the flow of water from Moose Pond into Moose Pond Brook provided an excellent source of power, and mills were established to manufacture grain, lumber, barrel staves, sashes, blinds and doors.

Rest Stop 1 (Mile 18): Denmark Congregational Church, built in 1834.

The route winds through lovely back roads to Hiram, where it crosses the Saco River and turns onto River Road. Although we stay on River Road, about a half-mile down the road is a right turn onto Douglas Road. At the end of Douglas Road is Wadsworth Hall, a majestic home built for General Peleg Wadsworth between 1800 and 1807 on 7,800 acres of land that were granted to him for his service in the Revolutionary War. Once the house was completed, Wadsworth moved here from his home in Portland, which he gave to his daughter Zilpah and her husband Stephen Longfellow, parents of one of America’s most beloved poets. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow spent many of his childhood summers at his grandfather’s estate. Wadsworth Hall, which remains in the hands of Wadsworth descendants, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The aptly named River Road follows the banks of the Saco River to Cornish. Cornish began as a trading post established by Francis Small, an enterprising landowner and fur trader who lived primarily in Kittery, in 1665 near where the Ossipee and Saco Rivers meet. Here converged three major Abenaki Indian paths —the Sokokis Trail (Route 5), the Ossipee Trail (Route 25) and the Pequawket Trail (Route 113), a prime location for conducting fur trade with Native Americans. Small’s practice of extending credit in the spring in exchange for repayment in the fall with fur was not seen as a good deal by all. Indeed, Chief Wesumbe of the Newichewannock Abenaki tribe warned Small of a planned attempt on his life by renegade tribesmen, who decided to erase their debt through a plan to set fire to his house and shoot Small when he ran out the door. At first Small thought the warning was a trick to frighten him away and avoid payment. Just to be on the safe side, however, Small took refuge on a nearby hill, from where he could observe what might transpire. Sure enough, at first light his trading post went up in flames. Small escaped to Kittery.

As compensation for his losses, Chief Wesumbe in 1668 sold to Small twenty square miles of land between the Ossipee River, Little Ossipee River, and Newichewannock River (now Salmon Falls). The price was two large Indian blankets, two gallons of rum, two pounds of powder, four pounds of musket balls, and twenty strings of Indian beads. The purchase comprised what is called the Ossipee Tract – Limington, Limerick, Newfield, Parsonfield, Shapleigh, and what became known as Francisborough, then Francistown, after its original proprietor, Francis Small.

IMG_1950

Downtown Cornish

Francistown was incorporated on February 27, 1794, as Cornish (presumably by settlers from Cornwall, England). The soil was very productive for corn and grain. The Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad began running up the Saco River valley in the early 1870s, servicing Baldwin Station across the bridge from Cornish. Today, the town of Cornish has a quaint downtown area, with antique shops and other interesting specialty stores.

In Cornish, we pick up a section of the Sokokis Trail, once connecting the Sokokis village at Pequawket (now Fryeburg) to the tribe’s coastal encampment at what is today Saco, and follow it on Route 5 to Limerick. Along the way, we climb to a lookout point that provides a gorgeous view of Sokokis Lake and the surrounding area.

After Francis Small purchased the Ossipee Tract form Chief Wesumbe, he sold half of his interest to a wealthy merchant from Eliot, Major Nicholas Shapleigh.

The French and Indian Wars intervened, limiting settlement in the region until after the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1763. In 1773, the heirs of Francis Small and Nicholas Shapleigh hired James Sullivan, a Biddeford lawyer, to assist them in establishing their rightful claim to the Ossipee Tract and promised to give him land if he prevailed. He did, and in return, he was given a township in 1775 that he named Limerick Plantation, after his father’s birthplace in Ireland. The land was fertile, and Limerick, incorporated in 1787, became a thriving farming community. The numerous brooks and streams in the area were a source of waterpower for factories making furniture, clothing, and the once nationally famous Holland Blankets, which were supplied to troops during the Civil War.

Lunch Stop (Mile 41): Limerick Fire Station

After lunch, we ride on quiet back roads dotted with old farms. We follow along the eastern edge of Lake Arrowhead, an artificial lake that was created in the 1960s when a dam was placed across the Little Ossipee River.

We pass by Massabesic Forest, a 3,600-acre oak-pine forest, owned and operated by the Northern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service.   This forest is interspersed with diverse wetlands associated with three rivers and numerous streams, ponds, vernal pools, and swamps, making the area unique for supporting long term populations of rare turtle and invertebrates. Of particular significance is the 1,000+ acre level bog ecosystem adjacent to Tarwater Pond on the west side of the forest.

Rest Stop 2 (Mile 61): Community Library in Lyman

The Abenaki sold the area now known as Lyman to three men from York in 1660. First called Swanville, the land was settled in 1767 and incorporated by the Massachusetts General Court in 1780 as Coxhall. The name was changed in 1803 to Lyman in honor of Theodore Lyman, a wealthy merchant who established a successful shipping firm in York in the 1790s, before moving to Boston.   Early farmers grew grain, hay and apples. Outlets from local ponds made it possible to run sawmills and gristmills. The Great Fire of 1947 devastated part of Lyman. Today, Lyman is a bedroom community for people working in the Portland or Biddeford/Saco area.

As we continue toward the coast, we pass through Arundel and into Kennebunk. The mountains and hills are behind us, with easy pedaling ahead.


Kennebunk

Rolling hills and open spaces make Kennebunk a truly unique and special place.

The name Kennebunk means “long cut bank,” probably in reference to Great Hill at the mouth of the Mouse River that would have been an important landmark to Native Americans.

Kennebunk began as an agricultural and shipbuilding settlement and the first settlers in the area were likely fisherman. You can learn more about the town’s history by following the heritage discovery trail, composed of 25 informational panels installed in the street. The Kennebunk Free Public Library dates back to 1907 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other structures along Main Street, Bourne Street and Summer Street are examples of architectural styles such as Federal, Queen Anne, Greek and Gothic Revival.

Kennebunk has plenty of other relevant sites to view such as the George W. Bourne house, called the “Wedding Cake House,” and the 1799 Kennebunk Inn.

Kennebunk has three large and lovely sandy beaches: Gooch’s, Kennebunk (Middle), and Mother’s Beach. The beaches are easy to get to and great for walking. Other trails for walking or riding include the Kennebunk Land Trust, the Bridal Path, which runs along the Mousam River, and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, which you will pass on your ride out of Kennebunk.

Kennebunk has evolved into a favorite destination for travelers worldwide. From the sea captains’ mansions on Summer Street to the beautiful Mousam and Kennebunk rivers, there is something in Kennebunk for everyone to enjoy. The BikeMaine Village is on Parson’s Field, directly behind the main street of town. Meals will be served a block away at the new Waterhouse Center, a 100 x 120 foot multiuse pavilion opened in 2014 and houses a skating rink during the winter and is performance space and for farmers’ markets in the warmer months

Day 7: Kennebunk to Kittery: The Grand Finale

Distance: 55 Miles

Elevation Gain: 2,119 feet

Our last day of BikeMaine 2015 is packed with adventure, as we experience both the coast and some inland hills. We begin by heading east to Kennebunkport, where we pass Walker’s Point, the summer home of President George H. W. Bush. The land on which the Bush family compounded is located was originally purchased by the President’s great-grandfather and has been in the family for over a century. We also pass St. Ann’s Episcopal, a lovely stone church attended by the Bush family when they are in town.

We cycle through Kennebunkport, a bustling harbor, with its popular Dock Square at the center.

kennebunkport

Kennebunkport, Dock Square

On the southern side of town, we ride past Kennebunk Beach, and through a section of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge, established in 1966, preserves ten important estuaries that are key points along migration routes of waterfowl and other migratory birds. During winters, the Refuge’s marshes provide vital food and cover for waterfowl another migrating birds at a time when inland waters are frozen. The Refuge also supports piping plover, least terns, peregrine falcons, and bald eagles.

We then ride through a section of the Laudholm Farm, headquarters for the 2,250-acre Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve conservation area. The center at Laudholm Farm is a research, education, and recreation facility and is a public-private partnership within the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Each year, more than 3,000 children and adults participate in its educational programs.

Rest Stop 1 (Mile 17 ): Corey Daniels Gallery, Wells

We head inland for a few miles to avoid Route 1’s busy traffic. After riding through North Berwick, we head down a long hill to the seaside town of Ogunquit. Ogunquit, an Abenaki word meaning “beautiful place by the sea,” started as a village within the neighboring town of Wells. A sawmill was established here in 1686, triggering an active shipbuilding community along the tidal Ogunquit River.

In 1888, a bridge was built across the Ogunquit River providing access for summer visitors and residents to the beautiful 3-mile beach on the easternmost shore. The easy access to the beach Ogunquit attracted an eclectic variety of artists, all of whom helped create a richly textured art colony and a place to live and paint.   In 1898, Charles Woodbury of Boston established a summer painting school that garnered national attention and drew the likes of Edward Hopper, George Bellows and Robert Henri.
We travel through the heart of busy Ogunquit Center, with its many boutiques, shops, galleries, and restaurants. On Shore Road, we pass the Ogunquit Memorial Library, given to the Village by Nannie Conarroe in memory of her husband in 1897. This imposing yet elegant fieldstone structure, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, remains a uniquely lovely landmark in town and well used by residents and visitors alike.

We also pass by the Ogunquit Museum of American Art which houses a variety of works by artists associated with the famed Ogunquit Art Colony, as well as other American artists.

ogt lib

On the south side of Ogunquit is Perkins Cove. Once called Fish Cove, the cove was unprotected from ocean storms, so fishermen in the area had to protect their boats by hauling them ashore each night. Needing to create a safe anchorage, fishermen formed the Fish Cove Harbor Association and dug a channel across land they purchased to connect Fish Cove with the Josias River. When the trench was complete, erosion further widened the passage. The resulting tidewater basin is now called Perkins Cove

We meander along Shore Road past waterfront homes and golf courses to Cape Neddick, part of The Yorks. The Yorks cover 57.7 sq. miles and is made up of Cape Neddick, York Beach, York Harbor and York Village. The Yorks of Maine have natural beauty, old New England seacoast charm, sandy beaches, lighthouses, conservation parks, an amusement park and more, and we cycle by much of it on our way south.

Rest Stop 2 (Mile 41): Cape Neddick Light at Nubble Rock. In 1874, Congress appropriated $15,000 to build a light station oat Nubble Rock. It was first put in use in 1879 and is still in use today. Its lighthouse tower is 41 feet tall and is lined with brick and sheathed with cast iron. The lighthouse is a significant feature both nationally and universally. In fact, an image of the lighthouse is included in the Voyager spacecraft’s photograph collection, along with images of the Great Wall of China and the Taj Majal.

We ride along York Beach, which offers outdoor fun with miles of long sandy beaches and coastal scenic byways.

York Beach

In York Village, you are invited to stop by the Museums of Old York, a multi-property historic museum preserving the rich history of what was once the seat of government for the Province of Maine. At Old York, you will see and hear what life was like three centuries ago. The Museums of Old York are community operated by The Old York Historical Society. The Museums consist of nine historic buildings including The Old Gaol, the nation’s oldest royal prison. Show your BikeMaine bracelet for a free tour of the Old Gaol (Jail) or the Remick Gallery. The Gaol is one of the oldest public buildings in America.  See the original stone dungeons where the prisoners were held, hear some prisoner stories, and learn how being in debt could land you in jail.   A Museum for 115 years, the Old Gaol has broad appeal to all kinds of visitors and provides an excellent opportunity to snap a photo of yourself in the pillory!

Gaol

The Remick Gallery (located on the second story of the Parsons Center) is currently showing an exhibit of the historic photography of Emma Coleman. Coleman turned her camera on York in the 1880s, documenting rural life, architecture, and scenery with an artist’s eye.

The last few miles of the 2015 BikeMaine route are on gentle back roads, taking us into Kittery and to Fort Foster, where a farewell luncheon awaits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Nationally Recognized Host of Marketplace to Ride BikeMaine

July 14, 2015 Comments Off on Nationally Recognized Host of Marketplace to Ride BikeMaine

PORTLAND, MaineBikeMaine is pleased to announce that David Brancaccio, the host and senior editor of American Public Media’s Marketplace Morning Report, and Mark Vogelzang, president and CEO of Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN), will join more than 300 cyclists as they tour the state by bicycle during the upcoming Sept. BikeMaine ride.

In addition to riding with the cyclists on the BikeMaine route, Brancaccio and Vogelzang will join BikeMaine riders, community members, and local officials for a Town Hall Forum in Bethel, on Wed., Sept. 16. The forum will focus on economic development, bicycling, tourism, the environment, and more.

“The Bethel community and the chamber of commerce are excited to be part of the BikeMaine itinerary this fall, especially as the layover town,” said Executive Director of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce, Robin Zinchuk. “We are planning to roll the red carpet out for the riders, staff, and volunteers and have many great activities planned for everyone during their stay here. We are especially excited that David Brancaccio and Mark Vogelzang will be joining us.”

Considered the most popular business program in the United States, Marketplace discusses the focuses on the future of the economy, financial and labor markets, technology, the environment, and social enterprises. David Brancaccio is an award-winning reporter, anchor, speaker, and storyteller. His approach to investigative reporting and in-depth interviewing has earned the highest honors in broadcast journalism, including the Peabody, the Columbia-duPont, the Emmy, and the Walter Cronkite awards.

2014 BikeMaine riders.

“We are really excited for David to join the BikeMaine ride this year,” said MPBN President and CEO Mark Vogelzang. “David grew up in Waterville, Maine, and has been, and continues to be, such an important part of public broadcasting, and a huge favorite with so many. It’s an outstanding opportunity for riders to meet and hear from one of the best journalists around!”

MPBN, Maine’s premier independent media resource, is committed to connecting the people of Maine to other communities and to the world through the open exchange of information, ideas, and cultural content. BikeMaine is proud to have the support of MPBN as a 2015 media partner.

The Third Annual BikeMaine ride will take place from Sept. 12 through 19, 2015, and is organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. Each year, the week-long adventure highlights different parts of Maine, giving riders the opportunity to experience the people, places, culture and food of the state. Riders will enjoy rest stops, daily meals and overnight camping in host communities along the route. 2015 overnight host communities include Kittery, Old Orchard Beach, Bridgton, Bethel, Sweden and Kennebunk.

The route features varying terrain from the coast to the mountains with daily distances averaging 55 miles and additional 10- to 15-mile loop options. Participation is limited to 350 riders to ensure an intimate and community-focused experience. Meals are prepared with high-quality local and seasonal ingredients, and entertainment, including Maine music, comedy, and dance, is provided each evening.

BikeMaine is proud to have the support of founding sponsors L.L.Bean and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine, in addition to its many other valued sponsors and partners.
Fewer than 40 spots remain for this year’s BikeMaine ride. Register today at ride.bikemaine.org.

###

Editor’s Note: Click on the image above or the link below to access a downloadable version.
 
About BikeMaine:
Founded in 2012, BikeMaine is a fully-supported, seven-day cycling tour organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. Limited to just 350 cyclists, the tour takes a different course every year. Routes traverse uncrowded back roads, looping through small towns and scenic areas along the coast and inland. The terrain is moderately challenging with daily rides averaging 55 miles. The event includes meals made with locally sourced ingredients, optional afternoon activities, and nightly entertainment. The event was founded to promote the state as a bicycling destination and to use cycling as an economic development tool for local communities. In 2014, BikeMaine generated an estimated $395,000 in direct economic impact. Proceeds from the tour go to support bicycle advocacy in Maine. To learn more, visit ride.bikemaine.org.
About Bicycle Coalition of Maine:
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is the statewide voice of cyclists and pedestrians. Since 1992, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has led the effort to make Maine better for bicycling and walking by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists and pedestrians through education, advocacy, legislation, and encouragement. We support biking and walking for health, transportation and recreation. For more information: bikemaine.org.
About the Maine Public Broadcasting Network:
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network is Maine’s premier, independent media resource, dedicated to creating exceptional opportunities for the communities it serves to engage with critical issues, compelling stories, and quality entertainment. MPBN is renowned for creating award-winning programs, as well as airing content from PBS, NPR, and other independent producers. Formed in 1992, MPBN is an independently owned and operated nonprofit organization with office and studio locations in Bangor, Lewiston and Portland, Maine.

A first time rider’s perspective on BikeMaine

June 15, 2015 Comments Off on A first time rider’s perspective on BikeMaine
0913141329 (2)

Pictured above is writer Dori McCormick at the finish line of the 2014 ride in Westbrook, ME at IDEXX.

One morning I took my last country ski out in the woods. That afternoon, I took my first bike ride. On the spur-of-the-moment I had signed up for the BikeMaine event, and it was time to start training. I went into it blind and came out the other end with my eyes wide opened. I had never attempted anything like this, but at age 62, I thought I was still infallible. I still do, and I thrived and survived. I registered by myself and got many comments of: “This is your FIRST ride? You should have ….” I now pass on the nuggets I learned during that week in Maine last summer and also what I’d do differently.

WHAT I LEARNED:

  •  I can bike farther than I thought.
  • My son’s advice was spot-on. (“When will you ever have the time to do it again?” – when does anyone have the time to set aside – other than by doing it?)
  • My bike is heavy but excellent for training.
  • The scenery is awesome. You can see a lot in 50-mile training rides (as well as 10 miles, 20 miles, etc.). I tried to pick out a new route every time with a goal to cover as many roads as possible. I also did circuits because it was easier than dreading ‘that hill again’.
  • My local bike shop was VERY helpful and worth it to support it (rather than on-line purchases). They installed everything I bought, answered questions, made recommendations and streamlined my bike as much as possible.
  • Ask for advice. I learned a lot from a woman in the parking lot one day.
  • I chose the tent and porter service and was very thankful at the end of every day to find my bag inside, with sleeping bag ready to roll out. One day I had to lay there for awhile before I could get up and shower. I was thankful for the shelter.
  • I also used the towel rental, rather than trying to get a towel dry.
  • We did some sight-seeing along the way and could stop and take photos.
  • The support team was simply awesome – from the people in the villages to those volunteers who kept us safe on the roads – whether they were warning of turns or stopping traffic so we could cross. On the fourth straight day, one volunteer at an intersection looked at me and said “Are you in trouble?” “Yes” as the tears came. I had biked my heart out. He talked me down off the ledge (!) and convinced me it was a good choice to take the support vehicle and be transported the last 15 miles into the camp. It was ok. I wasn’t quitting, I was making a wise choice. (Thank you, kind man, whoever you were. I appreciated your frankness, calmness, and directness. It worked.)
  • I didn’t need extra layers on cold mornings for more than half an hour. The bag they provided was EASY to transport, EASY to drop off at a rest area and EASY to reclaim at the end of the day. The systems were all easier than I thought they’d be.
  • We never went more than 23 miles before being greeted with PLENTIFUL and NUTRICIOUS food. Hosts for the lunches and dinners in each town did everything they could to help us.
  • Every person who passed me greeted me (our names and states were on the back of our bikes). And most people passed me!
  • People were older than I thought they’d be and came from all over the country!
  • People used all sorts of bikes – recumbent, upright, folding/travel bikes, etc.
  • Don’t drink colored energy drinks. There are good alternatives without the dyes. They had them at the BikeMaine rest stops.
  • I did most of my training rides alone. I emailed a friend my intended route in case I didn’t return as expected.
  • I thankfully trained in all weather so knew I could survive rain and wind. The only day I bailed was when LIGHTNING struck right beside me on a training ride.

What I’d do differently:

  • I’d get on my bike and start training YESTERDAY. Start now. It’s suggested that you be comfortable with 25-mile rides before June.
  • Look for hills and cycle them. Over and over. I saw hills I didn’t think existed in Maine.
  • Cycle at a pace that you’re comfortable with. I was aware of a couple that struggled the whole week. I think one got talked into it (!) and could not keep up, resulting in a lot of tension and resentment. Enjoy the ride and meet up at the end of the day.
  • I started out too fast the first day, thinking I was dead last. Next time I could say “well, I’m last” and it would be ok. That day I biked too fast and used too much energy in the morning.
  • I would start as soon as I could in the day so I wouldn’t feel as pressured. I needed the whole time every day.
  • I would realize that there are very seasoned bikers on the trip as well as others that aren’t.
  • Do at least two 50-60 mile days in a row. I could DO 50 miles, but not day after day, hence my dilemma on Day 4 last year.
  • Sign up for a daily massage as soon as possible. It was worth the money!
  • Take earplugs for nearby snorers.
  • Make the commitment as soon as possible and BIKE. What a great way to spend the summer, and a great way to end it in MAINE.

 About the author:

Dori McCormick has had a long association with biking; though in bursts!  She did the Trek Across Maine ride 100 years ago (on a heavy bike), completed the Otago Rail Trail in New Zealand about 5 years ago (95 miles in 3 days) and then participated in (all but 15 miles) of BikeMaine last year (348 miles)!  The passion continues!  A professional photographer by day, she also loves to write, play tennis, read, garden, cross country ski, hike, and travel.  


BikeMaine on NEWSRADIO WGAN Maine Points

April 22, 2015 Comments Off on BikeMaine on NEWSRADIO WGAN Maine Points

Kim True and Zach Schmesser, joined host Mike Violette to discuss the warmer weather and upcoming BikeMaine.

WGAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://wgan.com/podcasts/42215-podcast-bikemaine/


BikeMaine holds orientation for 2015 Host Communities

March 25, 2015 Comments Off on BikeMaine holds orientation for 2015 Host Communities

The BikeMaine team recently brought together leaders from the communities hosting BikeMaine 2015 to begin planning in earnest for the arrival of 350 bicyclists and 50 volunteers in September. Representatives of Kittery, Old Orchard Beach, Bridgton, Bethel and Kennebunk met with Bicycle Coalition of Maine staff and BikeMaine Ride Committee volunteers to learn more about event logistics and the needs of BikeMaine riders.

After a general information session led by Ride Director Kim True and Event Manager Zach Schmesser, the participants broke into three groups to discuss issues unique to each: town coordinators, food coordinators and bike champions. Community Relations Coordinators Tina West and Jeanne Peckiconis instructed town coordinators about the logistics, activities and entertainment required for hosting the event, then facilitated a brainstorming session on how to make the stay in each town memorable for event participants.   Hear what the town coordinators have to say about their towns.

Food coordinators met with BikeMaine’s Food Director Patti Hamilton to determine each town’s food traditions and local farm specialties. This exercise is an important step in creating a menu that reflects each town’s heritage and uses the best local ingredients available. While menus are still being finalized, one thing is certain: Kittery will be serving a traditional Maine lobster bake right on the shores of Portsmouth Harbor.

Abby King, Community Advocacy Coordinator for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, met with each town’s “Bike Champion,” the person appointed to head up a town-wide committee working to make the town more bike/walk friendly. The Coalition is assisting each town accomplish a bicycle-related project in 2015. This is just one way the Coalition thanks the host communities for partnering to put on BikeMaine and moves closer to completing its mission of making Maine better for biking and walking.


2015 BikeMaine Route Announced (WCSH 6)

March 2, 2015 Comments Off on 2015 BikeMaine Route Announced (WCSH 6)

This clip originally appeared on WCSH6.com

Thursday, February 5, 2015

(NEWS CENTER) — The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has announced the route for its 2015 BikeMaine ride.

The host communities will be Kittery, Old Orchard Beach, Bridgton, Bethel, Sweden and Kennebunk. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine estimates that last year’s event had a direct economic impact in Maine of $395,000. The 350-mile ride is open to 350 cyclists and even though the event is several months away, organizers said it’s time to get on the bike and start preparing.

“You know now is the time to start training. We really do recommend riders do train before riding this ride. I think a casual cyclist with a good preparation can ride BikeMaine…but there’s no better time to jump on the trainer than now with all this snow on the ground,” Brian Allenby.

The event starts on Sept. 12 and continues through the 19.


BikeMaine 2014 Generated $395,000 for local communities (Lewiston Sun Journal)

December 19, 2014 No Comments
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

PORTLAND —  The second annual BikeMaine seven-day bicycle ride contributed an estimated $395,000 in direct economic benefits to the communities along its route.

The ride, produced by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, attracted 258 participants from more than 38 states, provinces and countries. Cyclists pedaled 350 miles from September 7 to 13 and stayed overnight in the communities of Westbrook, Norway, Winthrop, Gardiner, Boothbay Harbor and Bath before returning to finish with a farewell luncheon on the IDEXX campus in Westbrook.

“Having 300 BikeMaine riders and volunteers in town provided a tremendous financial boost to our shops, restaurants and inns during what’s normally a quiet weekday in September,” said Boothbay Harbor’s town manager, Tom Woodin. “The event provided numerous opportunities for Boothbay Harbor’s merchants. Local service organizations were able to raise much needed funds as well. It was a big win for the community.”

After completing each day’s ride, cyclists camped in a mobile BikeMaine village, erected in community parks or athletic fields, and enjoyed meals featuring local foods provided by area service organizations.

Entertainment was provided each evening, featuring some of Maine’s best bands and comedy performers. Whenever possible, ride organizers bought food from Maine farms and lobstermen, highlighted Maine products, and secured local services.

In addition to the products and services procured by BikeMaine in each community, participants spent, on average, more than $1,000 per rider during the week on food, lodging, shopping and transportation. More than 63 percent of riders were from out of state.

The ride also generated funds for local nonprofit organizations. Riders and volunteers contributed over $2,500 to benefit groups like the Westbrook Community Center, the YMCA Camp of Maine, and The Nature Conservancy, and BikeMaine donated unused food supplies to the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

“Our goal this year was to build on the incredible success of our inaugural ride,” said Nancy Grant, Bicycle Coalition executive director. “Through BikeMaine, we give back to local communities, bringing bicycle tourism to parts of the state that don’t often see many cyclists.”

Along with the 258 riders, 48 weeklong volunteers, more than 250 local community day volunteers, and seven Bicycle Coalition of Maine staff members participated in the event.

Planning for the 2015 BikeMaine ride, which is slated for September 12-19, is already underway. The 2015 route will be announced on Feb. 4. Registration for BikeMaine 2015 is open at ride.bikemaine.org.


BikeMaine Guest Blogger – Cycling in September

August 8, 2014 1 Comment
Note: This is the second in a series of blog posts by our guest blogger and Portland Press Herald BikeMaine 2014 contest winner, Mike McDermott.  Mike will be blogging throughout the summer, sharing his experiences as he prepares and trains for BikeMaine 2014.
Bike Maine Ride 2013.
Don’t get me wrong – I love summers in Maine. They don’t call it ‘Vacationland’ for nothing, and I’m lucky enough to live here where both the mountains and coast are in easy reach. But about his time in the summer, after we’ve had a few of those hot muggy stretches, it isn’t unusual to start finding myself looking forward to fall. Maybe it has to do with growing up in Hawaii where I didn’t experience autumn, but New England in the fall is just a perfect combination.
This year in particular I’m starting to look forward to September because it means the BikeMaine ride. I’m sure the organizers had a lot to consider in choosing the dates for the ride, but I am so excited that it will be happening in early September. It is one of my favorite times – the days are usually warm, but less humid than July or August. The nights cool down just enough that a sleeping bag in the tent will feel great. There is usually a tree or two that jumps the gun on the fall foliage color change and puts out a blaze of red, orange or yellow.
For a few years when my sons were old enough to camp but not yet in school we used to plan a camping trip the weekend after labor day. We’d go to a lake in the mountains and be able to swim during the day, but then huddle around a campfire after dark. They are some of my favorite memories, and they are what I think of as I look forward to cycling and tenting this coming September for BikeMaine.

On the route with us: Gorham Grind coffee truck

July 24, 2014 No Comments
Carson in front of Flo, his specialty coffee and espresso truck, at the "Street Eats and Beats" festival on May 3, 2013, in Portland, ME.

Carson in front of Flo, his specialty coffee and espresso truck, at the “Street Eats and Beats” festival on May 3, 2014, in Portland, ME.

Maine’s first specialty coffee and espresso truck will be joining us for BikeMaine 2014. The truck, Flo, is the mobile offshot of Gorham Grind, an independent community coffeehouse in Gorham, Maine.

“The original idea [for the name Flo] was that coffee needs to flow at outdoor events,” said owner Carson Lynch. “There is never good coffee at a wedding or festival. It’s always an after thought, and it shouldn’t be.”

Thanks to Lynch, coffee will be flowing at the ride in September. Lynch said he plans to open the truck beginning at 5:30 a.m. for those riders who just can’t wait for coffee until breakfast begins at 6:30 in the BikeMaine Villages. He will join us in Westbrook, Winthrop, Gardiner and Bath, while being careful not to interfere with the businesses in each town. Lynch will sell a variety of espresso drinks and drip coffees (hot and iced, regular and decaf) as well as breakfast sandwiches, pastries, baked goods and bottled drinks.

Lynch also said BikeMaine riders can expect free samples of Rocket Fuel to kick-start their days! Rocket Fuel, a specialty item on the menu, is a concoction of coffee, Maine milk and cream, and sugar. It was originally created by Gorham Grind as a ready-to-sell espresso drink for a music festival in Cornish, Maine in 2008.

Lynch has been the owner of Gorham Grind since the end of 2005 and began the construction of Flo in May, 2013. He put the mobile truck idea on the back burner while he developed the business, but the coffee truck idea has been a dream of his for over a decade.

people next to coffee truckSince May, 2013, Flo has made appearances at two music festivals in Maine, a local products trade show in Gorham and a food truck festival in Portland called “Street Eats and Beats.” The truck’s interior is currently under construction, which is funded in part by a 45-day crowd funding campaign through the website Small Knot.

“I’ve always felt the most important element to the design of an espresso bar is that the space is laid out so you can maximize efficiency and have a good flow,” Lynch said. Flo’s interior will be designed to promote that.

Flo was initially used for deliveries from the Gorham store to other locations. Lynch’s goal is to develop her into a fully independent and licensed food truck. He is the process of getting the license (which includes a state inspection) to gain restaurant status.

Though Flo is a new addition to BikeMaine, Gorham Grind coffee is no stranger to cyclists. “Especially on weekends, we have people start and finish rides at our shop in Gorham,” Lynch said. “So it’s a crowd that we love catering to already.”

People at the “Street Eats and Beats” in Portland, eat near The Gorham Grind’s mobile coffee truck, Flo.

 


BikeMaine riders from around the country – and world!

July 24, 2014 No Comments

BikeMaine riders on the mapOver the ocean and through the States, to BikeMaine we go!  This year, we are happy to have many riders from our great state of Maine, as well as people from a bit farther away. Whether you get to us by bike, car, train or plane – we’re glad you’re coming.  Check out this map to see where your fellow riders are from!


Bringing BikeMaine to Lewiston schoolchildren

July 24, 2014 No Comments

Last year, Lewiston Public Schools superintendent Bill Webster rode in the inaugural BikeMaine and brought 40 fourth graders along with him. Well, not literally. Rather, Webster brought BikeMaine to the fourth graders.

At 3 p.m. on each weekday of BikeMaine 2013, Webster talked via FaceTime with the two fourth grade classes at Longley Elementary School. The students asked Webster questions about the history and landmarks of towns he rode through, and he gave them visual tours of the BikeMaine villages. During his last call to the class, he showed them around the swimming area at Camp Jordan where fellow cyclist Bill White was enjoying the water. At the students’ request, White swam out to a yellow float and did a cannonball off it. Webster also shared videos and photos of Maine sights, including Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, via a DropBox folder. The teachers used laminated wall maps of Maine to help students follow along with Webster’s trip.

The project is a great fit for the fourth grade curriculum, which includes Maine geography and history. Teachers also applied Webster’s trip to the English Language Arts and Math curricula through writing assignments and measurements of distance and area. The fourth graders also learned about Walk and Bike Safety. Additionally, many Lewiston students have also done little, if any, travel outside of the city, and this project helped them see more of their state.

BikeMaine is thrilled that Webster is joining us again to “Pedal the Waterways”, and that his project has grown even more! This year Webster has offered the project to other fourth grade classroom in Lewiston, and the district is looking for future grant funding to expand the curriculum and interactive features further.

Webster said he hopes to feature other BikeMaine cyclists in his FaceTime calls with students. So you may have a chance to chat with some of the fourth graders while on route this September.


The Nature Conservancy’s Speaker Series

July 24, 2014 No Comments

One of the many exciting activities during BikeMaine is The Nature Conservancy’s speaker series. At 4:00 p.m. on three nights, you can unwind from a day of riding by sitting back and learning about the Maine environment from an expert. We’d love to see you at any, or all three, of these excellent talks from The Nature Conservancy!


Joshua Royte, TNC speaker

On Monday, September 8, at the YMCA Camp in Winthrop, Joshua Royte will lead a talk titled, “Connecting Maine’s rivers and streams: the wonder of migration and what Maine is doing to restore migratory fish.”Josh is a Conservation Scientist at The Nature Conservancy in Maine. He leads much of The Nature Conservancy in Maine’s watershed level planning to determine the best ways to restore migratory fish species (those that move between the ocean and fresh water).  This spring, Josh helped organize the World Fish Migration Day, which was celebrated with over 255 events in 47 countries around the world. Josh will speak to all the tremendous efforts going on around the state’s communities to restore migratory fish to their former abundance in Maine.


Michael Tetreault, TNC speakerOn Thursday, September 11, in Boothbay, Michael Tetreault will speak about, “The Gulf of Maine: working with Maine’s fishermen to sustain our ground fishing industry for economy and environment.” Mike is the Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Maine and also works around the globe to support efforts to protect lands and restore fisheries. Mike has a deep passion for working with natural resource users to solve some of the globe’s biggest challenges. Mike will talk about the Conservancy’s efforts to restore groundfish to the Gulf of Maine – one of the most productive marine systems in the world.


Carrie Kinne, TNC speakerOn Friday, September 12, at the YMCA in Bath, Carrie Kinne and Kate Dempsey will lead a talk about, “Merrymeeting Bay: the confluence of two rivers, an ecological and cultural history.” Carrie Kinne joined the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) in October 2008 as Executive Director. Ms. Kinne has closed on nine land projects and has overseen over $100,000 of stewardship projects improving visitor access to and enjoyment of lands with public access. In 2012, Ms. Kinne received a Maine Visionary Award from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute for her “…unmatched passion and commitment to the Kennebec Estuary in Maine.”

Kate Dempsey, TNC speakerKate Dempsey is The Nature Conservancy in Maine’s Director of External Affairs, Kate oversees partnerships and policy development and its implementation in Maine. Much of her day time work involves working closely with Maine’s Congressional Delegation to encourage their support of Nature Conservancy priorities such as passing federal budgets that support conservation and making our communities more resilient to the impacts from climate change. (Kate will speak in back with Carrie Kinne (see above) and introduce the other speakers.)

Carrie Kinne and Kate Dempsey will speak about the ecological history of the Kennebec Estuary and Merrymeeting Bay, the fantastic record of conservation and what it means for the communities that lie within these beautiful natural areas.

 


2014 Route Digest – Chapter 2

July 24, 2014 No Comments

Winthrop

Winthrop is a town in Kennebec County located about 10 miles west of Maine’s capital, Augusta. The town’s population of about 7,000 approximately doubles during the summer when part-year residents return to seasonal camps. The town’s tag line, “We play outside!” is fitting given the abundance of outdoor activities in the water and on land in Winthrop. For 25 years, the Kennebec Land Trust has worked hard to protect the shoreline and develop on-land trails. This year, the Trust is publishing a durable, compact hiking guide featuring 20 of its permanently conserved lands, which will be available in locations across central Maine.

Winthrop was part of the Kennebec Purchase granted by the Plymouth Council for New England. The town was lakecobo_me6settled in 1765 by Timothy Foster and initially was called Pondtown for its lakes and ponds. Today, the commercial downtown sits between Maranacook and Annabessacook Lake. Additionally, Cobbosseecontee Lake is nationally recognized as one of the top bass-fishing lakes in America due to its sizeable largemouth population. The Cobbossee Lighthouse, also known as Ladies Delight Lighthouse, is the only active inland waters lighthouse in Maine.

The town has gradually developed various industries since John Chandler built a sawmill and gristmill in the late 1700s. By 1886, the town had a sawmill that manufactured about 200,000 feet of lumber every year, two oilcloth factories, a sash and blind factory, and a foundry and machine shop. The town was once a stop on the Maine Central Railroad, which carried freight and tourists who helped develop Winthrop into the summer destination it remains today. Winthrop is home to many people who work with and in the Maine government since Augusta, the capital of Maine, is just down the road.

Winthrop also is home to a fantastic summer camp, the YMCA Camp of Maine, where we’ll be spending the night! If you’re a native, you may have had the opportunity to come here for summer camp as a youngster. But, if not, your time has come!   The YMCA Camp of Maine, now a beloved summer camp for children from all over the world, is founded on the YMCA values of caring, ME YMCA Camp Waterfronthonesty, respect and responsibility. As such, many of the campers assume leadership roles not only at camp, but ultimately in their schools and communities as well.

As in the other BikeMaine communities, the BikeMaine Village will be set up at the Y Camp of Maine, but riders also will have the option of sleeping in bunkhouses. A donation of $15/person for this privilege will benefit the ongoing development of programs and facilities at the camp.

During your camp stay, BikeMaine riders will have the opportunity to enjoy various waterfront activities, such as swimming, kayaking and canoeing. For the landlubbers in the group, the camp has open spaces for frisbee and softball games, and wooded areas for hiking and exploring. Pick your pleasure!

For those who prefer to “kick back and relax,” that’s okay, too. Snacks and a beer/wine garden will be available all afternoon. And, for those interested in a massage for those weary muscles, licensed massage therapists will be offering 30-minute sessions for $20.

After dinner, the beer/wine garden will re-open and the Gawler Family Band will sponsor a contra dance for our evening entertainment. Riders can gather around the campfire, tell tales of the day’s ride, and roast s’mores over the open fire. No doubt, you’ll all sleep well… and wake up with lots of energy for Day 3 of the 2014 BikeMaine Ride, which will take you to Gardiner, Maine.


 

Day 3: Winthrop to Gardiner

Don’t look at the map, since you’ll see that we start and end Day 3 day about 20 miles apart, as the crow flies. But if we took the crow’s route, we’d miss much of the beauty found in this region.

After leaving Winthrop, we ride through Readfield up to the Belgrade Lakes region. Today’s route is relatively flat, with no big climbs or variations in terrain, so we can cruise as we head north past Maranacook (mah-RAN-ah cook) Lake. All or most of the names of these bodies of water were given by the Native American inhabitants of Maine, in particular, the Abenaki (ab-NACK-ee). Lake Cobbosseecontee is believed to mean “lake of many sturgeon,” which is a native fish to the area. “Kennebec” means “long, quiet river” and “Sebago” means “big lake.”

The Belgrade Lakes do not take their name from the Abenaki. The land surrounding the lakes was originally owned by the Plymouth Company and was called Washington Plantation. It was first settled in 1774 by Philip Snow from New Hampshire. On February 3, 1796, it was incorporated as Belgrade, named after Belgrade, Serbia. According to the National Geographic Atlas of the World, Revised Sixth Edition, dated 1992, there are only five Belgrades in the entire world. The others are located in Minnesota, Montana and Nebraska. Oddly, all of the American Belgrades are in northern states.

The Belgrade Lakes are a connected chain of lakes of which the largest is Great Pond. Outlets of the ponds provided water power for mills. In Belgrade in 1859, there was a shovel factory and a spool factory, as well as several sawmills and gristmills. By 1886, there were also factories that made rakes, shingles, scythes and boxes. With the arrival of the railroad, Belgrade developed into a tourist resort of fishing, boating and lakeside cottages. The Belgrade Hotel, designed by notable Portland architect, John Calvin Stevens, was built at Belgrade Lakes. The hotel was an example of the grand hotels built at the time, served by passenger trains that brought visitors to the region from the metropolitan areas of the East Coast. Like many of these grand hotels, Belgrade Hotel was destroyed by fire, in this case in October, 1956, two weeks after closing for the season. The town was also an annual summertime destination for the writers E.B. White and Ernest Thompson. The latter’s visits to Great Pond inspired his 1979 play,“On Golden Pond,” which was made into the Academy Award-winning 1981 movie of the same title.

Day 3-1Our route takes us through the town of Belgrade, where we have a rest stop at the Belgrade Central Elementary School (don’t forget to bring a postcard from your hometown to adhere to a map for the students).   We then head north along the western shore of nine-mile long Messalonskee Lake. We ride around the top of the lake and come down the eastern shore to the New England Music Camp where we have lunch. The New England Music Camp (NEMC) is a summer camp for music students ages 11 to 18, located on 200 acres in Sidney.   It was founded in 1937. The camp has facilities for about 200 campers as well as faculty and staff. The NPR radio program, “From the Top,” which features the music of extraordinarily talented young people, was taped here earlier in the summer, and that program is scheduled for broadcast on September 8 at 8 p.m.

After lunch, we head due east for a bit before reaching the Kennebec River in Vasssalboro. Although the Abenaki may have thought of the Kennebec as being long and quiet, for close to two centuries the river has been and remains a focal point of Maine’s economy. From its headwaters in far northern Maine to the Kennebec’s outlet to the sea in Bath (coming up later in BikeMaine), the river dominates commercial and agricultural activity in central Maine. In 1832, the city of Augusta became Maine’s state capital and by 1840, thriving river traffic saw a fleet of schooners traveling weekly between Augusta and Boston.

Lumber became a popular industry after the Revolutionary War. One of the methods of moving cut lumber was to float logs down the Kennebec, resulting in the development of the extremely labor-intensive river driving industry. From 1834 to the last river drive in 1976, lumber was floated down the Kennebec to mills in Southern Maine such as those in Madison, Skowhegan and Augusta. The drives began in the spring at “ice-out” (when a person can traverse an entire body of water even if there is still ice in some areas), however laborers began preparing for the upcoming drive much before that, working in snow and ice.

The Kennebec was first dammed in the 1830s. By the middle of the decade, there were four dams between Skowhegan and Waterville. River towns situated near major falls, like Skowhegan, Waterville, Augusta and Gardiner, harnessed waterpower to run factories, sawmills and textile mills.

Between river towns, the banks of the Kennebec are dotted with farms. Along this section of the Kennebec, agriculture has a long history. Archaeological excavation at Dresden reveals early Native American settlements. The Kennebec Indians were the first to farm the land along the river, growing corn and beans. Farming remains an important part of life in the valley today.

Our last fourteen miles of the day, from Vassalboro to Gardiner, are close to the banks of the Kennebec River. South of Vassalboro lies Augusta, Maine’s capital. The State House, designed by Charles Bullfinch, was opened in 1832. The Governor’s residence, the Blaine House, is a block or two away from the capital. Although Augusta usually is busy with the activity of state government, the Legislature is not in session during our ride and there is an election for the governor’s office this fall, so the city may be a little quieter than usual.

Day 3-2In Augusta, our route moves onto the recently completed “Kennebec River Rail Trail.” The beautiful 8-mile, mostly off-road and paved path meanders through the Capital Region of Maine, moving back onto the roads briefly, as we pass through Hallowell, a town popular with tourists for its culture and architecture. “A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard based on her diary, 1785–1812, ” published in the early 1990s by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, won a Pulitzer Prize and many other awards for recounting the diary of a late 18th century midwife in Hallowell. Today, Hallowell is the home of a world-class GIS software company (Blue Marble Geographics) whose customers in the mining, land survey, oil, gas and other industries span the world.

If you want to take a break from riding, there are many antique and other fun shops for you to visit in this town of about 2,400 – without even veering off route. There’s some historical architecture for you to notice right along Water Street. The Row House, Inc. was incorporated in July 1969 by a small group of citizens who were determined to preserve Hallowell’s rich history as told through its buildings. The first building they purchased was the Gage Block, which had been built in 1846 by Isaac Gage to house Cotton Mill personnel. They applied for federal restoration funds under the National Preservation Act of 1966 and received the first grant awarded in the country under that appropriation.

Row House went on in 1971 to purchase and preserve the Cross Roads building, on the corner of Water and Academy Streets. You can check out the Cross Roads building as you ride down Water Street. You can also notice the Gagne house (which the organization purchased, repaired and sold) at the south end of Water Street. The Row House has also published books, including its latest project, “Dwellings: the unique homes of Hallowell” which celebrates the architectural diversity of dwellings in the small town.

After riding down Water St. in Hallowell, we’ll get back on The Kennebec River Rail Trail until it ends at Gardiner Landing, a gem on the Kennebec River where you will camp for the evening.


 

Gardiner

Welcome to Gardiner!

History and architecture buffs will relish the near-perfectly intact downtown block. Stepping onto historic Water Street is like stepping back into a black and white 1800’s photograph. Gardiner is a historic mill town that has benefited from its proximity to the state capital and access to southern markets via the Interstate system. In another day and time, Gardiner was well known for its ice production. Ice was harvested on the Kennebec beginning in the early 1800s and continuing through the 1920s. Kennebec ice was distributed widely along the eastern seaboard and even shipped to the West Indies. The ice had a high quality since it was clean and harvested a long way from the salty ocean water. During the ice-harvesting heyday (1870-1890), the industry employed 25,000 men, many of whom were involved in agricultural pursuits during ice off-season in the summer.

Gardiner is named after Dr. Silvester Gardiner, a prominent Boston physician who founded the town as Gardinerstown Plantation in 1754. Dr. Gardiner had made a fortune as a drug merchant with one apothecary shop in Massachusetts and two in Connecticut. Dr. Gardiner helped develop several industries in Gardiner, but loyal to the Crown, he fled Boston in 1776 when the British army evacuated. However, his settlement lived on without him was incorporated in 1803 as the town of Gardiner.Coburn mansion

Those of you doing the loop ride will pass, and can ride onto the grounds of, the Gardiner family’s remarkable mansion. The Oakland’s Mansion was built in 1836 on the banks of the Kennebec River. The Gardiner family still owns the property to this day.

Gardiner is in the midst of its 21st century re-birth; visitors will get a great glimpse of a city in the middle of its transformation. The Gardiner community has planned a series of activities that will allow you to be an active participant in this re-birth.

In the afternoon, take a tour of Wicked Whoopies, a 1.5-mile jaunt from the BikeMaine Village.   The Whoopie Pie is a classic Maine treat and will be served as part of our evening meal. For those wanting to walk, a local historian will lead groups along the Edwin Arlington Robinson Tilbury Town walking tour, which highlights the history of Gardiner through the lens of the Pulitzer Prize winning poet from Gardiner. Robinson’s famous works reflect the people and places of Gardiner in the late 19th and early 20th century. His poem “Ballad of a Ship” was published in literary journal The Harvard Advocate when he was a student there. The poem begins:

“Down by the flash of the restless water
The dim White Ship like a white bird lay;
Laughing at life and the world they sought her,
And out she swung to the silvering bay.”

For those wanting to get out on the water, Clark Marine will be offering boat trips on the serene and peaceful tidal Kennebec River. The Kennebec was once fouled by effluent from the industrial past, but has now been restored to a thriving ecosystem for many species, including Gardiner’s mascot, the Atlantic sturgeon. Others may enjoy shopping boutique retailers or stocking up on Water St Gardinernecessary supplies – there is a supermarket and a Renys department store within walking distance of the Village. (Renys’ slogan is “A Maine Adventure” since the business was founded in Damariscotta in 1949 by Robert H. Reny and is still family owned and operated with 16 locations in Maine.) A community service organization in Gardiner will be offering a wash/dry/fold service, with pick-up and delivery right from the BikeMaine Village. Tours will be available in Johnson Hall, Maine’s oldest operating Opera House, slated for historic rehabilitation and a return to its full 400-seat capacity in the next five years.

The evening meal will feature a “Taste of Gardiner.” Local restaurants will serve items from their menus that contain locally sourced products, which have been carefully selected by the Gardiner Food Co-op, a community-owned local foods grocery slated to open later this year. Riders will be encouraged to quench their post-ride thirsts by visiting one or more of the local pubs.

After a busy or lazy afternoon and delicious meal, gather for evening announcements and the side-splitting comedy show “The Early Evening Show,” a spoof of a late-night talk show with special guests, music, skits, and zaniness by Johnson Hall’s own Mike Miclon. We hope you enjoy your stay in historic Gardiner, and look forward to your speedy return!


 

Day 4: Gardiner to Boothbay Harbor

Today offers a great inland ride before we head south to the Atlantic Coast. We start on the west bank of the Kennebec River in Gardiner, cross to the east bank and head inland. As we ride inland today, we’ll see some of the agricultural land of Maine. The state does not have particularly fertile ground, but that has not deterred people from trying. It’s hard country with a short growing season, but generations of families have made their livelihood through agriculture for centuries in this part of the state.

One of the first towns we’ll ride through is Pittston. Located in Kennebec County, Pittston was incorporated in 1779. This is home to one of the original settlements in Maine: the Reuben Colburn House. Built in 1765 by Reuben Colburn, this house in Pittston still stands as testimony to the people who first settled the Kennebec River region of Maine and helped others do the same. Reuben Colburn provided transport, provisions, and critical intelligence to Benedict Arnold’s expeditionary army when it marched through Maine during the American invasion of British-held Canada in 1775-1776. A force of 1,100 soldiers led by Colonel Benedict Arnold began what is now called “Arnold’s March” or the “Arnold Expedition” here on Colburn’s property. George Washington contracted with Colburn to have 200 boats delivered to Arnold, who lodged in Colburn’s house. Colburn assembled a team of craftsmen to build these boats in just two weeks despite a lack of nails and seasoned lumber. Despite his efforts at helping the colonies win independence from Great Britain and financing the Arnold Expedition, Colburn was never repaid. His descendants remained in the house for more than a century. The home was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 28, 2004. The Reuben Colburn House will be open for you to visit on the morning of Sept. 10.

Day 4-1In Dresden, we ride north on Blinn Hill Road. Dresden was settled in 1752 and incorporated in 1794 and is most westerly town in Lincoln County. The town is comprised of two villages: Dresden Mills and West Dresden. At 440 feet above sea level, Blinn’s Hill offers a beautiful view of the White Mountains, more than 100 miles away. Also located in Dresden is the Dresden Bog Reservoir, which is not far from the natural foot of Blinn’s Hill. We’ll come close to the Reservoir as we ride along Blinn Hill Rd.

Next we head north to Whitefield and Jefferson. Whitefield, like many other Maine towns, suffered greatly in the Civil War. In 1860, town records show that there were fewer than 1,000 residents in Whitefield. Of those residents, 117 men enlisted in the Union forces of the Civil War (33 nine-month men, 19 one-year men, 65 three-year men). During the War, the town voted that each man enlisted in the service of the Union should receive $100.00 (nearly $3,000 in 2014 dollars) from the town. Route 126, which Bike Maine crosses today, is also known as the Grand Army Road.

From Grand Army Road, we will turn onto Town House Rd., where there will be a rest stop at the Sheepscot General Store. The store’s slogan is “more than store” and that truly does seem to be the case. The store is situated on a working farm in Whitefield. In addition to groceries, sandwiches, soups and baked goods, the owners offer community events including yoga classes and pizza nights. Sheepscot General also has a Community Supported Agriculture system that connects shareholders and farmers and allows people to invest toward a share of a year’s harvest and in turn receive farm produce credit that can be spent at the store.

Day 4-2The route takes us across the Damariscotta (dam-riss-SKOT-ta) River before we head east in Lincoln County toward Salt Bay, one of the state’s most productive shellfish, alewife, striped bass and smelt fisheries. Though it is traditionally referred to as a river, the Damariscotta is considered by ecologists to be an estuary. The watershed includes at least 25 upland community types, including maritime spruce-fir forests and salt marsh habitats. Additionally, twenty percent of “species of significance” listed in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem are known to inhabit the Damariscotta River estuary. Unusual species like the horseshoe crab and red-bearded sponge were isolated in this area after the last ice age and are important remnants of past ecosystems.

After crossing the river, we’ll continue on Head Tide Road through a small town named Alna. The name was chosen from the Latin word “alnus” for alder since there were many beautiful alder trees growing on the banks of the Sheepscot River, which forms the town’s northwest and southeast borders. The town is just east of the Kennebec River and has a population of about 700. Despite its small size, Alna has significant historical landmarks. The Head Tide Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is a small village on both sides of the Sheepscot that has been described as a “small, picturesque river community with many excellent examples of well-preserved 19th century buildings.” These include the birthplace of poet Edwin Arlington Robinson and the Old Alna Meetinghouse (built in 1789).

Day 4-3We next pass through Damariscotta Mills, a village located in the towns of Nobleboro and Newcastle, and settled in 1729. Here you can check out the location of Maine’s oldest fish ladder. A fish ladder has a series of pools built like steps that allow fish to bypass a dam or waterfall. The towns of Nobleboro and Newcastle built the ladder in 1807 at the state’s request after mills had blocked the alewives’ passage to the Damariscotta Lake for almost a century. After two centuries of use, the fish ladder was rebuilt in 2007, which has been beneficial to the Damariscotta River alewife industry. Alewives are an important part of the food chain and contribute to the health of the marine environments where they spawn. Local lobstermen also use alewives as fresh bait in the spring. Newcastle and Nobleboro have harvested alewives since 1700s. They continue to do so, carefully balancing conservation and economic goals. You can learn more about the fish ladder and its importance to the region in this video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAJMKWEDbgE

After leaving Damariscotta, we cross U.S. Route 1 in Newcastle. One notable landmark in Newcastle is Frances Perkins’ family’s 57-acre homestead on the Damariscotta River, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Frances Perkins was the first woman to serve in a U.S. Cabinet, an important advisor to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and a lifelong advocate for social justice and economic security. She helped develop groundbreaking New Deal programs, including the 40-hour work week, Social Security and the minimum wage. The Frances Perkins Center (which was incorporated in 2009) is headquartered in Damariscotta,and seeks to acquire and preserve the family homestead in Newcastle. We’ll stop for a lunch break on the water at the Second Congregational Church in Newcastle. After resting and refueling, we’ll head down a peninsula on the west bank of the Damariscotta River to Boothbay Harbor. Along the way, we’ll pass the Dodge Point Public Reserve: 500 acres and 8,000 feet of frontage on the tidal waters of the Damariscotta River. This site attracts families year-round for its natural beauty and human history (including an old mill site and brickyard, cellar holes and rock walls).

Now you can breathe and even taste the ocean air. You’ve made it to our destination tonight: Boothbay Harbor, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

 

 

 

 


BikeMaine Guest Blogger – Mike McDermott

June 26, 2014 1 Comment

Note: This is the first in a series of blog posts by our guest blogger and Portland Press Herald BikeMaine 2014 contest winner, Mike McDermott.  Mike will be blogging throughout the summer, sharing his experiences as he prepares and trains for BikeMaine 2014.

Greetings… My Name is Mike McDermott, and I am very excited to have won the Portland Press Herald’s BikeMaine 2014 contest and to have this chance at what sounds like an incredible cycling experience. The people at BikeMaine have invited me to share a little of my story and experience with the ride, so here goes…

Mike-McDermott

Mike McDermott, Portland Press Herald BikeMaine 2014 contest winner.

A little about me: I’ve lived in Maine now for about 25 years, but I grew up in Hawaii, with a bout of grad school in Boston in between. People always ask “How does a guy from Hawaii end up in Maine?” The short answer is “I married a girl from Bath” so it probably isn’t surprising that I currently live in Bath, but lived in Portland for quite a few years before that. I’m a librarian – I work in the library at Bowdoin College where I focus mostly on electronic resources, digital projects, e-books, online database – all that fun stuff. Before Bowdoin I was a Reference Librarian at USM.

I’ve always been more a utility cyclist than a touring cyclist. The vast majority of my lifetime cycling miles have been between my home(s) and a school or job. My commute in Boston was great – I had a big heavy single speed cruiser at the time, and my morning ride was just about all downhill. I’d arrive windblown and exhilarated, but not panting or sweaty. (The ride home was a different story). When I moved to Portland I upgraded to a 5 speed cruiser that I used to ride between Portland and Gorham. I rode that bike for over 20 years including many years commuting between Bath and Brunswick (in the summertime) for work.

Mikes-Bike

What parking shortage on Campus?

My current bike is a “Miyata Quick Cross” which, through the power of the internet, I’ve identified as a 1990 model, making it only a couple of years newer than the one it replaced (which I’d been riding for two decades). But, it was either meticulously maintained, or barely ridden in that time (I believe the latter). It seems to be a good compromise between a lighter faster road bike and a solid steady work bike. It is what I’m planning to ride on the BikeMaine ride, though my son has offered to lend me his more traditional (and modern) road bike. So part of my Summer training will be evaluating the two and deciding which way to go.

Thanks again to the Portland Press Herald for sponsoring the contest that has put me on this road, and to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine for organizing the event.  I look forward to sharing more of my Summer of cycling as it unfolds.


BIKEMAINE – THE RIDE THAT CHANGED OUR LIVES (A BikeMaine Love Story)

June 2, 2014 No Comments

Written by Patrick Fellion, Inaugural BikeMaine Rider #192

Patrick met Monica in Orono, Maine on September 7, 2013 – the first day of the inaugural BikeMaine event, a 400-mile-long supported ride organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.

Discovering The Inaugural BikeMaine

For me, it all started when a friend told me about his plans to participate in a long distance supported ride in Colorado. Although I had never done anything of the sort, I became enamored with the con-cept and began looking for a ride a bit closer to my home base in northeastern Pennsylvania that promised to be filled with adventure. I found a few potential options out there, but when I discov-ered the prospect of exploring the great state of Maine by bike, I knew BikeMaine was the ride for me!

So what brought Monica to Maine? Well, she had signed up to compete in IronMan Cozumel 140.6 in December 2013 and was looking for something fun and unique to incorporate some saddle time into her training agenda. One day she was on the Boston Triathlon Team forum and stumbled upon a post in which someone had mentioned BikeMaine and thought it was interesting. After a bit of research and deliberation, she signed up, took the time off, and ended up in Orono on a beautiful Saturday afternoon the week after Labor Day.

Adventures Along The Way

As fate would have it, we both kind of procrastinated and left our respective locations (me – Portland, her – Boston) a bit later than we had hoped and arrived in Orono about the same time toward the tail end of registration. I didn’t want to miss the welcome ceremony and dinner, so I quickly dropped my bags in the camping area and took my car to the off-site parking lot. As I boarded the shuttle back to the BikeMaine village I had my choice of seats; there were only two other riders in the van. I’m usual-ly pretty shy, but I sat down next to the girl wearing an IronMan Florida shirt and struck up a conver-sation.

As the week progressed, we ended up riding together quite a bit, getting to know each other more and more as we churned out the miles and ate up the scenery (and many, many yummy home-made baked treats!) along the way. Of course, we struck up new friendships with other BikeMainers too, but tended to gravitate toward each other while riding, enjoying meals, and exploring the towns and events in each host community.

BMLove1When the riders arrived in Bar Harbor after pedaling about 275 miles and climbing over 17,000 feet in four days, everyone was looking forward to having a day to stretch out and relax. BikeMaine couldn’t have picked a better location to stage our ‘Rest Day’. As the gateway to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is an interesting little community that offered plenty of opportunity to find a great meal, browse at a myriad of unique shops, or visit any number of historical venues. For some, the rest day was exactly that – a day to sleep in, read a book, do laundry, or casually explore the town.

But we had other plans – rest, who needs rest?! Ha! We wanted to experience all that Mount Desert Island could offer and squeeze it into one day; I think we did a pretty good job! We started out at 5:00 a.m. with a BikeMaine organized ride up Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise. Following the climb (and subsequent thrilling descent), Monica and I were off on our own and embarked on a ride of the Park Loop Road. Along the way, we got off our bikes and hiked the Precipice Trail, watched waves crash into the Thunder Hole, and had what we now call our official “first date” at the Jordan Pond House. We returned to the BikeMaine village with little time to spare before our guided sea-kayaking tour of Frenchman Bay. The day culminated in a most excellent Maine lobster dinner and a nighttime walk across the exposed gravel bar at low tide to Bar Island where we made our way to an overlook that provided a beautiful and romantic view of the starlit harbor. Needless to say, our ‘Rest Day’ was exhausting – but in the best way possible.

BMLove2

 

The End Of The Ride Approaches

We were in no hurry during the last two days of BikeMaine. In fact, I think we were just about the last riders to break camp in both Bar Harbor and Camp Jordan. Even though it rained both days, we were fairly oblivious to the sogginess because our spirits were glowing as we knew in our hearts that some-thing special had begun. As we approached the finish line in Orono a week after we met, I said to her “Give me your hand.” She presented it to me and we triumphantly held our hands high above our heads as we coasted under the black bear and crossed the finish line, all the while grinning ear to ear. Although I had some anxiety about how the ride would end, that anxiety was for naught. Looking back, I find it amusing that many of the other people we met and chatted with on the ride assumed we were a couple from day one. I guess we were kind of giving off an aura right from the start.

Where Have We Been And Where Are We Headed?

What have we been up to in those short eight months since the inaugural BikeMaine? Well, for start-ers, we’ve done a couple of century rides, attended a wedding, a memorial service, trained for my first marathon, skied, and taken trips to Cozumel, Mexico; Charleston, South Carolina; Quebec City, Canada; and, Washington D.C. The list goes on.

Where are we headed? Quite honestly, wherever the road takes us. We have a ton of stuff planned for the summer so far – weddings, rides, career changes, and the beginning of a new life together.

Who knew a 400-mile-long bike ride was going to change our lives forever? I sure didn’t. Neither did Monica. All I have to say is the inaugural BikeMaine ride set into motion the most important journey of our lives. Monica, I want the whole world to know that I love you.


Read what people are saying about 3 Tides, they host our BikeMaine beer garden at the end of riding day two!

August 8, 2013 No Comments

Bar Guide: In Belfast, Three Tides puts the fun in ‘funky’

The quirky atmosphere is helped along by the rustic appeal of the outdoor seating area.

By SUSAN S. AXELROD

Three Tides biergarten in Belfast is not for everyone. It’s not where you’d take your fussy aunt for a perfect martini (although the affable Seth Whited could almost certainly make her happy at Three Tides’ indoor bar), or anyone who can’t understand why old bus station benches and upended logs make for fine outdoor furniture.  Click here to read more!

 


Is your state represented?

May 31, 2013 No Comments

BikeMaine currently has riders registered from 31 states and provinces.

Is your state represented?

Let’s fill in the map! Please share with friends and check out the website for more information now.

http://ride.bikemaine.org/

BikeMap Rider Map

 

 

 

 


What are you doing to get yourself into shape for BikeMaine?

May 20, 2013 No Comments

Share with us (In the comments below) your training plan for a multi-day ride and be entered into a drawing to win a BikeMaine Inaugural Coffee Mug!   E-mail a photo of you training, along with your training plan to ride@bikemaine.org, for a second chance to win.  The drawing for the mug will be at noon on Friday, May 24th.

There’s plenty of time to get yourself ready for BikeMaine, September 7-14.   Register now!

http://bikemaine.eventbrite.com/

BikeMaine Mug

 


BikeMaine makes top 5 list, have you registered yet?

May 8, 2013 No Comments
registernow

Haven’t registered yet?

Don’t miss your chance to register! BikeMaine is picking up steam, as we prepare for your arrival at Orono High School in less than 4 months.

BikeMaine has gotten some great mentions in the last two weeks:

  • A look at six new reasons to visit Maine.  Also mentioned is the Schoodic Education and Research Center Institute that will be available for our riders to visit on the lay-over day in Bar Harbor.  Six new reasons to visit Maine
  • A top five list of state bicycle tours, happening all over the country.  BikeMaine makes the list!  Two-wheeled state tours

2017 Ride Details

Click here for more information about the 2017 BikeMaine Route! Read More

Merchandise

Want to own a piece of BikeMaine? Check out our all new merchandise here

Route Archive

Recreate the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Rides with Route and Community details. Read More

Stories from the road