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Alternative Bike Route for Route 1 Yarmouth During Bridge Construction

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Travel

As construction continues on the replacement of the Route 1 bridge that spans Main Street in Yarmouth, MaineDOT and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine are recommending an alternative route that takes bicyclists away from construction directly under the bridge.
Bicyclists should consider this recommended alternative route until the project is completed next year. 
This $4.1 million bridge replacement is expected to be completed in the summer of 2019 and will feature a 5-foot paved sidewalk on the east side of Route 1 and a new 10-foot multi-path use on its west. New lighting, railings and illuminated crosswalks will be installed to ensure safety. The new bridge will also have an extra foot of clearance underneath on Main Street.

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.”

The Milk Of Human Kindess: Korean Monk Travels 30,000km Through North America on Bicycle

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Travel

Because Daung Sunim has no advance team or sweep vehicles to transport his gear, he will be setting up his own camp most nights of his 30,000 kilometer bicycle trip around North America after biking about 100 kilometers a day, (that’s 62 miles). Set up doesn’t take too long however since he doesn’t have a lot of spare room on his bike for frivolities like camping gear.

Sunim, a 42-year old Korean monk who belongs to a city temple in Soeul, is finding his 2-year trip to be a means of connecting with other human beings he would otherwise never meet.  As he is traveling, he is constantly forging new friendships and experiencing the kindness of the human race.  Of his trip, Sunim says, “my pilgrimage is not only my path, but also a journey to connect with the lives of others.”

Though the mileage is continually taking a toll on Sunim’s bicycle, he never lacks parts or service as they are donated by people who have heard of Sunim’s journey.  While Sunim can always find a camping spot, a fellow monk named Adam Tebe has started a facebook page where complete strangers can volunteer to provide Sunim shelter and meals.

This impromptu support team, created with absolutely no direction from Sunim himself, has also created a blog where host families can post their accounts of Sunim’s stay with them, and where Sunim’s own blog posts are translated into English so his new friends can follow his travels. Sunim is finding social media to be an important way to share his journey with all his new friends and share his message with people he may never actually have the opportunity to meet in person.

As he covers endless miles of asphalt, Sunim is met with boundless enthusiasm and encouragement from supporters of his ambitious bicycle journey.  Dave Pope, a member of the support group for the monk, calls the kindness these random strangers are exhibiting “an example of brotherly love and mutual respect” and “a testament to kindness and generosity.” 

What better way to see North America, connect with your spirituality, and experience our species’ capacity for compassion than by bike?

Sunim will soon be crossing the Canadian border into Maine. If you are interested in learning more about him and how you can be a part of this journey of human kindness, visit the facebook page or his blog

Active Heroes Team to Walk from Calais, ME to West Palm Beach, FL starting September 8

By | Events, Travel

Active Heroes is a volunteer led organization focused on helping Veterans, Active Duty Military and their families.  Starting in September of 2012, the Hike for Heroes team will set out to hike across the east coast on foot from Maine to Florida. Their journey will span nearly 3000 miles across the East Coast Greenway trail to inspire people they meet to help military families in need with the message that anyone can step up to help.

The tentative schedule for the hike through Maine is below.  Any support in this effort is welcome!  Please contact Mike Bowman for more information

Mike Bowman
Active Heroes – Lead Volunteer
mike@activeheroes.org
317-835-5288

9/8/2012    Calias, ME
9/11/2012    Machias, ME
9/12/2012    Columbia Hills, ME
9/13/2012    Milbridge, ME
9/15/2012    Ellsworth, ME
9/19/2012    Bangor, ME
9/20/2012    Hermon Ski area
9/22/2012    Unity, ME
9/24/2012    Albion, ME
9/25/2012    Waterville, ME
9/26/2012    Augusta, ME
9/29/2012    Lewiston, ME
10/1/2012    Lisbon, ME
10/2/2012    Brunswick, ME
10/3/2012    Freeport, ME
10/4/2012    Portland, ME
10/5/2012    Biddford, ME
10/6/2012    Kennebunk, ME
10/8/2012    Berwick, NE
10/9/2012    Portsmith, NH

PPH Article About BikeMaine

By | Coalition News, Events, Travel

Pedal On: Bicycle coalition planning cross-state ride for next fall

By Karen Beaudoin

Seven days on a bike seat isn’t for everyone. The thought of pedaling 400 miles can be a turnoff for some.

But cycling enthusiasts on the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s BikeMaine Ride Committee are betting that a week-long journey through the Pine Tree State will be appealing to plenty. And the odds seem to be pretty well stacked in their favor.

“Virtually every single person we’ve talked to about it has been incredibly enthusiastic,” said Nancy Grant, BCM’s executive director.

The coalition plans to offer the first BikeMaine ride from Sept. 7-14, 2013. The hype has already started, as committee members have communicated with cities and towns, cyclists, legislators, the Maine Office of Tourism and others who may have a hand in making the event a success.

BikeMaine is modeled after CycleOregon, now in its 25th year. Its 2013 ride, from Sept. 8-15, sold out all 2,200 spots in 45 minutes and has 800 potential riders on a waiting list. Several Mainers have ridden CycleOregon (some 10 times), including ride committee chair Mark Ishkanian.

“I was just amazed at how well it was organized and how much fun it was to cycle around a different state for seven days,” said Ishkanian, a public relations consultant from Readfield. He’ll ride his fifth CycleOregon this year.

“Every time I came back I kept asking ‘Why can’t we have a ride like this in Maine?”‘

Ishkanian answered his own question by taking the lead on organizing the Maine event. His research revealed that no New England states are among the 14 currently offering a mass ride.

The location of the inaugural ride will be announced early next winner with registration immediately following. The location is “top secret,” but sample rides offered in BikeMaine’s planning packet include “Bangor to the Coast,” which includes Belfast, Stonington, Bar Harbor, Machias and Aurora (349 miles, plus a day on the Acadia National Park carriage trails), and “Mountains, Lakes and Rivers,” which includes Fryeburg, Upton, Madison, Bingham, Wellington, Winthrop and Bridgton (409 miles). According to Grant, the group “is really committed to getting to parts of the state that are off the beaten path.”

Ride organizers will work with towns along the route to provide nightly entertainment, local food and additional activities for riders. Ishkanian said one of his favorite things about Cycle-Oregon is mingling with local people and exploring the towns.

“We’d go past a school where kids were selling lemonade and cookies,” he said, “and I can’t ride past kids selling lemonade and cookies, I have to stop and talk to them.” The children offered a map and pushpins that riders could place to show where they came from. As the kids realized, Maine is far, far away from Oregon, but that could be a big draw for the newest cross-state ride.

“The ride is a lot about exploring Maine,” said Grant, who calls her CycleOregon experience incredibly memorable. “We might go places where participants can rent canoes and go into the ocean.” Some stops may be near off-road trails cyclists can try.

The goal is to recruit half the riders for the first event from in-state and half from away. Visitors will see Maine’s main attractions and local riders will likely see parts of their state they’ve never encountered. All riders will benefit from the huge physical challenge and the training needed to undertake such an adventure.

“Part of it is the challenge of having that kind of a goal,” Ishkanian said of his Cycle Oregon experience. “Having an event at the end of the summer, I had to continually train for helped me get out more.”

BCM is working with grants from the Betterment Fund, Horizon Foundation, the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation and the Maine Office of Tourism to get the event rolling. The goal for year one is 350 riders, and neither Grant nor Ishkanian think that will be difficult to reach.

The toughest part will be the next 14 months of organizing. Beyond the route and registration, there is also the logistics of transporting luggage for 350 riders, camping areas, volunteers, food and much more to think about. CycleOregon has matured to a level where it gets 400 volunteers, communities open up their football fields for camping, four tractor trailer trucks are used to transport gear, high school students schlepp luggage for tips, and the organization provides tents for half of its riders.

BikeMaine riders will have to provide their own tents and gear, at least for the first two years. By Year 3, the hope is that upping the number to 750 participants will allow the ride to be self-supporting and for BCM to split excess revenues with host communities for local pedestrian and bicycle projects.

“It will be our biggest event,” Grant said, “and we hope to make it absolutely a signature event.”

And when they finally see BikeMaine become a reality, with hundreds of cyclists pedaling away from the start on Day 1, members of the ride committee will likely feel much the way Ishkanian describes the end of a perfect ride in Oregon: “It’s a sense of accomplishment, it’s fun to do, and it’s fun to be with a group of people at a table in the beer tent talking about the ride.”

Karen Beaudoin can be contacted at 791-6296 or at: kbeaudoin@mainetoday.com

Women's Ride Alumnae start Women's Only Bicycle Touring Company

By | Travel

The owners of Vesta Velo, a Mount Washington Valley bicycle touring company, joined the Coalition’s Maine Women’s Ride before starting on this exciting endeavor!

Inspiring women

Exclusive club for bike tours
July 15, 2012

Encourage, inspire and empower women to ride bikes.

That’s the philosophy behind a startup Mount Washington Valley bicycle touring company that caters solely to women.

Virginia Schrader, 49, of Kearsarge and Jeanne Twehous, 55, of North Conway started Vesta Velo (vestavelo.com) this year, offering pampering two- and multi-day tours around the White Mountains.

“I think Virginia and I share a tremendous passion for biking and we felt like we wanted to do something with that,” said Twehous, a nurse. “We both believe in the power of the bike and wanted to share that and our beautiful valley here with others.”

Said Schrader, a teacher at Kennett High School, “We live and ride in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and we thought what better place to share our passion?”

Leave the tent at home as accommodations are definitely indoors. A sag wagon transports the luggage and holds healthy snacks. The guided tours are aimed at a group of 6-12 women. Meals are included. Routes average about 25 to 35 miles per day, but there are some 40-plus-mile days too, depending on the tour.

The Whites are loaded with rolling terrain and stunning scenery. Clients can pedal a loop through Bear Notch and ride to the top of Jackson’s Black Mountain. Another trip features riding through Pinkham and Crawford Notches. The region’s grand hotels are the focus of another. Starting at the White Mountain Hotel, pedal to Jackson’s Wentworth, the Mount Washington, Whitefield’s Mountain View Grand and Adair Country Inn in Bethlehem.

Though most tours focus on road riding, one multi-day excursion features circumnavigating Mount Washington in three days, followed by mountain biking area dirt roads and singletrack.

They may expand their tour offerings in the future.

The two are answering queries largely from East Coast riders, though some are coming from Canada, the western United States and even one from Germany.

“We’re talking to women from all walks of life, but the most common trait would be age, women 45 and up who may be entering a new, perhaps less encumbered stage of their lives,” said Schrader. She and husband Bob owned a Tamworth inn for 10 years and partnered in an inn-to-inn bicycle touring company.

The idea for Vesta Velo came during a mountain bike ride. Both women started biking in childhood on Schwinns and soon discovered an independence through cycling.

“I remember distinctly my first day learning to ride without training wheels on my green Schwinn Stingray with its cool banana seat,” Schrader said. “Truly it was love at first ride, tears, cuts, bruises and all. The joy and freedom of riding stayed with me for years.”

Those feelings stay with them today, and they want to foster independence and strength to women through cycling.

“It’s not that we don’t like men – we’re married to two of them – it’s just that men change the dynamic of the group,” Twehous said. “We have different priorities and talk about different things.”

Added Schrader, “We just want to have fun yet get a really good workout and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded women.”

Both are experienced riders. Twehous toured Mexico’s Copper Canyon with her husband to celebrate her 50th birthday. She once “mostly” rode cross-country, and while living in Boston commuted by bike. She likes to ride a century each season.

A former racer in her early and mid-20s, Schrader is a year-round bicycle commuter through rain, sleet, cold and snow. She competes annually in Crank the Kanc, a time trial along the popular Kancamagus, and enjoys Bike for Books, the North Conway Library’s mountain bike fundraiser. She’ll ride a couple of centuries a season. The first date with her husband was on bikes, 21 years ago.

Recently the two, along with their daughters, pedaled the 25-mile Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s Women’s Ride along the coast from Freeport.

The two believe in a very strong advocacy side to their business and also lead a women’s group ride on Sundays.

“I think pretty much anyone can benefit from riding a bike – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually,” Twehous said. “You don’t have to do hills and centuries. Just pedaling around the block is enough to make your feel like a kid again and who doesn’t need that?”

2012 Lobster Ride FAQs

By | Events, Travel

 

How do I get to the Lobster Ride?

The Lobster Ride starts and ends at Oceanside High School in Rockland Maine.
Google Maps can provide directions from your location, and Oceanside High School is easily visible from Broadway (U.S. 1A).

If you use a GPS, plug in this address:

Oceanside High School
400 Broadway
Rockland, ME 04841
 

Where do I sign in the day of the event?

Inside the gym at Oceanside Highschool in Rockland. There will be signs and volunteers to direct you  where to go.

Can I register the day of the event?

On-site registration will be available the day of the event at Oceanside Highschool in Rockland

Can I change my mind on which distance I ride?  

If you want to ride a different route from the one you signed up for, that’s no problem! When you check in, just ask your registration volunteer for the map and cue sheet of the route you would like to do.

 What does my registration include?

Aside from breathtaking routes, your registration comes with ride support and amenities. The ride itself includes several rest stops stocked with food and water, as well as mechanical and safety support at rest stops and through SAG wagons (link to safety question).

You also get your choice of blue or orange socks (but get there early so your color doesn’t run out!) You also will receive the lunch you signed up for with your registration. Showers are available for after the ride, and we will be screening the Tour de France in the lunch room.

Are there shower facilities available for riders’ use? 

Yes. There are showers in the high school locker rooms available for all riders.

How can I volunteer?

By filling out our volunteer form! We’d love to have you. Volunteers get a free volunteer tee-shirt, Lobster Ride socks and lunch as a token of our thanks.

Will the event be held if there is rain?

The Lobster Ride is a rain or shine event.  We will ride unless there are weather emergencies.

Where do I park?

There is plenty of parking in the lot of Oceanside High School. Volunteers will direct you. 

What should I bring?

Helmets are required. Bring a water bottle with water and/or sports drink. You’ll be able to replenish at rest stops.  Dress for a range of weather conditions. The coast can be extra cool and New England is famous for its changing weather.  We recommend layers. Don’t forget sunscreen! 

When should I arrive?

Come at least 30 minutes early for your departure time!

On-site check in and registration will open at 7:00am. We will stagger the departure times of each ride. 
The 100 Mile Riders will gather at 7:50 for an 8:00 am departure
the 50 Milers gather at 8:20 for a departure time of 8:30 am
30 Milers gather at 8:50 am for a 9 am departure
16 Mile Riders at 9:20 am for a 9:30 am departure

What safety precautions are being taken to protect riders?

Each ride will have a support (SAG) vehicle following the group should you need on-the-road mechanical help or a lift.  There will also be mechanical help at each rest stop.  Please follow the rules of the road, ride single file and do not ride with audio devises.

When and where will food be available?

Food is provided before the ride, (at the high school) at rest stops intermittently for all routes, and of course, after the ride. When you register, you can choose between a lobster roll, tuna roll, or a vegetarian lunch option.

What do I do upon ride return? 

Check in with us when you arrive. We want to know that you returned safely.  We will also give you your lunch ticket when you check in.  Then you can eat lunch and view  the last stage of the Tour de France on a wide screen TV.

Is there a time limit for each distance?

Only for the Century (100 mile riders).  The Century ride consists of 2 different 50 mile loops.  If you have not finished the first 50 mile loop by noon,  we will recommend that you finish your ride at 50 or 80 miles (instead of riding the second 50 mile loop,  ride the 30 mile route).  You may choose to continue riding the full 100 mile route, but if you continue on your own, rider services (rest stops, mechanical and SAG) may not be available and you’ll miss the post-ride fun.  The kitchen will close at 4:00 pm.

Where can I purchase Lobster Ride Jerseys and other merchandise? 

You can purchase merchandise when you register, or revisit the registration site and simply purchase merchandise. We will bring all the merchandise to the event, but clothing goes quickly, so act fast. Lobster Ride merchandise will be available for 2 weeks after the ride but then not again until next year!

What else can I do while I’m in the area?

Visit our website with suggestions on how to make a weekend of your lobster ride. You also get admission to local museums (Farnsworth Art Museum,  Maine Lighthouse Museum, Owls Head Transportation Museum) free with your registration!

Who puts on this event? What does the Bicycle Coalition of Maine do? Why should I become a member?

Since 1992, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has been working to make Maine a better place to bicycle. Members play a huge role in the BCM events, legislative advocacy, and community advocacy that helps to rank Maine as one of the top ten most bike-friendly states in the country! You or your company can become members or volunteer.

How do I donate so this event can keep happening?

You can become a member and receive member discounts and other bonuses, or if you’re already a member, donate an additional amount to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.

You didn’t answer my question. Who can I contact?

 Please call the office at  (207) 623-4511.  We are happy to answer any questions about our ride or our organization.

Coalition Launches Major New Ride

By | BikeMaine, Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts, Travel

The Coalition released this press release this morning about our exciting new ride!

Augusta, ME – On its twentieth anniversary, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine (BCM) is launching a major new 7-day bicycle event that will showcase Maine as a premier cycling destination on the East Coast. BCM is Maine’s leading voice for bicyclists with programs on safety, improved infrastructure and advocacy both in Augusta and Washington. As a result of BCM’s efforts, Maine has consistently ranked in the top ten bicycle-friendly states and as high as number two last year.

The new ride, called “BikeMaine,” will be a weeklong rolling exploration of Maine with each year’s route taking place in a different part of the state. Bicyclists will camp in designated host communities each evening and eat community-prepared meals using Maine ingredients. Each year’s ride will cover approximately four hundred miles and is designed for experienced cyclists looking for the challenge and adventure of a seven-day bike ride and camping trip.

The inaugural ride will take place September 7-14 next year (2013). First year ridership will be limited to approximately 350 cyclists and the event is expected to grow to over 1,000 cyclists within four years and ultimately reach 2,000 cyclists.

“As one of the premier bicycling states in the U.S., we wanted to create a signature ride that showcases the best of Maine – from lobster and landscapes to small towns and great people – in a weeklong rolling adventure,” said BikeMaine ride committee chair Mark Ishkanian.  Ishkanian noted that Maine has a number of successful bicycle rides – the three-day Trek Across Maine, the two-day MS 150 and the one-day Dempsey Challenge and BCM’s own Lobster Ride and Women’s Ride but no weeklong mass ride exists in Maine or New England.

The ride will be modeled after weeklong rides in a dozen other states, most notably CycleOregon – celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia in its 32nd year and Quebec’s Le Grand Tour Desjardin, in its 19th year.  These statewide rides have shown a significant positive economic impact along each years’ route.

Initial start up fundraising for BikeMaine is well underway with grants from the Betterment Fund, Horizon Foundation and Elmina B. Sewall Foundation and a special marketing grant from the Maine Office of Tourism.

The route of the inaugural ride is currently being researched and will be announced next winter. Online registration will occur soon after the route is announced. The registration fee (which is still under development) will cover meals, rest stops, baggage transport, on route SAG support, entertainment and camping each night in host communities. Participants will supply their own tent and related camping equipment.

“Our new bicycle ride will compliment the other great Maine rides of shorter duration and allow BCM to spread its message about bicycling and bike safety throughout Maine each year as the route rotates around the state,” said Nancy Grant, BCM executive director.

She noted that a key aspect of BikeMaine will be giving back to the local host communities through a community grant program supporting local bicycle infrastructure, as well as the purchase of local food and services along each year’s route.

More information will be posted on the bikemaine.org website as information becomes available.

Make a Weekend out of your Lobster Ride!

By | Events, Travel

Mid-Coast Maine is a spectacularly beautiful place. When you come to ride the Lobster Ride, consider staying for the weekend.  Below are some fun adventures for our riders.  (Please note:  the Bicycle Coalition of Maine is not responsible for any part of these opportunities.  All reservations, inquiries and financial transactions need to be made through the host company listed below.)

 

1.Cellar Door Vineyard Food & Wine Pairing at the Cellardoor Winery.  After your ride, reward yourselves with complementary food and wine pairings.

July 21, 5:30-7:30 pm, $45/person.

 

 

 

 

 

2.Schooner Olad Enjoy a sunset cruise on the Schooner Olad.  Let Captain Aaron Lincoln show you Penobscot Bay, with its rocky shoreline, lighthouses, seals, bald eagles, islands, lobster boats and hidden mansions.  “Camden Maine Sailing at its BEST!” (Bring your own food and beverage.)  This cruise is reserved specifically for Lobster Riders.
July 21, 6:30-9:00 pm. $40/person. Full refund for poor weather.
Visit the Olad website for more information and FAQ’s.

 

 

 

3.Schooners Take a 3 or 5 overnight trip on a Maine WindJammer Cruise“Come re-live the great days of sail on authentic, tall masted schooners and spend carefree days among the islands of Maine.”  Lobster Riders get a 5% discount.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Tour Camden Harbor by kayak.  You’ll get some basic paddling and safety instruction from a Registered Maine Guide and then head out past yachts, schooners, stately summer homes and a lighthouse. kayak trip

Two hour trip:  $35 for adults/$30 children ages 10-15.
Four hour trip:  $75 adults/$60 kids ages 10-15.