NEWS

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Names 2018 BikeMaine Grant Recipients


The Bicycle Coalition of Maine today announced Main Street Skowhegan, Mahoosuc Pathways, and Kingfield Trail Builders as the recipients of this year’s BikeMaine Grants, funded by the proceeds from the organization’s annual cycling tour, BikeMaine.

“BikeMaine was conceived as an event that would use cycling as an economic benefit tool for local communities,” BikeMaine Ride Director MaryBeth Luce said. “The BikeMaine grants will directly support these organizations’ efforts to make their communities more bike and pedestrian friendly.”

Main Street Skowhegan will receive $10,000, Mahoosuc Pathways will receive $3,250, and Kingfield Trail Builders will receive $3,025 to fund their projects.

Main Street Skowhegan will use the funding to expand a 5-kilometer loop in the Run of River Whitewater Recreation Area so it can accommodate cyclists as well as pedestrians and become suitable for four-season use. Main Street Skowhegan Executive Director Kristina Cannon said the newly expanded loop will eventually incorporate a robust network of single-track off-road trails for mountain bikers, as well.

“Trail development is a major part of the proposed Run of River Recreation Area, and our intention is to grow our downtown trail system to 300 acres, an effort that will complement the future whitewater park in the Kennebec gorge,” Cannon said.

Mahoosuc Pathways Executive Director Gabe Perkins said his organization, based in Bethel, will apply the funding to the improvement of mountain bike trails at the Crescent Park School.

“We can’t think of too many elementary schools with sustainably designed and built mountain bike trails and that’s what made this project so attractive to us,” Perkins said. “Not only will it be a well built trail for students and community members, but it could also attract more people to our community who are looking at trail-based recreation as a deciding factor in where to relocate.”

Kingfield Trail Builders plans to use the grant money to improve non-motorized trails and trail connections, install shared bike-lane markings, and add bikes racks in key locations around Kingfield.

“Kingfield Trail Builders is thrilled to receive this grant from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine,” spokesperson Polly MacMichael said. “We are excited to partner with the Kingfield community as we work toward our goal to make Kingfield a safe and fun place for bicyclists and pedestrians alike.”

BikeMaine is a week-long celebration of Maine’s people, places, culture, and food, and moves to a different region of the state each year. BikeMaine 2018, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s signature event, takes place from Sept. 8 to Sept. 15. Dubbed Acadia In the St. John Valley – La Terre Entre Deux, this year’s event begins and ends in Presque Isle, with overnight stops in Caribou, Madawaska (two nights), Fort Kent (two nights), and St. Agatha.

The 2018 awards represent the third year of BikeMaine grant funding. The Town of Gardiner received the inaugural BikeMaine Grant, in the amount of $12,300, to fund the extension of the Cobbossee Trail, which connects the Kennebec River Trail to the town’s historic Cobbossee Corridor. The Washington County Council of Governments and the City of Bath received last year’s grants, which helped to fund bike repair kiosks along the Bold Coast Bikeway and a pump-track for Bath students, respectively.

Skowhegan and Kingfield were host communities for last year’s BikeMaine event, and Bethel was a BikeMaine host community for the 2015 BikeMaine event.

 

2018 Maine Women’s Ride – Sunday, June 10, 2018 – Freeport, Maine


On Sunday, June 10, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine hosted the 2018 Maine Women’s Ride.

The weather was fantastic. The rides were amazing. The food was great, and the power of nearly 600 women and girls riding en masse was in full effect.

Photographer Bill Muldoon, who’s also a member of the Coalition’s Board of Directors, documented the event and was kind enough to share his images with us.

 

 

Maine Police to Target Drivers Who Put Cyclists, Pedestrians At Risk


WHO: Southern Maine Law Enforcement Agencies and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine

WHAT: 2018 Vulnerable User Enforcement Day targeting drivers who put others at risk

WHEN: Wednesday, June 13

WHERE: Various locations throughout southern Maine

WHY: 2017 was a deadly year for pedestrians in Maine. To help reduce the number of crashes that kill or injure pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable users of Maine roads, southern Maine law enforcement agencies will carry out a coordinated operation tomorrow targeting drivers and cyclists who put others at risk. The operation will specifically focus on motorists speeding, driving distracted, ignoring crosswalks or the “3 foot rule,” as well as vulnerable users riding the wrong way, ignoring stop signs and other traffic control devices, or jaywalking. Participating agencies include: Auburn, Falmouth, Portland, Scarborough, South Portland, and Westbrook Police Departments, as well as the Maine State Police.

Vulnerable User Enforcement Action Plan

Vulnerable User Enforcement Reference Guide

Results from 2017 Vulnerable User Enforcement Action

 

Self-driving cars: killers on the road? Plus, 10 minutes with the League of American Bicyclists’ Bill Nesper, Idaho Stop the insanity, ME Gov. Paul LePage is an avid cyclist, and how to find your perfect ride!


Self-driving cars have been hailed as modern-day saviors for our overcrowded roads, but does the reality live up to the hype? Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast hosts Kierie Piccininni and Frank Gallagher look past the tech-bro, hard sell and take a thoughtful look at what’s really going on with Automated Vehicles.

The League of American Bicyclists has been on the front line, advocating for bicyclists and anybody who might want to start riding, for more than 100 years. Kierie and Frank caught up with Bill Nesper, the League’s Executive Director, at the New England Bike/Walk Summit in Boston to talk self-driving cars, national bike policies, and much more.

Mention the Idaho Stop, and you’ll almost certainly get a visceral reaction, no matter who you’re talking to. Kierie and Frank take a look at this controversial tactic and what it means for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is a lightning rod for controversy. He’s also an ardent cyclist, but that hasn’t necessarily translated into cyclist-friendly policies in his home state. Kierie and Frank explore what needs to change to make Maine better for bicycling.

Finally, learn how to find your perfect ride in Maine, using the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s new Where To Ride tool.

 

This will be the last year the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will host the Maine Women’s Ride and the Maine Lobster Ride


Perhaps you’ve heard that this is the last year that the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will hold the women’s ride.

That is true.

When we founded the Maine Women’s Ride 17 years ago, there were relatively few opportunities to participate in organized road rides in our state. Today, that landscape is very different, and in that sense Maine is measurably much better for bicycling today that it was. On any given summer weekend there are now several riding events.

So, we have decided to say goodbye to the Maine Womens’ Ride and the Maine Lobster Ride, and refocus our efforts wholeheartedly on how best to deliver on our mission for as many people, in as many parts of the state, as possible. We will have a presence at many other events statewide, and will continue to hold our signature event, BikeMaine. We will also recommit to our role as the leading advocacy and education organization for biking and walking in Maine.

While the Bicycle Coalition will no longer be holding the Women’s Ride, we recognize that there are still few events that are women-centric. We are looking at other opportunities to promote riding for women and children, including working with others who might be willing to host a women-only event in future years, with our help. If you would like to learn more, or offer your thoughts, please email us at info@bikemaine.org.

If you’ve been thinking that this is the year you’re going to ride the Maine Women’s Ride, register now. The final BCM Maine Women’s Ride is just around the corner – Sunday, June 10, in Freeport, Maine – so there’s still time to sign on. Come ride with us, and help us make our final Women’s Ride the best one ever.

We also need volunteers to help us make the final ride a success. We need help in every area, including:

  • Pre-event setup
  • Route setters
  • SAG vehicle drivers
  • Ride leaders
  • Rest stop attendants

Volunteers at the Women’s Ride get a cool t-shirt, free lunch, coffee, and the satisfaction of actively supporting this amazing event.

Whether you’re riding or volunteering, the Women’s Ride is always a lot of fun for everybody. Sign up here to volunteer! And if you have friends who might enjoy the experience, please forward this link to them.

 

On Bike to Work Day, News Breaks That Maine Gov. Paul LePage Was Hit By a Car While Biking in Florida


Today was Bike to Work Day, and Maine Gov. Paul LePage revealed that he needs shoulder surgery after being struck by a car while he was bicycling in Florida.

When the news broke this morning that Gov. Paul LePage would need shoulder surgery because he’d been hit by a car while bicycling in Florida, our entire staff was out celebrating National Bike to Work Day, encouraging and supporting people who made the choice to commute today by bike instead of driving.

We were, each of us, stunned – and thankful that he wasn’t hurt more seriously. And we were struck by the obvious: this news was breaking on Bike to Work Day.

Gov. LePage is an experienced cyclist. We know this because we’re publishing an interview with him in the next issue of our membership magazine, The Maine Cyclist, in which he talks about how and why he loves to ride.

Beyond that, at the beginning of April the governor recognized us with the Maine Office of Tourism’s Originality Award, and he was on hand at the awards luncheon in Portland to personally bestow the honors. The award recognized our BikeMaine event for its success in boosting economic development by promoting Maine as a destination for bicycle tourism. Before things got underway, we got a chance to chat with him a bit about cycling.

 

Maine Gov. Paul LePage presents the Maine Office of Tourism’s Originality Award to MaryBeth Luce, the Coalition’s BikeMaine Event Director, at the Governor’s Tourism Conference in Portland in April 2018.

He warmed to the topic, and talked in detail about how he loved riding in Jackman when he was younger. But it wasn’t just what he said that rang true, it was how he said it. He got that look in his eye, you know the one; the one that all cyclists get when they’re talking about their favorite rides with someone who’s actually interested and gets it. For the governor, it’s clear that cycling is a very personal thing, and that he is a committed and experienced cyclist.

So here’s our takeaway from all this: if an experienced cyclist like the governor, who apparently was not riding in anything other than a completely legal fashion, can be so casually knocked off his bicycle by a passing motorist, perhaps we’re not doing everything we can to protect cyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable users of our roadways.

Right now, our transportation infrastructure overwhelmingly favors the automobile, to the point where other modes of transportation seem to be little more than eccentricities that are benevolently indulged by planners and policy makers.

And yet, time and time again, it’s made clear that people value communities that are bikeable and walkable, qualities that are often at the top of the list when they’re looking for a place to live or work. The crash that injured the governor happened in Florida, but similar crashes happen all too frequently in Maine because the fact is, our transportation infrastructure does not reflect that priority.

We can do better. And if we’re truly committed to making our state a destination for bicycle tourism – if Maine truly is open for bicycle tourism business – we must.

 

Friday, May 18, Is National Bike To Work Day


The Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Portland Gear Hub Will Be Out to Welcome Bicycle Commuters with Snacks, Coupons for Free Coffee, Mechanics Stands and Tools for Quick Adjustments, and More!

Bicycle commuters in Portland will find a warm welcome on National Bike To Work Day, which is Friday, May 18.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine will be on hand in Monument Square from 7am-10:30am with information about how to be a safer bicycle commuter, membership information, a mechanics stand and tools for quick adjustments, coupons for coffee from Others! Coffee, and $5 tokens for city employees who ride their bicycles to work, courtesy of the City of Portland’s employee wellness program.

Staff and volunteers from the Portland Gear Hub will have a mechanics stand and tools, free air set up outside A&C Grocery on Munjoy Hill, where they’ll be cooking up some hot breakfast treats, too.

“Biking to work has a lot of positives,” Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director John Williams said. “Of course, there’s the physical benefit, but riding your bike to work is great way to save some money because you don’t have to pay for parking and you aren’t using any gas. If your commute is only a few miles, you’ll probably find that it’s just as quick, if not faster, to ride your bike than it is to drive.”

National Bike To Work Day, always the third Friday in May, dates to 1956, when the League of American Bicyclists suggested it as an addition to National Bike Month, which is May.

You can find more information and tips about bicycle commuting here.

 

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast: National Bike Month, East Coast Greenway, Maine Women’s Ride, and the New England BikeWalk Summit


Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast hosts Frank Gallagher (left) and Kierie Piccininni behind the mics at a recent recording session.

The long-anticipated second episode of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast is now available.

In this episode, hosts Kierie Piccininni and Frank Gallagher talk Maine Women’s Ride, National Bike Month, the New England Bike/Walk Summit, the East Coast Greenway and the Maine Women’s Ride.

You can subscribe to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine podcast on iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, or any other fine podcast delivery app. Of course, you can always find it right here on the Coalition web site.

And if you’ve got an idea for a topic you’d like to hear explored on the Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast, let us know.

Thanks for listening!

 

We’re Launching Our FREE Where To Ride Tool Tomorrow


Our Free-To-Use Where To Ride Tool Lets You Search Curated On- And Off-Road Routes Throughout Maine To Find Your Perfect Ride

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is launching a new, web-based, search tool called Where To Ride tomorrow that lets cyclists search a growing number of curated routes to find their perfect ride – for free!

“Maine is among the words premier bicycling destinations, and we’ve got something for cyclists of every age and ability, whether they’re road riders, mountain bikers, gravel grinders, or casual riders out for an afternoon,” Coalition BikeMaine Ride Director MaryBeth Luce, who’s heading up the Where To Ride project, said. “Our new Where To Ride tool lets cyclists find exactly what they’re looking for, and we believe that making it easier for cyclists to find good rides will encourage more people to come to Maine to bike or, if they live here, to get out and try a ride. That’s right in line with our mission to make Maine better for biking and walking.”

The Where To Ride tool officially launches on May 1, at bikemaine.org/wheretoride.

Users define what kind of ride they’re looking for by making choices from dropdown menus, such as type of ride, distance, difficulty, and region. Easy rides are generally less than 25 miles long, with grades that are generally less than 5 percent. Medium rides are between 25 and 50 miles and feature grades that run between 6 percent and 8 percent, while Difficult rides are longer than 50 miles and include grades that exceed 8 percent.

Where To Ride also provides users with information about hills and the traffic conditions. The Show Traffic button overlays traffic data onto the route map, showing which sections of road rides have the most and least traffic, and is color coded for easy use. The Show Slope button overlays the percentage grade along the route and is also color coded for easy use.

Users can also download GPX and KML files for use with GPS devices.

The Center for Community GIS, a company that supports the mapping and geographic information needs of public interest groups, helped develop the Where To Ride tool.

“Crowd-sourced, ride-sharing platforms hold so much data, it can be hard for cyclists to quicly and easily find reliable content about the best rides out there,” Center Director Stephen Engle said. “Where To Ride’s custom-designed interface delivers curated content and maps about the top Maine rides from a trusted source.”

 

May 9 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 9th. 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. Request promo materials for your event here.

Participants kicked off last year’s ride in record breaking numbers! Thousands of students pedaled their way to school during the 2017 Bike to School Day celebration! Over 3,000 schools across the country, from Maine to Hawaii participated.  Register your school in the national database to join the thousands and remember to share your event plans and photos with #BiketoSchoolDay!

Here are the Maine schools that have submitted 2018 Walk & Bike to School activities:

  • Auburn, Walton School – Bike To School Day
  • Baileyville, Woodland ES – Walk & bike events during the week of May 14
  • Bangor, Abraham Lincoln School – Daily Walking School Bus
  • Bangor, Downeast School – Daily Walking School Bus
  • Bangor, Vine Street School – Daily Walking School Bus
  • Camden, Camden Rockport MS – Bike or Walk To School Day
  • Cape Elizabeth, Pond Cove School – Bike or Walk To School Day
  • Kittery, Shapleigh School – Bike To School Day
  • Gray, Fiddlehead School of Arts & Science – Bike or Walk To School Day
  • Gray, Gray-New Gloucester HS – Bike or Walk To School Day
  • Gray, Gray-New Gloucester MS – Bike or Walk To School Day
  • Gray, Russell School – Bike or Walk To School Day
  • Lewiston, Farwell School – Daily Walking School Bus
  • Lewiston, Geiger Elementary – Bike or Walk To School Day
  • Lincoln, Ella P. Burr – Walk and bike to school every Wednesday April-June
  • Portland, East End Community School – Daily Walking School Bus
  • Portland, Lincoln MS – Bike or Walk To School Day
  • Scarborough, Pleasant Hill School – Bike To School Day
  • Kittery, Shapleigh School – Bike or Walk To School Day
  • South Portland, Memorial MS – Bike or Walk To School Day
  • Topsham, Woodside ED – Walk to school every Thursday starting April 26
  • Waterville, Albert S Hall School – The Spring BIG walk to school on May 11
  • York, Coastal Ridge ES – Walk to school every Wednesday starting April 25
  • York, Village ES – Walk to school every Wednesday starting April 25
  • York Middle School – Walk to school every Wednesday starting April 25

Would you like to enhance student walking & biking safety? Please contact us about setting up a Safe Walker and Safe Bicycle Driver educational activity at your school.  We can send an available safety instructor or train you to be the safety expert!  Submit your request here: bikemaine.org/bpse-request

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