Media & News


Bike Maine comes to the Mid-coast

September 6, 2014 Blog, Uncategorized Comments Off on Bike Maine comes to the Mid-coast


2014-08-29 / Ticket
BY GINA HAMILTON Times Record Staff

BATH

Be on the lookout for bicycles in the roadway.

During the week of September 6 – 13, BikeMaine will be visiting our region, with 350 riders visiting WestbrookWinthrop,GardinerBoothbay Harbor, and Bath, and a lot of communities in between. Bath is one of six host communities on this year’s route, which begins and ends in Westbrook. Riders departing from Boothbay Harbor on day 6 of the tour will spend the night in Bath before leaving for Westbrook on the final leg of the course. The library was pleased to be asked to participate in Bike Maine by showing a film.

BikeMaine is an event sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, the state’s leading bicycle advocacy group with over 5,000 members. The coalition supports bicycles as part of sustainable community development, and encourages bike routes and paths to make Maine a better place to cycle.

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BikeMaine Weather Update #2

September 6, 2014 Blog, Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine Weather Update #2


Our friends at the National Weather Service in Gray are telling us that Westbrook will be dry through mid afternoon today and that then begin seeing rain around 3:00.   Thunderstorms and gusting winds are expected to begin by 4:00 p.m. and continue until around 8:00 p.m., when the storm will move offshore.

Dinner will take place from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., as planned, but it probably will be moved indoors to the American Legion Hall. It will be followed by the Opening Announcements and Welcome, and then North of Nashville will heat up the hall with some lively music until 9:00 p.m.  By the time North of Nashville is done making us tap our toes, the skies should be clear and stay clear through Tuesday.

Come on down!  BikeMaine looks forward to welcoming you at registration between 1:00 and 3:00 today, and between 6:00 and 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Be lined up and ready to begin riding Day 1 of BikeMaine at 7:45 a.m. Sunday morning.


BikeMaine Weather Alert! Saturday Schedule Updates

September 5, 2014 Blog, Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine Weather Alert! Saturday Schedule Updates


We want to alert you to a major weather system that our friends in the local National Weather Service Station are advising us on. There is a strong likelihood that a storm system will be coming into the area tomorrow in the mid-afternoon, with high winds and heavy thundershowers. The system is expected to last until 8:00 p.m., with scattered storms continuing throughout the night.  Your safety, and the safety of our volunteers, is our number one priority. To that end, we are altering the registration and check-in process as follows:

  • Registration: Registration on Saturday will take place between 1:00 and 3:00 pm only. It will be in the American Legion Hall on Dunn Street as originally planned. Registration will also take place on Sunday morning, from 6:00 to 7:30 a.m., again in the American Legion Hall. We will have shuttle service between the long term parking at IDEXX, approximately 1.5 miles away, and the BikeMaine Village from 6:00 to 7:45 a.m.
  • Saturday Afternoon Activities: Afternoon activities being offered in Westbrook are still on. We will make decisions first thing tomorrow morning about any necessary cancellations, once we have updated weather information.
  • Dinner: Dinner will take place from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., as planned, but it probably will be moved indoors to the American Legion Hall. It will be followed by the Opening Announcements and Welcome, and then North of Nashville will heat up the hall with some lively music until 9:00 p.m.
  • Sleeping Accommodations: The American Legion and one or more additional nearby spaces will be open for riders and volunteers to spread out their pads and bags and sleep indoors. We encourage people who live in the area to spend the night in their own beds and come to Westbrook on Sunday morning.
  • Sunday Morning: All forecasts call for the weather to clear by Sunday morning. The schedule will move forward as originally planned, with breakfast opening at 6:00, and line up for the mass start to be at 7:50 with a group photo, and everyone set to begin the first day of riding at 8:00 a.m.

We will provide further information on this page, Facebook and Twitter.


THE RIDE HASN’T EVEN STARTED AND I ALREADY DON’T WANT IT TO END (MaineToday.com)

September 5, 2014 Blog, Uncategorized Comments Off on THE RIDE HASN’T EVEN STARTED AND I ALREADY DON’T WANT IT TO END (MaineToday.com)


This article originally appeared on MaineToday.com

Bike(Maine) with Mike with Mike McDermott
Posted: September 5, 2014

 

Tomorrow is the big day!

I’m so excited that the start of BikeMaine 2014 is just one day away. I’ve been looking forward to this all summer. It has been hard not to wish time away in the meantime, so I’m glad that this is finally happening.

Physically, I go back and forth between feeling highly confident and wondering what the heck I’ve gotten myself into. I know doing 60 miles in a day isn’t going to be a problem for me. But, then I think of doing another 60 miles the NEXT day and I pause. And then day 3 comes along and there is another leg
to cover… This will be a totally new experience for me. My plan, especially at the beginning, is to take it easy, stop at all the rest stops and scenic sites, and try to enjoy every minute. I’m sure there are any number of motivational quotations about life
being the journey, not the destination – that is going to be my guiding BikeMaine philosophy.

Click here to read more.


BikeMaine and Local Advocates Create Bikeable Communities

September 4, 2014 Blog, Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine and Local Advocates Create Bikeable Communities


Over the course of a week, BikeMaine visits six host communities who provide a welcoming atmosphere and a plethora of services and amenities for our riders.  But the occasion offers much more to each community than just hosting the riders. Local advocates have capitalized on the energy and attention that BikeMaine will bring to the community in order to bring about lasting improvements for local biking and walking access and safety. Over the course of 2014, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has worked one-on-one with local bicycle, pedestrian, and trail advocates in Westbrook, Norway, Boothbay Harbor, Gardiner, and Bath to help elevate their local causes in advance of the ride.

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BikeMaine GPS Files

September 4, 2014 Blog, Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine GPS Files


We’re happy to announce that the BikeMaine 2014 GPS routes are now online and can be viewed and downloaded here.

Each day’s maps are broken out as separate routes, with the additional route extensions also in separate files.  To download a GPX or TCX file, click on the day’s ride, then click “Export Route”

We’re grateful to the good folks at Strava for helping us set this up.  If you happen to be a member of Strava, please join the BikeMaine “Club” so everyone can track your progress.  If you’re not a member, check it out!


My first time on a multi-day ride: Looking forward to BikeMaine 2014

September 4, 2014 Blog, Uncategorized Comments Off on My first time on a multi-day ride: Looking forward to BikeMaine 2014


This is the first in a series of posts by Portland Press Herald content winner Mike McDermott.

Mikes-BikeMy 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. When I saw the announcement of the contest on twitter it seemed like such a long-shot, but it sounded so cool I just had to enter. It is hard to believe now that the ride is just a few days away.

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.

Click here to read more.


Teacher to test her limits to set example for students (WCSH6)

September 4, 2014 Blog, Uncategorized Comments Off on Teacher to test her limits to set example for students (WCSH6)


 

This story originally appeared on WCSH6.com

WATERVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The 2nd Annual BikeMaine Ride kicks-off in Westbrook this weekend, with more than 250 cyclists setting out on a 350 mile journey across Maine.

Gi Reed has been preparing for the week-long ride since a snowy day in early February, when she sat down and wrote a letter to her principal explaining why she felt taking part in the ride would benefit not only herself, but her students.

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Help welcome BikeMaine with donation

September 4, 2014 Blog, Uncategorized Comments Off on Help welcome BikeMaine with donation


Proceeds from food sales benefit BRHS class of 2015 Project Graduation
Posted:  Thursday, September 4, 2014 – 10:30am

The Boothbay Region High School class of 2015 is beginning to raise funds for its Project Graduation trip in June 2015.

Next week, class members and parents will be selling food at the BRHS Booster Club’s Snack Shack on Sherman Field to the participants in the BikeMaine event on Sept. 10-12.

But in order to pull it off, they need some help in the form of food donations and paper products.

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BikeMaine 2014 – Schedule of Activities

August 29, 2014 Blog, Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine 2014 – Schedule of Activities


As promised in the August Newsletter, we want to help you make the most of your BikeMaine vacation by providing you in advance of the week with a schedule of activities in the Host Communities.  On any day, you can decide if you want to focus your time on the route, stopping to see things along the way, or push through to the next Host Community if there is something in town you want to experience.  It is all up to you!

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For five hours, a Main Street promenade

August 28, 2014 Blog, Uncategorized Comments Off on For five hours, a Main Street promenade


This article originally appeared in the American Journal.

Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014 2:02 pm | Updated: 2:04 pm, Thu Aug 28, 2014.

WESTBROOK – For the first time in Westbrook, an open-streets event will take over the downtown next Saturday, Sept. 6, as a way to raise awareness for downtowns as pedestrian friendly for biking and walking, and to promote exercise.

The event, organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, will lead up to the organization’s marquee event known as BikeMaine, which selected Westbrook as this year’s host city. A group of some 300 riders will camp in Riverbank Park Saturday night, and leave Sunday morning on a weeklong, 348-mile trek around the state. The ride will end in Westbrook on Saturday, Sept. 13.

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350 cyclists coming to Boothbay Harbor

August 14, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments


Posted:  Thursday, August 14, 2014 – 5:00pm
BikeMaine, a seven-day bike tour created by the Bicycling Coalition of Maine, will be rolling into Boothbay Harbor around noon on September 10.The map showing BikeMaine’s journey. The route includes 348 miles of biking over seven nights. Courtesy of BikeMaine

BikeMaine, a seven-day bike tour created by the Bicycling Coalition of Maine, will be rolling into Boothbay Harbor around noon on September 10.

Others stops on the route include Westbrook, Winthrop, Gardiner, Bath and Norway; but Boothbay Harbor is the group’s only overnight destination.

Around 350 cyclists are expected to take part.

“There will be a lot of support gear, tents and shower hookups and even a massage area for the cyclists,” Town Manager Tom Woodin said. “We are setting up on the high school field as it was the only area large enough to accommodate the group.”

On Wednesday night the group will be on their own for activities and dinner (get ready, local restaurants!).

Thursday morning, the cyclists will wake up to complimentary coffee and donuts at the school’s “Snack Shack,” and will get a list of activities to do in the region including visiting Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, renting a kayak from Tidal Transit, shopping downtown, taking a cruise, visiting the Railway Village, etc. There is no scheduling, the cyclists can take their pick.

Between 5 and 7 p.m., the cyclists will be treated to a lobster bake in the footbridge parking lot, being coordinated by Darlene French. The lobster bake is only open to the cyclists from BikeMaine.

Because of the scale of this event, which includes an 80 by 100-foot tent set up for the cyclists to eat under, the footbridge parking lot will be closed the entire day of September 11.

After the lobster bake there will be a free concert at the Opera House with the Holy Mackerels and The Boneheads from 7 to 9 p.m. The concert is open for anyone to attend.

The cyclists will only be riding into town as far as the high school field, and will use a shuttle service to get around. The shuttle will run every hour through town, and visit CMBG every three hours. Since the cyclists will be leaving their often very expensive, high quality bikes at the field, Boothbay Harbor is providing security there.

Friday morning the cyclists will be treated to a full breakfast before they head off to Bath, the next leg of their trip.

“They ride around 60 miles a day,” Woodin said. “Last year they rode farther, but the group realized that when that happened the cyclists were too tired to take in the towns they visited.”

Woodin said that last year he watched a segment on the news about BikeMaine’s trip, and found it fascinating. When he was contacted by BikeMaine in September of 2013 about possibly including Boothbay Harbor on this year’s route, he was thrilled.

“The representatives came down, and I personally took them around and showed them all our town has to offer,” Woodin said. “I’m so pleased we were chosen to be on their route this year. It’s going to be a blast. It will bring so much revenue to the town.

“How often does our town get a shot in the arm like this, 300 extra people, in September, when the season is winding down?”

 

Related: BikeMarine 2014 will roll in Boothbay Harbor


BikeMaine Guest Blogger – Cycling in September

August 8, 2014 Uncategorized 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 Uncategorized 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 Uncategorized 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 Uncategorized 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 Uncategorized 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 Uncategorized 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 Uncategorized 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 Uncategorized 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.


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