BikeMaine 2013: The Inaugural Ride

2013 Route Information

ORONO

As the home of the flagship campus of the University of Maine, Orono derives some of its energy from students when classes are in session, but the town maintains its own young, vibrant, and healthy culture throughout the year. The town contains approximately 1200 acres of bicycle and pedestrian trails maintained by the Orono Land Trust.

Historically, Orono was known for its numerous lumber and gristmills because of the ample power provided by the two rivers. The lumber and cash that flowed through the Penobscot and Stillwater lumber mills during her frontier times built many of the 19th century homes that line Main Street today. Orono is one of Maine’s iconic destinations boasting a vibrant downtown and Maine’s biggest university, separated by the spectacular waters of the Penobscot River.

Orono to Dover-Foxcroft Route Description

“You Can Get There From Here” – The ride starts through the University of Maine campus and then traverses Maine’s first official bicycle trail, connecting Orono to Old Town.  After passing along the Penobscot River it heads west on the flattest terrain of the entire ride.  Grab lunch in Milo, the “town of three rivers.” As you approach the highlands, short hills come in waves and the views open north toward Katahdin. Then it’s on to Dover-Foxcroft via Brownville and Sebec over a series of hills. The final ten miles gently flow along the Piscataquis River.

 Mileage: 71.1 miles

Elevation: 3,491 feet

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DOVER-FOXCROFT

Welcome to beautiful Piscataquis County and Dover-Foxcroft, located in the heart of Central Maine. Dover-Foxcroft started its history as two distinct towns, Dover and Foxcroft. The two were separated by the Piscataquis River, providing power to Dover’s mills, on the south side of the river and Foxcroft’s mills, on the north. On March 1, 1922 the two towns married and formed Dover-Foxcroft. The town now has a total area of 71.2 square miles and a population of 4,135. Being the county seat, Dover-Foxcroft is referred to as the “Shiretown” of Piscataquis County. It is well located within the county- close to Baxter State Park, just a few miles away from the Appalachian Trail, and a stone’s throw to beautiful Peaks Kenny State Park and Sebec Lake.

Dover-Foxcroft to Belfast Route Description

“From Mountain to Sea … Eventually”– The route starts by heading south through the heart of interior central Maine. Mostly small hills characterize today’s route, with periodic interruption by several significant climbs – and descents. You’ll be passing through communities like Garland, Stetson, and North Dixmont on your way to Belfast.

Mileage: 68.9 miles

Elevation: 4,725 feet

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BELFAST

Named one of the coolest small towns in America by USA Today, Belfast sits on a hill overlooking the breathtaking tidal waters of Penobscot Bay. Settled in 1765, Belfast’s past and present speak of its creativity, innovation, tradition, community, and independence.  It is the economic hub and county seat of Waldo County with a dynamic working waterfront, an historic and architecturally rich downtown (including the country’s oldest shoe store), and more art galleries than any city its size in the state. Within minutes of leaving Rte. 1, you enter a landscape that melds the natural world of woods and waters with a vibrant rhythm of art and commerce.

Belfast to Castine Route Description

“Penobscot Bay Pedal Into History”- By the numbers, this is the most challenging portion of the route, with spectacular scenery to balance and boost spirits. The first 23 miles is on U.S. Route One with its wide shoulders and little early morning traffic. First stop is historic Fort Knox on the Penobscot River and the new Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory (tallest public bridge observatory in the world at 420 ft. and a must see). The route leaves Route One to explore one of Maine’s best-kept secrets – the Blue Hill Peninsula. The sea level and elevated coastal views on the second half of this day’s route will take your breath away. As you arrive in Castine, you are treated to views of Penobscot Bay.

Mileage: 72.8 miles

Elevation: 5,197 feet

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CASTINE

If you like history, you will fall in love with Castine, a classic New England coastal village at the tip of a peninsula reaching into Penobscot Bay at the mouth of the Penobscot River. The peninsula was fought over for more than 200 years (early 1600s through 1815) by the French, British and Dutch, and was the site of the Revolutionary War’s Penobscot Expedition of 1779, often called the worst American naval disaster prior to Pearl Harbor.

Castine, on the National Register of Historic Places, has two distinct geographical areas. “The Village”, now home to Maine Maritime Academy, is peppered with historic markers, ruins of forts, a vibrant waterfront, Dyce Head Light and the 185-acre Witherle Woods preserve – along with a well-preserved collection of beautiful Georgian and Federal architecture lining the grid of streets.  “Off-Neck” is a mostly rural area with late 18th and 19th century homes nestled among farmhouses, rusticator “cottages” and more modern architectural contributions.

Castine to Bar Harbor Route Description

“Roll with the Rusticators”As you depart from historic Castine and cut east across the Blue Hill Peninsula — new roads and vistas, and the same rolling terrain that forms the granite backbone of this area. The route skirts downtown Ellsworth and follows the Union River and Bay before cutting over to Trenton and onto Mt. Desert Island. On MDI, the route joins some less traveled roads before joining a portion of the Park Loop Road where there is a final climb with great views of Frenchman Bay and Bar Harbor before descending into town.

Mileage: 65.3 miles

Elevation: 3,867 feet

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BAR HARBOR

Nestled on the east side of Mt. Desert Island, adjacent to Acadia National Park, this famous summer colony has welcomed visitors for well over a hundred years. Bar Harbor is filled with summer “cottages” — beautifully ornate and breathtaking homes built by some of our nation’s most prominent families (Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, JP Morgan, Astor) to serve as their summer homes.  Most of these homes were built during the “Gilded Age” of 1880-1920 and most still stand today.

Consider hopping on a mountain bike while visiting Bar Harbor (local rentals are available) and riding the remarkable Carriage Trails of Acadia National Park (the first national park east of the Mississippi). Travel by boat with your bike to Schoodic Point and ride along this northern section of Acadia National Park; or stay on Mount Desert Island and ride the beautiful Park Loop Road with a stop at Jordan Pond for lunch. So many great ride options … or stay off your bike completely, shop in Bar Harbor, hike the many trails in Acadia, sea kayak or whale watch.

Bar Harbor to Bangor YMCA’s Camp Jordan Route Description

Ellsworth, ME, “Camp Night”This is a reasonably flat portion (for Maine) traveling off Mount Desert Island on a different and quieter route, then onto busy Route 3 for approximately five miles before returning to rural roads. A short section of riding on U.S. Route One to Sullivan, then heading away from the coast and into lakes country.  The final ten miles is on Route 1A and head into Bangor YMCA’s Camp Jordan.

Mileage: 68.5 miles

Elevation: 3,606 feet

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CAMP JORDAN

Bangor YMCA’s Camp Jordan is a quintessential Maine camp: nestled in the woods at the edge of a lake, this 200-acre wooded waterfront property is a beautiful gathering spot with its spectacular 6000-square foot dining hall, generously donated by Maine’s most famous author — Stephen King, and his wife.

Camp Jordan began its program in 1908 and was named in the honor of Robert A. Jordan, the first General Secretary of the Bangor YMCA.  The camp moved its program to its current site on Branch Lake in 1925 and was built on the farm land of Ephriam Higgins. Over the year’s buildings, programs and land have been added, renovated and upgraded to create this oasis – certain to create nostalgia for those summer camp days of our youth.

Bangor YMCA’s Camp Jordan (Ellsworth, ME) to Orono Route Description

Giddy-up to Orono”- Of all the miles on this route, this portion will seem like a warm up ride (almost). After leaving Camp Jordan and skirting Ellsworth, the route travels up the west side of picturesque Graham Lake before heading across country on rural roads past places like the Springy Ponds. Cycling a short stretch on Route 9 that is low speed and less hilly than the rest (with one notable exception). The route then follows the Penobscot River upstream from Eddington to Old Town for the final spin into Orono.

Mileage: 53.4 miles

Elevation: 2,915 feet

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