Every day of BikeMaine 2013 is a celebration … and each day’s route is an adventure. Here’s what you’ll want to know, one day at a time.
Welcome Day | Saturday, 9/7/13
We gather on Saturday, Sept. 7 in Orono, home to the flagship campus of the University of Maine, and a town in full celebration mode welcoming students back with Festival Day. Take a spin after setting up your tent to make sure your bike is ready to go (mechanics are available) and then kick back with a specially brewed BikeMaine beer, meet your new biking companions and join in the festivities.
Day 1 | Sunday, 9/8/13
You Can Get There From Here
- Orono to Dover-Foxcroft
- 70 miles (a modified route of 61 miles is available)
- Flat early then a series of short hills
- 3,495 feet elevation gain
The ride starts through the University of Maine campus and then traverses Maine’s first official bicycle trail, connecting Orono to Old Town. After passing along the Penobscot River we head west on the flattest terrain of the entire ride. We’ll have lunch in Milo, the “town of three rivers.” As we approach the highlands, short hills come in waves and the views open north toward Katahdin. Then it’s on to Dover-Foxcroft via Brownville and Sebec over a series of hills. The final ten miles gently flow along the Piscataquis River.
Day 2 | Monday, 9/9/13
From Mountain to Sea … Eventually
- Dover-Foxcroft to Belfast
- 69 miles (a modified route of 62 miles is available)
- Small hills, punctuated by a few attention-grabbers
- 4,806 elevation gain
We start south through the heart of interior central Maine. Mostly small hills characterize today’s route, with periodic interruption by several significant climbs – and descents. We’ll ride through rural communities like Garland, Stetson and North Dixmont on our way to Belfast. Lunch is in tiny Dixmont, and we’ll camp for the night alongside Penobscot Bay.
Day 3 | Tuesday, 9/10/13
Penobscot Bay Pedal Into History
- Belfast to Castine
- 73 miles (a modified route of 52 miles is available)
- The most challenging ride of the week
- 5,202 feet elevation gain
By the numbers, this is the most challenging day of the week, with spectacular scenery to balance and boost spirits. We spend the first 23 miles on U.S. Route One with its wide shoulders and little early morning traffic. First stop is historic Fort Knox on the Penobscot River and the new Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory (tallest public bridge observatory in the world at 420 ft. and a must see). We leave Route One to explore one of Maine’s best kept secrets – the Blue Hill Peninsula. Lunch is in Blue Hill. The sea level and elevated coastal views on the second half of this day’s route will take your breath away. As you arrive in Castine, be ready for a memorable welcome. Camp tonight is within the boundaries of historic Fort George.
Day 4 | Wednesday, 9/11/13
Roll with the Rusticators
- Castine to Bar Harbor
- 62 miles
- Rolling hills
- 3,870 feet elevation gain
We leave historic Castine and cut east across the Blue Hill Peninsula — new roads and vistas, and same rolling terrain that forms the granite backbone of this area. The route skirts downtown Ellsworth and follows the Union River and Bay before cutting over to Trenton and onto Mt. Desert Island. On MDI, we take some less traveled roads before joining a portion of the Park Loop Road where we will make a final climb with great views of Frenchman Bay and Bar Harbor before descending into town for a much-deserved two night stay close to the heart of the village.
Day 5 (REST DAY) | Thursday, 9/12/13
So Many Choices, So Little Time
- Bar Harbor layover
- As many miles as you want -or none at all
- Optional Ride – Cadillac Mountain Ascent (Acadia National Park), Schoodic Point scamper or the full Park Loop Road
Consider starting your “rest” day with a ride up Cadillac Mountain to catch sunrise. After breakfast in town, you can choose to hop on a mountain bike (local discount rentals have been arranged) to ride the remarkable Carriage Trails (click here for a map) of Acadia National Park; travel by boat with your own bike to Schoodic Point and ride along this northern section of Acadia National Park; or stay on Mount Desert Island and ride the beautiful Park Loop Road with a stop at Jordan Pond for lunch. So many great ride options … or stay off your bike completely, shop in Bar Harbor, hike the many trails in Acadia, sea kayak (generously provided courtesy of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine) or whale watch. The day ends with a classic lobster bake at a former private estate on the water in Bar Harbor.
Day 6 | Friday, 9/13/13
- Bar Harbor to Bangor YMCA’s Camp Jordan (Ellsworth, ME)
- 69 miles
- Gentle rolls on mostly quiet roads
- 3,808 feet elevation gain
This is a reasonably flat day (for Maine) traveling off Mount Desert Island on a different and quieter route, then onto busy Route 3 for approximately five miles before returning to rural roads. We’ll have a short section on U.S. Route One to Sullivan before heading away from the coast in lakes country. Lunch is in Eastbrook. Our final ten miles today is on Route 1A before we head into Bangor YMCA’s Camp Jordan for all sorts of activities alongside Branch Lake.
Day 7 | Saturday, 9/14/13
Giddy-up to Orono
- Bangor YMCA’s Camp Jordan (Ellsworth, ME) to Orono
- 57 miles
- A victory lap ride
- 2900 feet elevation gain
After all our miles this week, today will seem like a warm up ride (almost). After leaving camp and skirting Ellsworth, we travel up the west side of picturesque Graham Lake before heading across country on rural roads past places like the Springy Ponds. We’ll cycle a short stretch on Route 9 that is low speed and less hilly than the rest of the Airline (with one notable exception). We then follow the Penobscot River upstream from Eddington to Old Town for the final spin into Orono and a celebratory harvest lunch.
Congratulations – you’ve just made history and completed the inaugural BikeMaine!