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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.

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.

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.
###
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.

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.

2016 Annual Appeal

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts

CLICK HERE TO GIVE THE GIFT OF SAFER BICYCLING

Dear Friend:
What steps do you take to keep yourself safe when riding? Perhaps you’re someone who wears hi-visibility clothing, or always uses hand signals when turning? Maybe you use lights year-round or consistently make eye contact with drivers. These safe riding practices are all tools in each rider’s saddlebag, and along with consistent, legal riding techniques, will keep us all safer. Another one of these tools is a bicycle helmet. While wearing a helmet will not singularly keep you safe, in the event of a crash, it does provide up to an 88% reduction in head and brain injury, and can very well save your life.
We need your help this year-end because not every Maine family can afford to purchase a bicycle helmet for their child. The sad truth is that not every young bike rider can afford the basic equipment that helps keep them safe. We want to ensure that all children who are in need have access to high quality bicycle helmets and proper bicycle safety education, so they can develop a healthy, active lifestyle, and benefit from biking as a lifelong sport and mode of transportation. Your gift this year-end can help make this goal a reality.
screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-2-46-06-pmWe pride ourselves on our effective and far-reaching education program. Through this program, we have distributed over 5,000 FREE helmets to children around the state at community events, schools, bike rodeos and health fairs. We have seized opportunities to educate young riders about safe bike driving and to properly fit them with a helmet.
At the beginning of this year, we learned suddenly that the funding for our Helmet Program was no longer available. Historically, we have distributed over 1,600 helmets annually to children in need. This year, we found ourselves without the necessary funds to purchase helmets on the same scale as in previous years. Over the past 10 months alone, we have fielded requests from partners, schools and other organizations for over 1,000 helmets that we cannot fulfill due to lack of funding for the program.
We need your help to revitalize our Helmet Program for 2017.
It costs just $12 to equip a child with a helmet and educate them about how to ride their bicycle safely and legally. Your donation to this program will help protect some of the most vulnerable users of the road, and ensure that children can enjoy riding their bikes with the basic protective gear we take for granted.
During this season of giving, give the gift of safer bicycling. Please make a year-end contribution today and help us reach our goal of $12,000, or 1,000 helmets that will protect the heads of the next generation of bicyclists.
Most sincerely,
Nancy Grant
Executive Director
Bicycle Coalition of Maine

CLICK HERE TO GIVE THE GIFT OF SAFER BICYCLING

Valet Volunteers Needed! Beach to Beacon 10k Race – Saturday, August 6!

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts

Valet Volunteers Needed! Beach to Beacon 10k Race – Saturday, August 6!

Beach to Beacon is the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s largest Valet Bike Parking event of the year and is a fantastic opportunity to get folks out of their cars and onto their bikes. Last year we had about 250 users over the course of the day and this year we’re growing the service to accommodate up to 400 bikes! With this amount of growth, the Coalition needs more fantastic volunteers like YOU during the event. Volunteering as a Valet Attendant is fun, easy, and a great way to support the Coalition’s mission of making Maine better for biking and walking.

There are three time options for volunteering – Saturday, August 6 – Fort Williams Park:

1. 5:30am-12:30pm (full event)

2. 5:30am-9:00am (1st half)

3. 9:00am-12:30pm (2nd half)

To sign up for a volunteer shift, leave a comment below or email Bridgette Kelly at bridgette@bikemaine.org. More info on Valet Bike Parking here.