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

By | BikeMaine, Coalition News, Featured Posts, Our Position

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

By | Advocacy Events, Coalition News, Featured Posts

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

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts, Podcast

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

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Travel

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.”

Check out the new Bicycle Coalition of Maine podcast!

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts

Kierie Piccininni

Frank Gallagher

Welcome to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine podcast!
Hosted by Board of Directors member Kierie Piccininni and Communications Director Frank Gallagher, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast is about all things bike and ped. In the inaugural episode, Frank and Kierie talk about the upcoming Great Maine Bike Swap in Portland on April 22, introduce themselves a bit, and talk snow removal issues and answers.
You can download and subscribe to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine podcast on iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, and other podcast delivery apps, and you can always find it right here on the Coalition web site.
There’s a lot happening on the bike/ped front these days at the local level, statewide, nationally and even internationally. Subscribing to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast will help you stay up on all of it.
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!
 
 
 
 

Sell Your Quality Used Bicycle at the Great Maine Bike Swap on April 22!

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts


The often imitated, never duplicated Great Maine Bike Swap is coming to the University of Southern Maine‘s Portland campus on Sunday, April 22, from 10am-1pm! If you’ve got a bicycle to sell, our Great Maine Bike Swap is the easiest and best way to sell it. You can also sell or donate the bicycles you have around the house and garage that no longer see use but might be a better fit for someone who could really use it.

The Great Maine Bike Swap
Sunday, April 22 | 10am-1pm
University of Southern Maine – Sullivan Recreation and Fitness Complex
Admission is $5 (cash only), free for USM and UMaine students!

If you have quality, used bike to sell, the Swap is a great way to get it in front of hundreds of eager buyers! For more information about how to price your bike and boost its chances of selling, check out our Seller’s Guide and get all the details about registering your bike.
The Swap offers a quick and easy online registration system. After you’ve registered your bike online, drop it off on Saturday, April 21, between 3pm and 6pm at the USM Sullivan Recreation and Fitness Complex. There’s a $5 registration fee per bike and, when it sells, a 15 percent commission to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.
IMPORTANT: Unsold bikes must be picked up between 1:45pm and 3pm on Sunday, April 22, or they will be donated to the Coalition.
QUESTIONS? If you’ve got questions or you don’t receive a confirmation email after you register your bike for sale, contact Event Manager Rob Mueller at rob@bikemaine.org, or call (207) 623-4511. For more information, visit MaineSwap.com.

Here's How to Make Your Community Better for Biking and Walking

By | Advocacy Events, Coalition News, Featured Posts

Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill was famous for saying that all politics is local. The same can be said of meaningful change, particularly when it comes to making Maine better for biking and walking.
That’s why we created our Community Spokes program.

Community Spokes members get some real-world insight on how to make their communities better for biking and walking at a recent Bicycle Coalition of Maine-led Community Spokes training session.

The Community Spokes Program is the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s effort to create a statewide network of bicycle and pedestrian advocates at the local level. We empower community members to become champions of better biking and walking – in the communities where they live and work – through advocacy training, education, and on-going technical support.
The fact is, better biking and walking can bring economic, transportation, health and environmental benefits to individuals, communities, and the state as a whole.
People who sign on to the Community Spokes program lead the way in bringing those benefits to their communities, learning how to navigate the local bureaucracy to provide a voice for pedestrian and bicycle interests, and working with their neighbors and local policy makers to promote bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, policies, and programs.
But it’s not like they’re on their own. We provide ongoing assistance to Spokes – including an all-day training seminar, regional advocacy events and webinars throughout the year – as well as communications strategy and materials, an online Advocacy Toolkit, and other helpful resources.
The program has proven to be extraordinarily effective. Across the state, Community Spokes have notched wins that have directly translated into better biking and walking. As a result, the Community Spokes Program has received national recognition as an innovative and effective way to create change through local advocacy.
If you’d like to make a real difference for the better in your town by becoming a Community Spoke, our next training session is scheduled for Wednesday, May 2, at the Skowhegan Community Center in Skowhegan. You can sign up here.

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

By | Advocacy Events, Coalition News, Featured Posts

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 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

By | BikeMaine, Coalition News, Featured Posts
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!

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts

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.