NEWS

Maine DOT Renews Bicycle Coalition of Maine Contract for Statewide Pedestrian Safety Forums, Education Efforts


Bicycle Coalition of Maine Assistant Director Jim Tassé makes a presentation on safety at a Heads Up Pedestrian Safety Forum in Rockland on Dec. 7, 2017. (Photo by Stephen Betts for Village Soup.)

The Maine Department of Transportation has renewed the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s contract to facilitate the Head’s Up Pedestrian Safety Planning effort.

Our role in this effort emerged out of, and continues to build on, the strong working relationship between the Coalition and the MaineDOT—which is key to getting on the ground improvements to walking and bicycling conditions.

The Heads Up! Pedestrian Safety Project, part of MDOT’s Strategic Plan to address the dramatic rise in pedestrian fatal outcomes, reaches people who live and work in 21 Maine communities 21 communities with large populations and high numbers of pedestrian crashes. The project features public forums on how infrastructure changes and education can improve safety, as well as site visits to help the towns plan for possible roadway design changes.

We facilitated 15 of these meetings in 2017, in communities throughout Maine; six more are in development.

The next Heads Up Pedestrian Safety forum will be in Brunswick on April 18, from 6pm-8pm, and includes a Q&A session, a presentation from the Bicycle Coalition about pedestrian safety and risk, an open mic opportunity to share concerns and opinions, and workgroups to identify problem areas in Brunswick

We’ll post the dates and locations for additional upcoming forums as soon as they’ve been finalized.

The Heads Up forums represent the first segment of a five-part project that, when finished, will yield a State Pedestrian Safety Plan that includes specific recommendations to the MaineDOT and the municipalities about how to improve pedestrian conditions.

The Coalition will also be a key partner in developing new educational resources for use across Maine, including presentations at schools and worksites, bike rodeos and rides, and riding and mechanical classes.

We’ll be doing this work – working to make Maine better for biking and walking – throughout 2018 and into 2019.

 

 

Bold Support for BikeMaine


BikeMaine 2017 riders drinking Bold Coast Coffee in Skowhegan, Maine.

A pair of BikeMaine 2017 riders enjoy some Bold Coast Coffee on Day One of BikeMaine 2017 in Skowhegan, Maine.

Cyclists and coffee have a long and storied history together because, for a cyclist, coffee is critical.

We get that, and when we were planning BikeMaine 2016: Discover the Bold Coast, we knew we needed a source for coffee, preferably local, who got it, too – and could provide coffee for 450 people for a week! So when we found a coffee roaster in East Machias who not only got that connection, but actually embraced it, we were ecstatic.

BikeMaine is a week-long, rolling celebration of Maine’s people, places, culture and food; Bold Coast Coffee is the only specialty coffee roaster on the Bold Coast. They feature rare and affordable, responsibly sourced beans from the finest Central and South American farms (including their own farm in Tarrazu) and they create some amazing blends – such as a custom blend for BikeMaine called BikeMaine Peaks.

“Bicycling is such a dynamic and personal way to truly experience a region,” Troy Quimby, Bold Coast Coffee founder and CEO, said. “When the Coalition announced that the BikeMaine 2016 ride would be ‘Discover the Bold Coast’, we just knew it was something we wanted to support.”

Support is one thing. What we got from Bold Coast Coffee was something else altogether.

In addition to donating a week-long supply of coffee for 450 riders and crew, 24/7, Bold Coast Coffee also offered to contribute 50 cents from the sale of every pound of the BikeMaine Peaks to fund our ongoing, statewide work to make Maine better for biking and walking.

Bold Coast Coffee mugs ready to go at BikeMaine 2016: Discover The Bold Coast.

And, lo and behold, a few days ago this message hit our email inbox:

Bold Coast is very happy to present BikeMaine with our … $0.50 per pound donation … a check for $704.50. Thank you for all the wonderful things you and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine are doing for our state.

Best,

Troy Quimby

Thank you, Bold Coast Coffee, for your support. We couldn’t ask for a better partner. You were with us at BikeMaine 2016: Discover the Bold Coast. You were with us at BikeMaine 2017: Pathway to the Peaks; and we’re glad to have you on board again for BikeMaine 2018: Acadia in the St. John Valley in Aroostook County. See you there.

The BikeMaine Peaks roast is still available at www.BoldCoastCoffee.com, but will only be for a few more months, when they will debut the 2018 offering. (It’s rumored to be something French.) In the meantime, enjoy 20 percent off site-wide using code BikeMaine17.

 

Presenting Your 2018 Bicycle Coalition of Maine Award Winners!


At our Kickoff Party on Saturday, Feb. 3, we announced the winners of our 2018 Annual Awards, honoring nine Maine individuals and organizations for their commitment to making the state a better place for cyclists and pedestrians in 2017.

“The people we’re recognizing with these awards represent what is best about cycling in Maine,” Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director John Williams said. “Their commitment to their communities, and to making Maine a safer and better place for both cyclists and walkers, deserves not only to be recognized, but celebrated. We are proud to honor their efforts.”

 

This year’s award winners are:

  • Nate Davis and Matt Ondra: Sally Jacobs Community Spokesperson Award – named after the legendary bicycle advocate from Orono and awarded to a local advocate who has made a significant difference to biking and walking in their community. Davis and Ondra received the award for their work to make Rockland better for biking and walking. They built relationships with town officials, and worked with them to put sharrows on the road and plan bike lanes for roads when they are due for re-paving or reconstruction. They continue to advocate on behalf of Rockland pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Nancy Grant: Jeff Miller Spirit of Cycling Award – honoring the first executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and awarded to a Mainer who demonstrates Jeff’s joy in all aspects of biking. Grant received the award for her passion for bicycling and her desire to make cycling accessible to all people in Maine. Her 12 years of work with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, including seven years as Executive Director, demonstrate her unfaltering dedication to spreading the joy of bicycling to all.
  • Julie French: Next Generation Award – awarded to a person who instills a love, interest, and appreciation of bikes in the next generation, French received the award for her work as a bicycle and pedestrian safety instructor in Aroostook County, where she has creatively helped thousands of students learn the rules of the road and empowered them to bike and walk safely.
  • The Bangor School District: Public Service Excellence Award – awarded to a public service professional or organization who has provided outstanding service to the bicycle and pedestrian community in Maine. The Bangor School District has fully embraced the walking school bus program, creating programs at three of its schools. These programs have helped to improve student attendance and learning readiness, foster community relations, and make walking to school fun and accessible.
  • Larry Rubinstein: Harry Faust Leadership Award – named after one of the Coalition’s most dedicated and effective Board Chairs and awarded to a Mainer who has been a true leader in his community. Rubinstein served on the Coalition’s Board of Directors from 2004 to 2016, and was board president for two full terms during his tenure. He initiated the Coalition’s Major Donor program, the Yellow Jersey Club, which now has more than 95 members, and continues to serve as an emeritus member of the board.
  • Michele Yade Benoit: Muddy Wheel Award – awarded to a leader in mountain biking in Maine, Benoit received the award for her work leading the Bangor High School’s Mountain Bike and Trail Building Club, inspiring teens to enjoy all aspects of mountain biking, and teaching them to build and maintain trails that benefit the entire community.
  • Rick Smith: Volunteer of the Year Award – given to a volunteer who has contributed extraordinary time, effort, and energy to the Coalition and its mission. Smith, from Skowhegan, received the award for his outstanding effort in support of the Coalition’s many different activities. Smith has volunteered at many Coalition events over the years, and serves at the Route Safety Leader for our annual BikeMaine ride.
  • Portland Gear Hub: Businesses for Better Bicycling Award – given to a Maine business that encourages and supports bicycling w/in their business and community. The Portland Gear Hub is a non-profit outdoor gear and bike shop powered by Camp Ketcha, a youth outdoor organization based in Scarborough, Maine. Since the Gear Hub’s inception in 2014, hundreds of volunteers have helped sort gear, repair kids bikes and translate a Traffic Safety Class into French, Swahili, and Lingala. The Gear Hub has recycled 5.3 tons of metal, refurbished more than 400 youth and adult bikes, and donated more than 75 bikes to youth organizations in southern Maine. The Gear Hub has also partnered with the Coalition to run the successful Bikes For All Mainers programs that has helped get more than 75 new and longtime Maine residents transportation and traffic safety skills.
 

It’s Official – BikeMaine 2018 Is Coming to Presque Isle, Caribou, Madawaska, Fort Kent, and St. Agatha


 

For months, people have been asking: where, exactly, is BikeMaine 2018 going this year?

Now, it can be told. BikeMaine 2018 is going to Aroostook County, with stops at Host Communities in Presque Isle, Caribou, Madawaska, Fort Kent, and St. Agatha.

“This year’s BikeMaine route will take riders through some of Maine’s most beautiful country,” Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director John Williams said. “It showcases the splendor and natural beauty of northern Maine. It’s going to be a very special ride.”

We revealed the specifics of the route on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Sargent Family Community Center in Presque Isle as part of our Kickoff 2018 party, and we livestreamed the announcement on our Facebook page.  We also presented our annual Bicycle Coalition of Maine awards, which go to the people and organizations who really distinguished themselves in pursuit of making Maine better for biking and walking.

The folks from the Maine Beer Company were on hand, pouring their awesome brews, and we also drew the winners of the 2018 Super Raffle, featuring a grand prize of a six-day cycling adventure in Sicily, courtesy of Ciclismo Classico. Other lucky winners walked – or rode, as the case may be – away with a free registration for BikeMaine 2018, a new Trek Domane AL 2 road bike from Cyclemania, a Trek Marlin 4 mountain bike from Rainbow Bicycle, and a Coalition swag bag, stuffed full of cool Coalition apparel and gear.

BikeMaine is a weeklong celebration of Maine’s people, places, food, and culture. The 2018 ride, dubbed, “Acadia in the St. John Valley – La Terre Entre Deux,” will be held from Sept. 8-15. Participation is limited to 450 riders, who will cover an average of 55 miles per day and a total of approximately 350 miles by the end of the week.

BikeMaine 2018 provides riders the opportunity for a two-nation vacation, as the route travels along the US-Canada border and riders spend two nights in both Madawaska and Fort Kent. As the heart of Acadian culture in Maine, the St. John Valley boasts sprawling farmland, breathtaking vistas, and an unforgettable culinary experience. Presque Isle will serve as the starting and ending point of the tour.

“We’re excited to be in Aroostook County, and we’re proud to showcase everything that makes northern Maine so special,” BikeMaine Ride Director MaryBeth Luce said.

Since its inception, BikeMaine has pumped nearly $2.3 million into Maine’s local economy. Last year’s ride alone accounted for $660,000 in direct economic impact, including $262,000 spent by the Coalition to produce the event and approximately $398,000 spent by riders beyond registration fees.

BikeMaine is proud to have the support of L.L. Bean, Maine Beer Company, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield in Maine, Cono Sur Vineyard and Winery, S. W. Collins, and Pineland Farms Natural Meats, as well as many other valued partners.

About BikeMaine

Founded in 2012, BikeMaine is a fully-supported, seven-day cycling tour organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. 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 event was founded to promote the state as a bicycling destination and to use cycling as an economic development tool for local communities. Proceeds from the tour go to support bicycle advocacy in Maine. To learn more, visit ride.bikemaine.org.

 

About the 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.

 

Everything You Need To Know About Bike Share In Maine


Bike Share programs are growing worldwide, nationwide, and are even in Maine!

Norway and Machias, Maine have modest bike share programs compared to big cities. For this reason, they are models for Maine to show that bike sharing is possible in small, rural towns.

Thanks to Zizi Vlaun of Norway and Angela Fochesato of Machias for sharing their stories of how they developed bike share programs in their communities.  If you missed the webinar and are interested in making your town greener and healthier by reducing carbon emissions and encouraging people to ride a bike, Zizi and Angela are happy to help!  For advice and information, they can be contacted at:

zizi@ecologybasedeconomy.org

angela@healthyacadia.org

 

 

National Walk to School Day is Oct. 4th!


Hundreds of Maine school children will walk or bike to school with family members, school staff and volunteers in celebration of National Walk to School Day on October 4th. Organized events are planned at schools across the state throughout October, which is National Walk to School Month.  Check out our blog for photos and highlights from past years: Walk & bike inspiration from across the state!

The Maine Safe Route to School Program can support your event(s) with event announcement posters, walking school bus posters, and incentive stickers. To request these, please register your event here.

Here are the Maine schools that have been in touch with us about their Walk & Bike to School activities:

  • Auburn, Walton School – Walk & bike to school event on Oct 4
  • Auburn, Sherwood Heights Elementary School – Walk & bike to school day on Oct 26
  • Bangor, Abraham Lincoln School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all fall
  • Bangor, Downeast School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all fall
  • Bangor, Vine Street School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all fall
  • Brunswick, Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School – Walk to school days all fall
  • Eliot Elementary School – Walk to school days on Sept 20 and Oct 4
  • Ellsworth Elementary Middle School – Walk to school day on Oct 4
  • Howland, Hichborn Middle School – 1 Mile Walk/Run event on Oct 4
  • Kingfield Elementary School – Walk to school day on Oct 5; bike rodeo for K-2 in September
  • Lewiston, Farwell School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all fall
  • Lewiston, Geiger Elementary – Bike to school day on Sept 25
  • Lincoln, Ella P. Burr – Walk and bike to school every Wednesday Sept – Nov
  • North Anson, Carrabec Community School – Walking School Bus to school in October
  • Peter Dana Point, Indian Township School – Weekly walk to school days all fall
  • Portland, East End Community School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all fall
  • Portland, Lincoln Middle School – Walk & bike to school events for a week this fall
  • Portland, Lyseth Elementary School – Walk to school day on October 27 to kick off Footloose Fridays
  • Portland, Riverton School – Daily Walking School Bus to school this fall
  • Scarborough, Pleasant Hill School – Footloose Fridays, International Walk to School Day, Walk/Bike to school week this fall
  • Solon Elementary School – Walk to school days this fall

We hope to see you walking or biking to school this season!

 

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Names New Executive Director


John S. Williams, a Seasoned Executive and an Avid Cyclist, Is Expected to Take the Reins on Sept. 25

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has named John S. Williams, shown here on a cycling trip in Austria, the organization’s new Executive Director.

August 23, 2017 – (PORTLAND, Maine) – After an extensive, nationwide search, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has selected John S. Williams, an experienced leader with a deep love of cycling, as the organization’s new Executive Director.

“In its 25-year history, the Coalition has benefited from strong executive leadership,” Coalition Board of Directors President Phil Coffin said. “Given his impressive record of success to date, we are confident that John, along with the Coalition’s staff and board, will continue to build the organization and inspire the Maine community to make Maine a better place for bicycling and walking.”

Williams, who holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from the University of Maine at Orono, served in the administration of Gov. Angus King, as the Executive Director of the Maine Waste Management Agency and, subsequently, the Executive Director of the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission.

From 2002 through 2015, he served as President of the Maine Pulp and Paper Association, developing sound policies at the state and federal levels to benefit the industry and its employees while protecting Maine’s natural resources and promoting sustainability. In January 2015, Williams opened Great Salt Bay Consulting, providing strategic communications, government relations, and public relations services to clients in the forest products industry.

Williams is also a long-time board member and former Treasurer of Maine Family Planning, which provides affordable reproductive health care in many clinics in Maine, and a former board member and President of the Maine Lakes Conservancy Institute. He’s also been a member of the Coalition for many years, as well as Adventure Cycling and the Kennebec Land Trust.

Williams is a passionate cyclist who has biked through many states, several Canadian provinces, the Netherlands, Croatia, Austria, Cornwall, Ireland, and Slovenia, and participated in several high-profile bicycle tour events.

“I’m honored by the Board of Directors’ decision, and I look forward to helping the organization grow and thrive in the coming years,” Williams said.

 

We’re Hiring!


The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is seeking a dynamic, self-directed individual to provide assistance coordinating and expanding our mission-central work with local bicycle and pedestrian advocates around the state. The position will manage our nationally recognized Community Spokes Program, mobilizing, training, and supporting local champions who want to become community leaders for bicycle, pedestrian, and active transportation issues. The Community Advocacy Coordinator will support and guide Community Spokes and other local advocates, giving them the resources they need to become the driving force behind their local bicycle/pedestrian committees and similar groups around the state.

This position will be responsible for:

  • Coordinating ongoing support and technical assistance on bike/ped initiatives to Community Spokes, local bike/ped committees and other advocates through trainings, regional meetings, “mutual aid” webinars, and regular phone and in-person meetings.
  • Recruiting new Community Spokes, assisting in their training, and helping support the creation of community-based committees.
  • Integrating advocacy and Community Spokes initiatives with other Coalition projects and programs, including events, the Maine Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education Program, and the Safe Routes to School Program.
  • Supporting legislative initiatives and advocacy events.
  • Providing logistical and communications support for MaineDOT Pedestrian Safety Forums.
  • Handling all logistics and assisting in the facilitation of at least two full-day Community Spokes trainings per year.
  • Developing resources and managing content for the Coalition’s Local Advocacy web pages, as well as for print publication.
  • Refining and implementing an annual evaluation system for the Community Spokes Program.
  • Other duties as needed related to local bike/ped advocacy.

The ideal candidate will have demonstrated experience in and knowledge of: community organization and outreach; bike/ped/trail advocacy and programming; transportation policy and bike/ped infrastructure projects; bicycle and pedestrian safety education; bike/ped law; and, public health efforts to promote physical activity. The candidate will also have excellent written and in-person communication skills, a collaborative orientation, experience in meeting facilitation and adult education, and will be comfortable working with a range of technologies. The ideal candidate will be a creative problem solver who is committed to making our Community Spokes Program as impactful as possible.

Some early morning, night meetings and weekends required. Some statewide travel required. Health and other benefits available. Salaried, exempt position.

Please send your cover letter, resume and a list of 3 references, including contact info, to jobs@bikemaine.org by June 14, 2017.

Interviews for qualified candidates will be held on June 27th.  Please leave that day open in your calendar if you are interested.

 

 

 

May 10 is National Bike to School Day


Hundreds of Maine school children will bike or walk to school with family members, school staff and volunteers in celebration of National Bike to School Day on May 10th. Organized events were planned at schools across the state throughout May, which is always National Bike Month.  Check out our blog for photos and highlights from past years: Walk & bike inspiration from across the state!

The Maine Safe Route to School Program can support your event(s) with event announcement posters, walking school bus posters, and incentive stickers. To request these, please register your event here.

Here are the Maine schools that have been in touch with us about their Walk & Bike to School activities:

  • Auburn, Walton School – Bike to school event
  • Bangor, Abraham Lincoln School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all spring
  • Bangor, Downeast School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all spring
  • Bangor, Vine Street School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all spring
  • Brooks, Morse Memorial Elementary School – Bike & walk to school on May 15
  • Cape Elizabeth, Pond Cove School – Bike to school on May 10
  • Cumberland Center, Greely High School – Bike to school event
  • Cumberland Center, Greely Middle School – Bike to school event
  • Cumberland Center, Mabel I Wilson School – Bike to school event
  • Falmouth Elementary School – “Footloose Fridays” in May & June, everyone walks on school trail loop before starting the school day
  • Gray, Fiddlehead School of Arts & Science – Bike to school event
  • Gray-New Gloucester High School – Bike to school event
  • Gray-New Gloucester Middle School – Bike to school event
  • Gray, Russell School – Bike to school event
  • Lewiston, Farwell School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all spring
  • Lewiston, Geiger Elementary – Bike to school day on May 10
  • Lincoln, Ella P. Burr – Walk and bike to school every Wednesday April-June
  • Monroe Elementary School – Bike to school event
  • Portland, Lincoln Middle School – Bike to school event
  • Portland, Riverton School – Daily Walking School Bus to school all spring
  • Scarborough, Pleasant Hill School – “Walk & Wheel Fridays” all year long + Walk & Bike to School week of May 8th
  • Scarborough Middle School – Bike to school event
  • Sebago Elementary School – Biking every day during recess, 10 bikes available and everyone takes turns
  • Skowhegan, Margaret Chase Smith School – Walk to school event on June 7
  • South Portland, Memorial Middle School – Walk & bike to school on May 10
  • Topsham, Woodside Elementary School – Bike & walk to school
  • Waterville, Albert S. Hall School – Walk to school on June 9
  • Yarmouth Elementary School – Bike To School on May 19

We hope to see you walking or biking to school this season!

 

Thanks To Everyone Who Made The 2017 Great Maine Bike Swap A Huge Success!


There were more than 1,000 bicycles available at the Great Maine Bike Swap on Sunday, April 23, at the University of Southern Maine. (Photo by Vivian Gallagher)

Another Great Maine Bike Swap is in the books.

We’re crunching the numbers now, and we’ll have some statistics to share shortly, but as we work our way through the receipts, one thing is clear: the event was an enormous success!

A big thank you to everyone who helped: all the volunteers who worked so hard to create the best possible experience, our amazing sponsors – WCLZ, Noyes, Hall & Allan, Ransom Consulting, Inc., the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, GA Gear, USM, AAA Northern New England, Arcadia, the Gorham Grind, and Leonardo’s Pizza – everyone who signed up to sell a bike, and last but certainly not least, everyone who turned out on Sunday to buy a bike.

If you’re interested, we got some great coverage from Maine media: WCSH-TV6, WMTW-TV8, and the Portland Press Herald all did stories.

There’s a great take on the Swap at a blog called Utilitarian Bicycles, too. If you’ve got a minute, check it out. If you’re reading this, you’ll probably enjoy it.