As beautiful as riding in Maine is, and as welcoming is the camaraderie of the BikeMaine ride is, I suspect some who are interested in the ride are put off by the notion of “camping” at the BikeMaine Village each night. While I have camped, backpacked and slept on ¾ backpacking mats for most of my life, I am of an age where I do like a comfortable bed at the end of the day. And so I wondered how a week sleeping “on the ground” would go.
In short, it went great. I took a standard, good quality, 2 1/2 inch inflatable air mattress (easily blown up by breathing), on top of which I rolled out a full length 1 “ foam pad, on top of which rested my ever-so soft sleeping bag. A small pillow rounded out the arrangement. It was very comfortable and I slept very well. All of this stuff rolled up easily into one of my two duffles, along with some other stuff.
Other riders had other approaches, from sophisticated air mattress systems, to very light and portable “cots” that got them off the ground a bit, to a simple roll out mat. There are many ways to get comfortable while sleeping out.
I also opted for the tent and porter service, which has several advantages. First, the LL Bean tents provided are very roomy for two people. There is plenty of space for two people to spread out and for your gear as well. It is also delightful to ride into the BikeMaine Village each day and find your tent set up and your duffle delivered to it. Even nicer in the morning, as you simply leave your bags at the tent door, hop on your bike and go.
And, by the way, if you need to take a stroll to the bathroom in the middle of the night, they are never far away and you will likely see a beautiful starry sky along the way.
Jeff White has ridden in both BikeMaine events (2013 and 2014). He had so much fun in 2013, that he joined the BikeMaine Ride Committee to assist with the planning of the 2014 route. Jeff again has been hard at work with other members of the route committee to development the 2015 route and is looking forward to again riding BikeMaine in 2015!