We’re happy to share this Guest Post from Joe Pelliccia, A Bicycle Coalition of Maine Community Spoke and Board Member of the Maine Cycling Club, based in Auburn.
BikeMaine – the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s fully supported, weeklong cycling tour through some of the state’s most idyllic locales – returns in mid-September for its third annual go-round. Riders of all skill levels are signing up, each bringing his or her unique story to tell around the proverbial fire.
Westbrooker Eric Schwibs, 52, is a long-term cancer survivor out to thrive.
“I had some real physical challenges during and after treatment,” he says. “I like to show others that you can indeed bounce back fully after diagnosis and treatment.”
Cycling brought Scarborough’s Justin Ladd, 33, together with his soulmate.
“My wife and got ‘reunited’ – we used to date, in middle school – through biking events like the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s Lobster Ride and the Trek Across Maine.”
Pam Fischer, 57 of New Gloucester, is not riding BikeMaine this year, but volunteering.
“My husband and I make it an annual weeklong volunteer vacation,” she says. “We are part of the village team, setting up and dismantling the mobile ‘tent city’ each day.”
Both Fischer and her husband have additional duties – all of which they relish.
“We do whatever it takes to ensure our riders have an amazing experience. We have a blast.
“Service work is important to me,” Fischer says, “and what could be better than volunteering at an event that brings a crowd of fascinating people to the beautiful backroads and small towns of Maine?”
Kittery, Old Orchard Beach, Bridgton, Bethel, Sweden and Kennebunk will host this year’s event, scheduled for Sept. 12-19. But a long list of communities can expect the riders to pass through as they wend their way across the landscape.
The 2015 BikeMaine route rolls first through the Berwicks on its way to Biddeford and Saco before cutting inland to skirt through Hollis and Steep Falls as it sidles up the western edge of Sebago Lake toward the New Hampshire border.
It circles around to head south around Gilead, where it enters the White Mountains National Forest; it takes a short hop north again at Fryeburg, then angles homeward for the last time, passing by Pleasant Mountain and through Hiram, Cornish, Limerick and Lyman before arriving at the coast in Kennebunk.
The last day of the event tracks mostly along the coast, reaching Ogunquit and York Harbor, then Kittery once more. The total distance is 349 miles, though additional 15-mile loops are available on three days. Registration remains open – for now.
The third annual BikeMaine, a weeklong ride organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, is set for Sept. 12-19, and it is expected to be the biggest one yet. During the 349-mile tour, an estimated 350 cyclists will pedal throughout southern and western Maine, camping at communities along the way.
“What we’re trying to do is develop bicycle tourism in the state and to economically impact small communities that don’t usually get that tourism,” BikeMaine Ride Director Kim Anderson True said. “We’re trying to educate communities about how to continue to attract cyclists.”
Each year, BikeMaine takes riders to different regions of Maine. This year’s host communities, where riders will camp, are Kittery, Old Orchard Beach, Bridgton, Bethel, Sweden and Kennebunk, respectively. Each day, participants will pedal an average of 55 miles, with optional 10- to 15-mile loops along the way for those looking to lengthen the ride.
Registration is nearly full, with only a few slots left as of Aug. 25.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Lauri Boxer-Macomber, attorney at law, and James Tassé, assistant director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, are both members of the coalition’s Bicycle Law Enforcement Collaborative.
The recent tragic and avoidable deaths of two pedestrians in Maine remind us that safety on Maine’s public ways is something we all need to work toward.
Regardless of whether we are operating a logging truck, walking with our children, jogging with our dogs, driving to the dentist, hauling our boats to camp or commuting to work on our bicycles, we are all part of how Maine law defines “traffic.” As such, we all have important obligations to understand the rules of the road and the rights and duties owed to ourselves and other traffic.
Bicycle Coalition of Maine Watching
Latest Pedestrian and Motorist Crashes
August 5, 2015 – Portland, ME – As the state’s leading group promoting bicycling and walking safety, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine routinely monitors crash reports for incidents that involve bicyclists or pedestrians. The Coalition regrets to hear of two more non-motorized roadway users killed in York and Harpswell on August 4th and 5th, and extends its condolences. These are already the seventh and eighth bicycle/pedestrian fatalities of 2015.
Both of these crashes occurred on roads without sidewalks, once again illustrating the need for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure on our roadways. According to the Federal Highway Administration, providing walkways separated from the travel lanes could help to prevent up to 88 percent of pedestrian deaths that occur when the pedestrian is walking in the road.
These latest incidents in Maine also highlight again the need for all motorists to be alert for other users at all times and places, to obey local speed limits, and never to drive distracted or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. This incident is also a reminder for all pedestrians and bicycles to use extra care to be visible, and to follow best practices and law for roadway safety.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine will continue to monitor the circumstances surrounding these cases in search of information that will improve roadway safety for all users.
Where are the best places to bike ride in Maine? Are towns and communities seeing an economic impact from the number of bikers drawn to the state each summer? We talk pedal power on today’s show.
Kim True – Ride Director of Bike Maine
Nancy Grant – Exective Dir. of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine
John Grenier – owner of Rainbow Bicycle in Lewiston
Robin Zinchuk – Bethel Camber of Commerce
The city of South Portland was chosen by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine to be the inaugural community in its new “Imagine Bikes Here” campaign, which creates temporary bicycle lanes on municipal streets to show how communities can become more bike-friendly.
Last week, with the blessing of city officials, the coalition installed a temporary, 6-foot wide bike lane on Cottage Road, between Walnut and Mitchell streets, in the Meetinghouse Hill neighborhood.
On July 22, coalition staff and volunteers created the first in what will be a series of temporary demonstration biking and walking facilities that will be installed in various communities throughout the year, according to Jim Tassé, assistant director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.
He said the goal of these demonstration projects, which are being funded with a grant from People for Bikes, is “to show the public and municipal decision makers that improving bicycling and walking conditions can often be inexpensive and incredibly simple.
SOUTH PORTLAND — The city and Bicycle Coalition of Maine have created two temporary bicycle and walking lanes on Cottage Road as part of a pilot campaign to demonstrate how inexpensive and easy the process can be.
The hope is that if successful, the project will lead to establishment of additional permanent bike lanes throughout the city.
The Imagine Bikes Here launch is part of a larger, 18-month project that will include temporary bike and pedestrian lanes in five municipalities.
We’ve wrapped up an intense and productive legislative session at the State House this year. Thanks to the support of our members and partners we have four big victories to report. Continue reading
BETHEL – The assistant director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine advised selectmen and other residents Monday night that there needs to be some give and take between motorists and bicyclists.
Jim Tasse was invited to address the board after it approved three signs last month for the beginning of Vernon, North and Intervale roads, warning drivers to keep 3 feet away from cyclists. A month later, the board voted 4-1 to reconsider its vote, after residents said some cyclists ride side-by-side or three abreast at times, which makes it difficult for motorists to pass them or give them space.
Tasse said he heard that “there is some heartburn in the community about group rides using narrow roads in the area”