Bike Maine 2019 Coastal Connections logo
L.L.Bean logo

Ride With Us

The Kennebec River is magical, rising from Moosehead Lake and cascading to the Atlantic Ocean. And where there’s a river there’s usually a valley…and this one’s spectacular. We’ll ride through the southern portion of the Kennebec Valley, as we’ll connect to Midcoast Maine.

There are few places on the East Coast where you can hike a mountain and, with a turn of your head, shift your eyes from terra firma to a sparkling sea and enchanted islands below. Maine’s Midcoast is one such place. Tucked within the Maine coastline are picturesque villages that bloom to vibrant waterfronts where Maine’s foodie scene continues to flourish. We’ll spent a good portion of the week exploring those seaside villages.

Explore each day of the ride, and start dreaming of your perfect Maine escape on two wheels!

*Please note, there has been a route change on day six that is not reflected in this weeklong map image. See the day 6 tab for details.

September 7, 2019

Arrive at the BikeMaine village in Waterville to check in, get your bags weighed, and park your car for the week. Then get your campsite situated before heading to the Maine Beer Company beer garden to catch up with old BikeMaine friends, meet some new ones, and see what’s on tap for the week!

Please note: although there is no riding, all riders will be required to check in in person. You also won’t want to miss our first dinner, evening announcements and entertainment!

Waterville

The City of Waterville is located on the banks of the Kennebec River in Maine. Waterville is easily accessed by two exits off Interstate-95 as well as Route 201, a national, historic byway and part of the Kennebec-Chaudière Corridor.

Waterville takes great pride in its downtown, with seven structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Our downtown is home to many unique shops, one-of-a-kind eateries, and a well attended farmers’ market with produce and products solely from local farmers and craft artisans.

Within our City limits you will find a unique mix of shops and restaurants, medical facilities, Thomas College and Colby College.

Visitors will enjoy numerous arts & cultural amenities, including the magnificent Waterville Opera House, Colby College Museum of Art, Redington Museum and the Railroad Square Cinema, which was recently touted as one of “The Best 5 Cinemas in New England” by Yankee Magazine. Waterville hosts a year round calendar of outstanding events, such as the Maine International Film Festival, Waterville Intown Arts Fest, Taste of Greater Waterville, and Downtown Waterville Farmers’ Market.

Shoppers will find an eclectic array of products, including upscale women’s clothing, home furnishings, jewelry, Maine-made products, toys and books and much more. Dining options are equally as diverse, offering authentic Lebanese, southern creole and Mexican cuisines, Asian specialties, assorted American fare, delicious pub food, and fresh seafood, not to mention great bagels, sandwiches and coffee.

Outdoor enthusiasts will delight over the miles of hiking trails located throughout the City, including those found at the four-season Quarry Road Recreation Area. Quarry Road also provides cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snow tubing in the winter months and biking, kayaking and walking opportunities in the spring, summer and fall. The Kennebec River also offers spectacular fishing and boating opportunities.

The City of Waterville is rich in history and traditions, making it a great place to live, visit or do business. To read a brief history of Waterville by Stephen Plocher, please click here. Or take a moment to check out our historic photo albums.

Waterville to Hope

The BikeMaine 2019 route begins in Waterville, crossing the Kennebec River via the historic Two Cent Bridge into Winslow, before swinging southeast into the rolling hills of rural Kennebec and Waldo counties. We will skirt the north shore of China Lake—a favorite of anglers across the state—then criss-cross past several smaller ponds as we ride through the town of Palermo. Straightening out, the route continues through South Liberty and its surrounding farmland before crossing into Knox county and the town of Union, a cradle of early industry in the state and now home to the Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage and the annual Union Fair. We finish the day’s ride just around the corner in Hope, at the Alford Lake Camp.

  • Milage: 54.9
  • Elevation: 4,127 ft

Click “View Full Version” or “Send to Device” below to download the map and cue sheet.

Alford Lake Camp

Celebrating its 113th summer, Alford Lake Camp is one of the oldest residential girls camps in the world. ALC is located on the side of a hill on the east side of Alford Lake in Hope, Maine. The camps features over 300 acres of wide open fields, lakeside woods, and trails. Campers enjoy traditional tent living, with 37 wood frame tents nestled in the woods. Two washhouses on each end of the tent line have running water and electricity. The camp has facilities for activities such as tennis, horseback riding, sports, gymnastics, canoeing, sailing, swimming, climbing, drama, basket-weaving, ceramics, dance, and even a library. Crystal clear and very quiet, Alford Lake is one mile across and eight miles around. Alford Lake Camp stands out as an exceptional community that fosters friendship and citizenship, growth and respect, where campers learn a true “sense of self” through challenges and successes. We look forward to hosting BikeMaine as riders embrace their own challenges and success!

Hope to Damariscotta

This day will be one to remember. Leaving our camp behind, we will head west to Jefferson, before turning south to pedal along the eastern edges of Damariscotta Lake and Pemaquid Pond, and onto the historic Pemaquid Peninsula, home of some of the earliest and most embattled frontier settlements in New England. Awash in history and scenic beauty, we will pedal south through Broad Cove and out to Round Pond, a quaint village with a nicely protected and bustling harbor. We will turn back north at New Harbor and ride into Damariscotta, our home for the evening, at the Coastal River Association’s historic Round Top Farm.       

  • Milage: 68.4, with optional 6.4 mile extension to Pemaquid Pt. Lighthouse
  • Elevation: 3,734 ft

Click “View Full Version” or “Send to Device” below to download the map and cue sheet.

Damariscotta

The Damariscotta Region has rich history in shipbuilding, oysters and maritime traditions. Today, the vibrant downtown area of the Twin Villages of Damariscotta and Newcastle is bustling with shops, galleries and restaurants. A public boat launch in the municipal parking lot helps power this working waterfront with a renewed focus on oyster farming which has been a staple product from the the Damariscotta River for millennia.

The River is well‐known for boating, fishing, and a thriving aqua‐culture industry that produces both oysters and the sweet local mussels popular in area restaurants. Downtown Damariscotta is a vibrant mix of unique shops, community services, restaurants, the Lincoln Theatre, farmers’ markets, and artists’ galleries.

Damariscotta is also the gateway to the Pemaquid and Damariscotta Lakes Region, the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse featured on the Maine State Quarter, the colonial restoration at Fort William Henry, and provides access to the Atlantic Coast and Monhegan Island.

Damariscotta to Rockland

Day three is a slight reprieve from the previous day’s ride, but showcases some of the most authentic communities in the Midcoast. The route winds north through Nobleboro before turning southeast and running parallel to a train line through Waldoboro, home of the famous Moody’s Diner. From there, riders zigzag their way to the coast through the farmlands of Whitney Corner to Warren—where you can still see remnants of 18th century canal locks—and finally a turn through Thomaston to Rockland’s Snow Marine Park. Riders will have the opportunity to rest and recuperate as we spend our layover day in Rockland.

  • Milage: 52.5
  • Elevation: 2,947 ft  

Click “View Full Version” or “Send to Device” below to download the map and cue sheet.

Day four: Optional, unsupported and unmarked 36.4 mile loop from Snow Marine Park to the Camden Snow Bowl.

Rockland

Located on the beautiful clear waters of Penobscot Bay, Rockland offers something for everyone. This small city of 7,200 is increasingly known for its arts scene —  both fine art and culinary. It is home to world class museums, a wide range of galleries, craft breweries and award-winning restaurants. Stroll along the working waterfront and watch the fleet of lobster and herring boats come in, sail on an historic schooner, take a chocolate factory tour, explore the nearly mile long Rockland breakwater and lighthouse, or shop the historic downtown.

Rockland’s heart is its harbor, which supports a diverse mix of uses. Abenaki people called it Catawamteak, or “great landing place”. It was settled in 1769, and the area was incorporated as the City of Rockland in 1854. In its early years, the City grew rapidly with ship building and lime production. Over time, commercial fishing and tourism became and remain so to this day. In recent years, the City’s creative economy has taken off. Anchored by the Farnworth Art Museum and the Maine Center for Contemporary Art, Rockland is now known as the Arts Capital of Maine. Today’s Rockland is a vibrant mix of commercial, cultural and recreational activity and is increasingly popular as a place to live, work and play.

Rockland to Belfast

After a restful day, Thursday’s route begins with a trio of “Rocks.” An invigorating five-mile climb out of Rockland finally gives way to a descent into Rockville, then continues east through Beech Hill Preserve to Rockport. A short hike will allow riders to enjoy views from the top of Beech Hill, which is home to a sod-roofed cottage built in 1913. Passing through downtown Rockport, home to the historic Rockport Opera House, the route stays coastal for a stretch before swinging northeast in Camden, staying on scenic roads along the shores of magical Megunticook Lake. From there it is the now-familiar zigzag pattern, this time northeast towards Lincolnville, then northwest through Belmont, home of some climbs that are sure to be memorable. A long, rolling descent brings us to Belfast, our seaside home for two nights.

  • Milage: 51.7
  • Elevation: 3,362 ft

Click “View Full Version” or “Send to Device” below to download the map and cue sheet.

Belfast

In the spring of 1770 Belfast was settled by Scots-Irish families from Londonderry, New Hampshire. Legend has it that the name Belfast, after the Northern Ireland city, was chosen by a coin-toss. Fear of British attack led these original proprietors to abandon the settlement during the American Revolution, but they returned in the 1780s to build a vibrant, prosperous outpost that would become the market center for the outlying area.

Abundant timber, a gently sloping waterfront and proximity to varied agriculture gave rise to shipbuilding and maritime commerce, with fortunes made in both. Hundreds of wooden sailing ships were built by local shipyards and, during the 19th century, as much as 30% of the male population was employed in the maritime trades. Prosperous shipbuilders and merchants constructed the architecturally significant houses that dominate our residential neighborhoods today. Two disastrous fires consumed much of the downtown area in 1865 and 1873, but merchants rebuilt with brick, creating a pleasing and long-lasting commercial district. The Belfast Historic Districts, residential and commercial, are included on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1962 Route 1, which had come straight through downtown via High Street, was rerouted around the city and across a new bridge. The rerouting was seen by some as the death knell for a once-vibrant shire town, but in hindsight the bypass preserved the city’s heart and soul and in the 1980s a rebirth began. Public and private investment restored some of the past luster. The arts flourished and the stately houses and commercial buildings were restored. In the early 90s USA Today named Belfast as one of America’s “culturally cool” communities. With the end of the poultry industry, Belfast once again reinvented itself and attracted a community of creative people, a University of Maine center, a large banking corporation, a shipyard and ever increasing numbers of tourists.

Today, Belfast is that rare combination of quiet small town with an active social and cultural life that is attractive to residents and visitors alike.

Belfast Loop

Our loop ride out of Belfast heads north around Swan Lake. Though Tchaikovsky will not be in attendance, our pedalers will want to leap for joy at the miles of farmland and forest beauty that awaits. A brisk 10-mile climb kicks off the day’s route, with a brief respite through the town of Waldo, historic source of much of Belfast’s shipbuilding timber. From there it’s rolling hills through Brooks and Monroe, rural outposts of Waldo County. The route then swings south, past Swan Lake State Park—a meditative ride through some highlands with views of the lake below. We’ll follow the lake south through preserves and farmland back to Belfast and a well-established BikeMaine village.

  • Milage: 42.8
  • Elevation: 2,583 ft

Click “View Full Version” or “Send to Device” to download the map and cue sheets.

Belfast to Waterville

We bid Belfast goodbye on Saturday and point our wheels west. This route takes us through some of the agricultural heartland of the Midcoast. A big morning climb through Montville and Freedom will show us loads of organic farming in action, as well as the famous Lost Kitchen, if you can find it! With the slopes of Frye Mountain behind us, a rolling descent leads back in to Kennebec County. We pass through Albion, where Johnny’s Selected Seeds got their start and still operates to this day. Waterville and the end of the week’s ride awaits, though you may be tempted to make a stop at Big G’s Deli in Winslow before rolling back to the Head of Falls.

  • Milage: 54.3
  • Elevation: 3,253 ft

Click “View Full Version” or “Send to Device” below to download the map and cue sheet.