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Portland celebrates PARKing Day – VIDEO (WCSH6)

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts


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Portland celebrates PARKing Day


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Parking is at a premium in Maine’s largest city, with many commuters paying for spots in lots and visitors pumping meters full of change.  But on Friday, just for one day, PARKing Day, several of the spaces on the city’s streets became elaborate parks complete with books, benches and even bicycle powered blenders.

“The idea originally was just sort of to encourage people to think about how we use our public space,” explained Sarah Schindler, a law professor who encouraged the city to try the experiment of letting businesses and people occupy a parking spot for a day. 

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Bicycle Coalition does PARK(ing) Day the two-wheel way (PPH)

By | Coalition News, Events


This article originally appeared on

Bicycle Coalition does PARK(ing) Day the two-wheel way

Friday September 20, 2013 | 09:09 AM

Employees and volunteers for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine were out and about in front of the 34 Preble St. Portland location bright and early this morning to get ready for PARK(ing) Day. What they accomplished by 8 a.m. was to make the two vehicle parking spots in front of their office worth a visit today for anyone who has an interest in bikes – or milkshakes.

In case you’re not familiar, PARK(ing) Day is an international event when businesses, artists and regular citizens turn metered parking spaces into temporary public parks for a day. About 20 such “parks” are expected to be set up in Portland today. (To see Shannon Bryan’s slideshow on click here.)

The BCM’s park includes a make-your-own-milkshake opportunity for anyone who wants to spend a few minutes expelling the energy it takes to get the pedal-operated blender to churn. BCM’s Brian Allenby warns that it isn’t easy but an extra incentive is that riders will be blending away with Mount Desert Island Ice Cream.

Other reasons to stop by are a tune-up station where cyclists can get tires checked and chains greased, a living room complete with a bike seat chair and plenty of bike-related reading material, bike-part sculptures and the chance to hang on a great day with the cool folks from BCM.

They’ll be there until 5 p.m. today and here’s betting you can already tell that today’s a day you’ll want to escape the office a little bit early.

Parking spaces will become mini parks Friday in Portland

By | Coalition News, Events


This article originally appeared in the Bangor Daily News.

Parking spaces will become mini parks Friday in Portland

Courtesy of Stephen Davis. The VIA Agency took over a parking lot in front of their Congress Street headquarters in Portland for Parking Day last year. Friday the city partakes in the international event again.

By Kathleen Pierce, BDN Staff Posted Sept. 17, 2013, at 12:46 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Think it’s hard to find parking in Portland? Wait till Friday.

A slew of artists, designers and architects are taking the streets back for PARK(ing) Day one spot at a time.

The goal: to demonstrate alternative visions for civic spaces taken for granted by a car culture.

For the second year in a row, Portland will participate in the worldwide event where metered parking spots are temporarily turned into parklets, lounges and community zones for the day.

“The idea is to foster discussion on how we use our public space and how much is dedicated to people, cars and housing,” said Sarah Schindler, an associate professor at the University of Maine School of Law who is orchestrating PARK(ing) Day in Portland to explore “all the different possible ways we could use space owned by us.”

So far, seven spots are slated for transformation from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Congress Street, The VIA Agency will change a spot and a half into an art and copy garden outside its headquarters. There will be typewriters, so “people can bang away,” and easels with canvases and paper to encourage creativity, said Stephen Davis, a senior copywriter for the advertising agency.

In addition to working outdoors with co-workers and meeting neighbors, the goal of the interactive space is to inspire “new art pieces, beautiful poems, whatever people want to write,” said Davis, who set up a lounge with Astroturf and hip furniture for the event last year. “We want people to be more involved this time.”

And so does Abby King at the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. Around the corner, the organization is taking over two spaces on Preble Street to spread the word about commuting by bicycle.

There will be an outdoor living room where people can eat their lunch, and a bike repair station for safety checks, said King, the coalition’s community advocacy coordinator.

But hands down, the highlight will be the bicycle-powered milkshake machine. Free shakes and tuneups for all.

“It’s a fun way to demonstrate what kind of alternative uses we can think of. And think about our streets as community spaces,” said King. “This 8 by 20-foot piece of pavement has a lot more function than just storage for an individual car.”

And for the coalition that encourages people to leave their cars at home, the event is a perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

“It’s a great way to let people know we are here in Portland and this is what it’s all about,” said King.

It’s also a good way to promote a new business. The Portland Gear Hub, a new enterprise that will rent and sell low-cost skis, bikes and outdoor gear is setting up outside Nomads on Commercial Street.

This venture, which is set to open in the basement of the YMCA in October, debuts at PARK(ing) Day. It’s supported by the Community Bicycle Center in Biddeford and Camp Ketcha in Scarborough.

“It’s a wonderful way to get folks out and talking with each other, making sure that we are connecting with our community and are aware of our sense of place and our surroundings,” said Brooke Burkett, who is spearheading Portland Gear Hub.

Her parking spot will have a tent with Adirondack chairs fashioned from old skis, and a stack of outdoor magazines to get people in the mood to get outdoors.

“These spaces will allow people to take a breath during the day. It’s a parking space but something else is happening,” said Burkett.

Taking over valuable parking space may sound contradictory in an “open for business” economy, but companies such as Nomads are sponsoring the parklet outside their door. And city officials are on board.

“We have over 1,500 metered parking spots; in the big scheme of things it’s not a big impact,” said John Peverada, the city’s parking manager. “There were some complaints last year, but it was minimal.”

And with the recent announcement that a portion of Congress Square Park is being sold to private developers, the concept of communal space is all the more pertinent. On Friday, The VIA Agency’s park will sprout just a block away from Congress Square.

“They are shutting down the public park in Congress Square, so this is a way to have more public spaces,” said Davis. “It’s a nice thing to do.”

The deadline to participate in PARK(ing) Day is Wednesday at 12 noon. To sign up for the event, email Sarah Schindler at

Join Us at the Annual Coalition Flatbread Fundraising Party!

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts

Calling all pizza lovers! Come join us for our annual Flatbread fundraising party for a night of food, fun, bikes, and friends. Put it on your calendar now so you don’t miss out: TUESDAY, JULY 30.  Whether you ride  2 miles or 20 miles to get there, pizza is a great post ride snack!

Flatbread will be donating a portion of the night’s proceeds (take-out orders included) to the Coalition and as a bonus, Shipyard will be donating a dollar for every beer sold.  Support the Coalition and satisfy your pizza craving all at the same time!

  • Where: Flatbread Company, 72 Commercial St #5, Portland, ME ‎
  • When: Tuesday, July 30th, 5-9pm
  • What: Pizza and bikes, what could be better! 

Portland marks National Bike to Work Day (WMTW)

By | Coalition News, Events


This article originally appeared on

Portland marks National Bike to Work Day

City also gets good rating in bicycle survey

PORTLAND, Maine —The city of Portland and the Maine Bicycle Coalition hosted a Friday morning event in Monument Square to celebrate National Bike to Work Day.


Bicyclists got snacks, drinks, prizes and safety tips.

“There’s an incredible range of people who have discovered that bike commuting is fun. It’s healthy, it’s affordable, it’s good for the environment and once you try it, you realize that it’s a really great way to go,” said Nancy Grant, executive director of the Maine Bicycle Coalition.

Bike to Work Day occurred at the same time Portland was ranked the 36th best city out of 100 for bicycle riding. The rating from included factors such as hills, traffic and bike lanes.

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Celebrating National Bike To Work Day (WGME – Video)

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Celebrating National Bike To Work Day

PORTLAND (WGME) — Friday is definitely a day to take the road less traveled and swap your four wheeled vehicles for two wheels.  It’s National Bike to Work Day and definitely a day to remember we all must share the road.

Jim Tasse of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine says when you’re finally moving you need to ride on the right with traffic, and be as predictable as possible in your movement.  Always use hand signals to show where you are going and obey all traffic signals and signs. You also want to leave at least three feet between you and parked cars and watch out for debris. 

He also stresses that drivers need to be aware, be patient, and share the road.  “It’s really important to understand a car can be a lethal weapon. What you might think of as some sort of gesture to you know teach a cyclist a lesson or even you’re just in a hurry and you’re trying to get by that cyclist can actually put that cyclist at grave risk of injury or death.”

Tasse also says before you hit the road make sure you are wearing a helmet and bright visible clothing that will not get caught in your chain or pedals.

Great Maine Bike Swap features hundreds of bikes

By | Coalition News, Events


This article originally appeared on

Great Maine Bike Swap features hundreds of bikes

Event held at USM’s Sullivan Gym from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday


Great Maine Bike Swap
Diana Scannell Image



PORTLAND, Maine —Maine bicycling enthusiasts are gearing up for the riding season ahead with a bike swap in Portland.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s Great Maine Bike Swap is being held at the University of Southern Maine’s Sullivan Gym from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Hundreds of people attend the event each year to seek out used bicycles at affordable prices or to sell bikes they no longer need. The coalition held another bike swap in Orono earlier this month.
Admission to Sunday’s event is $3, but it’s free for students at USM, the University of Maine, the University of New England and Southern Maine Community College, as well as children 12 or younger. Last year’s swap attracted more than 1,600 people.

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Great Maine BIke Swap gets used bicycles under fresh legs

By | Coalition News, Events

This article originally appeared on

Derrick Rossignol | The Maine Campus
Posted on April 15, 2013, at 2:58 a.m.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine, which refers to itself as “one of the most effective bicycle advocacy groups in the country” on their website, took over the New Balance Student Recreation Center to host their annual Great Maine Bike Swap.

“The Great Maine Bike Swap is an opportunity where people can get their trusty old bikes out of the shed, garage [or] barn and put them under a fresh set of legs,” said Fred Rovie, a member of the Great Maine Bike Swap organizing committee.

For a $3 fee, interested sellers could drop off their bicycles at the New Balance Student Recreation Center on Saturday, and have it on display for the Sunday event. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine takes a $15 commission on all sales.

As for interested buyers, two basketball courts were reserved to display of a variety of bikes, gear and Bicycle Coalition of Maine merchandise. There was also an area for prospective buyers to test bicycles.

“Most of the bikes come from individuals who have outgrown a bike or they have a lifestyle change and they say, ‘I’m not riding a road bike anymore. It’s been hanging in the barn for 12 years; what the heck? Let’s get it out,’” Rovie said.

In addition to individuals bringing in personal bicycles, several older, formal bicycles from bike shops were also on display. According to Rovie, the prices of the bicycles range anywhere from $10 to $2,000.

“[T]here’s a lot of real nice, plain vanilla bikes that end up being here, and people get a chance to get a bike under them that they might not [have] otherwise,” Rovie said, adding that there are a few “dream bikes” at the Bike Swap as well.

“It’s a pink Serotta,” he said, recalling a steal earlier that day. “It’s a custom-built bicycle — a road bike. The original price on it was probably close to $1,800, and somebody got it for [$200]”

Rovie says he also enjoys the social aspect of the event.

“It also ends up being a really nice sociable event,” Rovie said. “I think we have seven bike shop owners that are here today, and they don’t often have a chance to mix and mingle.

“Some of us [who] have been doing this for a while, we get to see people that [we] haven’t seen in a long, long time,” he added. “One of the chaps I was just talking to owns three trikes, and he’s owned about six trikes. I sort of see him here, and I don’t see him other places.”

Aside from the actual bicycles, Rovie says the event is also great for cycling advocacy.

“[The] Bicycle Coalition of Maine is here, obviously, and we work on our safety education and access,” Rovie said. “The Bangor Land Trust is here [too]. One of the pieces we’re dear to is trail access. The newly formed chapter of NEMBA is here — the New England Mountain Bike Association. So there’s a lot of connectivity that takes place that is absolutely wonderful.”

According to Rovie, the Great Maine Bike Swap began when Davis Carver, owner of Bath Cycle and Ski, had a vision.

“Davis Carver had a vision and knew there was an opportunity to have bikes bought and sold and people would be excited to do that, and he ran the bike swap,” Rovie said. “He started the bike swap in Portland and ran it for seven years, and it never could get legs under it as a commercial venture.”

It was at that point that the event was taken over by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.

“[W]hen we got a partnership with [the University of Southern Maine], that allowed us to really move ahead and bring it to a level where it’s financially sustainable,” Rovie said.

The Great Maine Bike Swap is one of many events put on by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, a group that, according to their website, leads the effort to improve biking in our state.

“[T]he real [purpose] is to make Maine a better place to bicycle, because it’s got some really, really cool places to bike and there are some really great people here,” Rovie said. “Ten years ago, if you talked about a state where bicycling was [great], everybody would say, ‘Vermont!’ Well, Vermont spent years just saying, ‘Vermont’s great to bike!’ They don’t have any different facilities [than Maine], and they don’t have the coast. Their roads aren’t that much different from what we have here.”

The newest event from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine is BikeMaine, set to take place from Sept. 7-14. According to the BikeMaine website, “In the inaugural BikeMaine ride, 350 riders will pedal 60-75 miles daily across Maine’s varied landscapes on a fully supported ride, camping along the way in friendly and unique communities that will highlight what makes Maine great. Riders will enjoy meals featuring seasonal local foods and local entertainment and, through their presence in each community, will help support local Maine economies.”

Video – Great Maine Bike Swap cycles into spring

By | Coalition News, Events

This article originally appeared on

ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER)– As spring arrives many of us are thinking of ways to enjoy the outdoors. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine wants to encourage Mainers to trade in their four wheels for two and start biking. The University of Maine hosted the annual Great Maine Bike Swap.

The event allows people to either sell their bikes that might be taking up some space in their garage. Or buy yourself one at a cheaper price.

Executive Director Nancy Grant with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine said, “There’s lots of people, especially these days, that maybe haven’t been on a bike since they were a high school kid. Or [they are] in their twenties and thinking ‘Hey maybe this is something I want to try.’ By coming to the swap it’s sort of a low risk purchase.”

Attendees could test drive the different kinds of bikes. The racks were full of everything from mountain bikes, road bikes, cycles for the kids, and even tandem bikes. With plenty to choose from there was something for every cyclist.

More than one thousand people took a peek at the merchandise and many gave the bikes a test drive. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine sponsors the annual springtime event members say it’s the best time to get people thinking about getting back on the bike.

Grant said, “If they love it they can maybe come back and maybe recycle that bike here next year and maybe buy something a little more expensive. You know the hope is to just get more Mainers on bikes, that’s what we are all about.”

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine will be holding another bike swap in Portland on Sunday, April 28th.