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

By | BikeMaine, Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts

 
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

By | Advocacy Events, Featured Posts, Webinars
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

 

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Names New Executive Director

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts

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!

By | Coalition News

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.

 
 

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

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts

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.

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Members, Allies to Engage Legislators In Support of Traffic Safety Education Bill

By | Advocacy Events, Coalition News, Featured Posts, State House Watch

Proposed Legislation Would Help Reduce Pedestrian and Cyclist Traffic Deaths By Providing One Hour of Traffic Safety Education to Students Each Year
April 7, 2017 – (AUGUSTA, Maine) The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is organizing Traffic Safety Day in Augusta on Tuesday, April 11, to marshal support for proposed legislation that will help cut the number of pedestrians and bicyclists killed each year on Maine roads.
“Too many pedestrians and bicyclists are losing their lives on our roads, and in each case these tragedies are almost entirely preventable,” Coalition Executive Director Nancy Grant said. “The Traffic Safety Education Act will help reduce the unacceptable number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in Maine.”
LD 1130, an Act To Provide Traffic Safety Education To Maine Students, is sponsored by Rep. Matthea Daughtry (D-Brunswick) and would ensure that all Maine children in grades two through 12 receive one hour of age-appropriate traffic safety education each year. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Legislature’s Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs on Tuesday, April 11, at 1 p.m. in Room 202 of the Cross Building in Augusta.
The Coalition’s Traffic Safety Day is intended to help Coalition members and allies learn how to most effectively communicate the facts about the bill and why it is needed to legislators. The day’s events include:

  • A meeting with the Legislature’s Bike/Ped Caucus at the Cross Café (111 Sewall St., Augusta) at 8 a.m. to discuss biking and walking issues.
  • A brief training session on how to effectively communicate with lawmakers, from 9:15-10:30 a.m.
  • Meetings with legislators from 10:45-11:45 a.m. in support of the Traffic Safety Education Act.
  • The legislative hearing at 1 p.m. in Room 202 of the Cross Building in Augusta.

In addition to communicating support for the bill, Grant said, it is also important to note what the legislation will not do: it will have no fiscal impact on Maine schools or extend the school year, nor will it add to the state’s graduation requirements or increase teachers’ workloads; teachers would have the option of using the Coalition’s curriculum – developed by teachers for teachers – or have one of Maine’s certified Traffic Safety Educators make the one-hour presentation to students.
“The Traffic Safety Education Act will help keep our children safe now, when they’re walking or biking to or from school, home or a friend’s house, and in the future,” Grant said. “Children who’ve grown up learning the rules of the road will be safer around pedestrians and cyclists when they get behind the wheel as adults.”

BikeMaine 2017 is Sold Out!

By | BikeMaine, Coalition News, Featured Posts

The “Pathway to the Peaks” Tour Through Western and Central Maine, Limited to 400 Riders, Has Reached Capacity but Volunteers Are Still Welcome
March 21, 2017 – (PORTLAND, Maine) – The fifth annual BikeMaine ride has sold out and is no longer accepting registrations from prospective riders, although people interested in volunteering in some capacity are still welcome to sign on, the event’s organizers announced today.
“BikeMaine is an opportunity to showcase the splendor and natural beauty of this region of Maine, along with the people and culture, and it’s become one of the most popular rides in the state,” BikeMaine Event Director Zach Schmesser said. “It’s a very special ride, and we’re proud to work alongside the people who live and work in the BikeMaine communities and our sponsors to create one of the best biking experiences that can be had anywhere in the world.”
BikeMaine is a fully-supported, seven-day cycling tour organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield as the presenting sponsor.
“Clearly this is a very special ride, showcasing why we are so fortunate to work and live here in Maine. We’re proud to again be the presenting sponsor of this event, which is a great combination of our focus on fitness and commitment to the communities we serve,” said Dan Corcoran, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. “We wish all the riders the best and welcome all of those who will come from out of state to experience all the great things Maine’s communities and people have to offer.”
The Coalition is the statewide voice of cyclists and pedestrians. Formed in 1992, the Coalition continues to lead 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.
This year’s ride, dubbed, “Pathway to the Peaks,” will be held from September 9-16 and make stops in Skowhegan, Pittsfield, Kingfield, Rangeley, Hartford and Farmington. Participation is limited to 400 riders. Approximately two-thirds of BikeMaine riders are from out of state, with 20 percent reporting they have never been to Maine.
Schmesser said that even though registration for BikeMaine riders is full, people can still participate as a volunteer.
“Volunteers are every bit as important to BikeMaine as the riders, and we know our volunteers have just as much fun as the participants riding the route each day. They help with all aspects of the ride,” Schmesser said. “If you missed out on registering as a rider, you can still enjoy all that BikeMaine has to offer by volunteering.”
Prospective volunteers can sign up online at the BikeMaine website: ride.bikemaine.org.
Since 2013, BikeMaine has pumped nearly $1.7 million into the local economies of the regions where past events were located. Last year’s sold-out ride in Downeast Maine contributed $626,000 in direct economic impact, including $400,000 spent by riders during the ride, and $226,000 spent by the Coalition to produce the event, which includes most meals for the participants. Whenever possible, food is purchased from Maine farms, fishermen and lobstermen, highlighting Maine products and local services, Schmesser said.
The BikeMaine daily schedule is developed to allow riders to enjoy a carefully curated ride each morning, while leaving time to explore the hospitable and welcoming host communities each afternoon. Many local businesses, lodging establishments, bars, restaurants and gift shops in the past have reported record sales around BikeMaine’s visit to their communities.
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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.

Bike/Ped Sign Project a Step Closer to Permanence in Bangor

By | Coalition News, Imagine People Here

A Demonstration Project Put Together by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and Other Bangor Bike/Ped Advocacy Groups Moves Forward at City Hall
February 24, 2016 – (BANGOR, MAINE) A temporary project that showed the powerful impact clear signage can have on Bangor’s walkability may become permanent after a key City Council committee gave it the thumbs-up.
“By making it easier for people and policy makers to imagine their communities more walkable and bikeable, we can help people see the possibilities and make change less intimidating,” Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director Nancy Grant said. “The likelihood of this project becoming permanent demonstrates how powerful this can be.”
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s Imagine People Here program creates demonstration projects to show how communities can become more bike- and pedestrian-friendly. Last July, the Coalition, working with Bangor’s Walk-n-Roll, the Friends of the Lower Kenduskeag Stream (FOLKS), and several other organizations, installed 52 temporary signs along the two-mile River City Trail. The signage linked the Cross Insurance Center, Waterfront Park, Gomez Park, Pickering Square, West Market Square, Norumbega Park, and the waterfront to create walkable and bikeable connections between Downtown District destination points.
On Feb. 7, the members of the Bangor City Council’s Infrastructure Committee heard the final report on the project’s impact and voted to include funding for permanent signage in the city’s regular budget.
If the permanent installation is approved by the full council, the new signs could go up as early as July.

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Announces Annual Award Winners

By | Coalition News, Events

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has announced the winners of its 2017 Annual Awards, honoring eight Maine individuals and organizations for their commitment to making Maine better for biking and walking in 2016.
“Each of these winners exemplifies what is best about cycling in Maine,” Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director Nancy Grant said. “Their commitment to their communities, and to making Maine a safer and better place for both cyclists and walkers should not only be recognized, but celebrated. We are proud to honor their efforts.”
This year’s award winners are:

  • Crystal Hitchings: 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 his or her community. Hitchings received the award for her work on the new Bold Coast Scenic Bikeway, a pilot project that could become a model for developing Scenic Bikeways across the state.
  • Kris Clark: 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, Clark received the award for his years of work with the Community Cycling Club of Portland and his continuing support of area bike-related non-profit organizations.
  • Anne Douglass: Next Generation Award – awarded to a person who instills a love, interest and appreciation of bikes in the next generation, Douglass received the award for her commitment to improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists on Deer Isle. (more specifics re: education)
  • The Law Enforcement Collaborative: Just Do It Award – awarded to a Maine individual or organization who exhibits leadership in public service around biking and walking, the Law Enforcement Collaborative received the award for its work to improve bicycle and pedestrian law enforcement in southern Maine communities.
  • Peter Garrett: Harry Faust Leadership Award – named after one of the Coalition’s most dedicated and effective Board Presidents, awarded to a Mainer who has been a true leader in his community to promote more biking, Garrett received the award for his continued advocacy on behalf of cyclists and pedestrians in the Waterville-Winslow area. (more specifics re: trails)
  • Kris Sornberger: Muddy Wheel Award – awarded to a leader in Mountain Biking in Maine, Sornberger received the award for his work to develop the mountain bike trail system in the Orono area.
  • Scott Spaulding: Volunteer of the Year Award – given to a volunteer who has contributed extraordinary time, effort and energy to the Coalition and its mission, Spaulding received the award for his outstanding effort in support of the Coalition’s many different events, including 4 years of volunteering for the full week of BikeMaine.
  • Ransom Consulting: Businesses for Better Bicycling Award – awarded to a Maine business that encourages and supports bicycling within their business and community, Ransom Consulting, a diversified engineering and consulting firm, joined the Bicycle Coalition as a business member in early 2016 and immediately became immersed in the Coalition’s advocacy work. Ransom employees lent expertise to the Coalition’s Imagine People Here program last year, helping design and implement temporary infrastructure installations. In addition to Imagine People Here, Ransom also sponsored the Coalition’s Community Spokes programs in 2016, as well as the Great Maine Bike Swaps.

Acadia National Park Transportation Concepts Position

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts

Acadia National Park (ANP) is one of Maine’s BEST places to bicycle, featuring Carriage Paths, the Park Loop Road and many other attractions.
The park is facing some extreme transportation challenges, namely, very large numbers of motor vehicles and buses on roads originally built for fewer and smaller vehicles. Inadequate parking and excessive traffic hinders visitors’ ability to enjoy places like Cadillac Mountain and Sand Beach and create hazards for all users, including cyclists.
As a result, the park is undergoing a major transportation planning project.
After receiving and reviewing extensive public imput in 2015, the ANP staff developed and recently released their “preliminary concepts” for managing increased visitation, traffic, parking, and public safety to ensure a quality visitor experience.  The document contains 5 concepts for the Mount Desert Island portion of the park (including one status-quo) and 2 for the Schoodic area. Two of the MDI proposals also include limiting when bicycilsts can use parts of the park’s paved roads.
The park is to be commended for their public process and it’s essential that all bicyclists participate in this process.
After reviewing the concepts, we have developed the following position:

  • The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is completely opposed to limiting access for bicyclists in the park.  Bicyclists take up very little space and cause minimal wear and tear to the roads. They are carbon free, quiet, don’t cause congestion and are NOT the root cause of the transportation problems in the park.
  • We do encourage limits to the number and size of private and commercial vehicles in the park during peak times.  Reservations are standard for restaurants, hotels and air or bus fares and would be useful in this context.
  • We also support the incentivisation and expansion of the use of the Island Explorer buses to reduce the numbers of private vehicles in the park.
  • We are opposed to two-way traffic on the entire Loop Road.  This will increase danger for bicyclists.

Please show the ANP how important you think bicycling is for the park. Comment via the official website by November 30th.  It’s essential that there is more access and safer cycling in the final plan.
Click here for the official comment website.
Click here for a link to the concepts.