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…
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.
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.