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cycling Archives | Bicycle Coalition of Maine

Maine Records Its First Bicycling Fatality of 2018

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Stay Safe

August 9, 2018 (Portland, ME) –  Maine recorded its first bicycle fatality of 2018, when Laila Al-Matrouk, 15, was hit and killed in a motor vehicle/bicycle crash on Sunday, August 5, in Belfast. 
“The Bicycle Coalition of Maine extends its deepest sympathies to Laila’s family and friends, and we remind all users to watch out for each other, and to drive, walk and bike in a safe fashion,” Bicycle Coalition of Maine Assistant Director Jim Tasse said.
As the state’s leading group promoting bicycling and walking safety, the Coalition routinely monitors crash reports for incidents that involve bicyclists or pedestrians. According to Coalition records, this is the first fatality of a person on a bike in Maine in 2018. There were two bicycle fatalities in 2017.
The Coalition does not have all the details on this incident, and cannot comment on it specifically. However, in general these kinds of incidents should remind all users of Maine’s roads to watch for other users at all times, drive at a reasonable and safe speed for conditions, obey traffic laws, and never drive, walk, or bicycle distracted or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
The Coalition will continue to monitor the circumstances surrounding this incident for information that will improve roadway safety for all users.  

How Do We Get More Women to Ride Bicycles? Plus, US Bike Route One, Some Changes at the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, the Maine Lobster Ride and #BikeJoy

By | Featured Posts, Podcast

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast hosts Kierie Piccininni and Frank Gallagher in the studio.

In this free-flowing episode, Frank and Kierie talk about the most fun they had on a bicycle this week, explore the notion of how – and why – to encourage women to get into cycling, contemplate riding the length of US Bike Route One in Maine, and take a deep dive into the history of American roads, which were ultimately co-opted by motor vehicles when cars came on the scene.

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Names 2018 BikeMaine Grant Recipients

By | BikeMaine, Coalition News, Featured Posts

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine today announced Main Street Skowhegan, Mahoosuc Pathways, and Kingfield Trail Builders as the recipients of this year’s BikeMaine Grants, funded by the proceeds from the organization’s annual cycling tour, BikeMaine.
“BikeMaine was conceived as an event that would use cycling as an economic benefit tool for local communities,” BikeMaine Ride Director MaryBeth Luce said. “The BikeMaine grants will directly support these organizations’ efforts to make their communities more bike and pedestrian friendly.”
Main Street Skowhegan will receive $10,000, Mahoosuc Pathways will receive $3,250, and Kingfield Trail Builders will receive $3,025 to fund their projects.
Main Street Skowhegan will use the funding to expand a 5-kilometer loop in the Run of River Whitewater Recreation Area so it can accommodate cyclists as well as pedestrians and become suitable for four-season use. Main Street Skowhegan Executive Director Kristina Cannon said the newly expanded loop will eventually incorporate a robust network of single-track off-road trails for mountain bikers, as well.
“Trail development is a major part of the proposed Run of River Recreation Area, and our intention is to grow our downtown trail system to 300 acres, an effort that will complement the future whitewater park in the Kennebec gorge,” Cannon said.
Mahoosuc Pathways Executive Director Gabe Perkins said his organization, based in Bethel, will apply the funding to the improvement of mountain bike trails at the Crescent Park School.
“We can’t think of too many elementary schools with sustainably designed and built mountain bike trails and that’s what made this project so attractive to us,” Perkins said. “Not only will it be a well built trail for students and community members, but it could also attract more people to our community who are looking at trail-based recreation as a deciding factor in where to relocate.”
Kingfield Trail Builders plans to use the grant money to improve non-motorized trails and trail connections, install shared bike-lane markings, and add bikes racks in key locations around Kingfield.
“Kingfield Trail Builders is thrilled to receive this grant from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine,” spokesperson Polly MacMichael said. “We are excited to partner with the Kingfield community as we work toward our goal to make Kingfield a safe and fun place for bicyclists and pedestrians alike.”
BikeMaine is a week-long celebration of Maine’s people, places, culture, and food, and moves to a different region of the state each year. BikeMaine 2018, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s signature event, takes place from Sept. 8 to Sept. 15. Dubbed Acadia In the St. John Valley – La Terre Entre Deux, this year’s event begins and ends in Presque Isle, with overnight stops in Caribou, Madawaska (two nights), Fort Kent (two nights), and St. Agatha.
The 2018 awards represent the third year of BikeMaine grant funding. The Town of Gardiner received the inaugural BikeMaine Grant, in the amount of $12,300, to fund the extension of the Cobbossee Trail, which connects the Kennebec River Trail to the town’s historic Cobbossee Corridor. The Washington County Council of Governments and the City of Bath received last year’s grants, which helped to fund bike repair kiosks along the Bold Coast Bikeway and a pump-track for Bath students, respectively.
Skowhegan and Kingfield were host communities for last year’s BikeMaine event, and Bethel was a BikeMaine host community for the 2015 BikeMaine event.

2018 Maine Women's Ride – Sunday, June 10, 2018 – Freeport, Maine

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts

On Sunday, June 10, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine hosted the 2018 Maine Women’s Ride.
The weather was fantastic. The rides were amazing. The food was great, and the power of nearly 600 women and girls riding en masse was in full effect.
Photographer Bill Muldoon, who’s also a member of the Coalition’s Board of Directors, documented the event and was kind enough to share his images with us.
 

Self-driving cars: killers on the road? Plus, 10 minutes with the League of American Bicyclists' Bill Nesper, Idaho Stop the insanity, ME Gov. Paul LePage is an avid cyclist, and how to find your perfect ride!

By | Featured Posts, Podcast

Self-driving cars have been hailed as modern-day saviors for our overcrowded roads, but does the reality live up to the hype? Bicycle Coalition of Maine Podcast hosts Kierie Piccininni and Frank Gallagher look past the tech-bro, hard sell and take a thoughtful look at what’s really going on with Automated Vehicles.
The League of American Bicyclists has been on the front line, advocating for bicyclists and anybody who might want to start riding, for more than 100 years. Kierie and Frank caught up with Bill Nesper, the League’s Executive Director, at the New England Bike/Walk Summit in Boston to talk self-driving cars, national bike policies, and much more.
Mention the Idaho Stop, and you’ll almost certainly get a visceral reaction, no matter who you’re talking to. Kierie and Frank take a look at this controversial tactic and what it means for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage is a lightning rod for controversy. He’s also an ardent cyclist, but that hasn’t necessarily translated into cyclist-friendly policies in his home state. Kierie and Frank explore what needs to change to make Maine better for bicycling.
Finally, learn how to find your perfect ride in Maine, using the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s new Where To Ride tool.

This will be the last year the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will host the Maine Women's Ride and the Maine Lobster Ride

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts

Perhaps you’ve heard that this is the last year that the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will hold the women’s ride.
That is true.

When we founded the Maine Women’s Ride 17 years ago, there were relatively few opportunities to participate in organized road rides in our state. Today, that landscape is very different, and in that sense Maine is measurably much better for bicycling today that it was. On any given summer weekend there are now several riding events.
So, we have decided to say goodbye to the Maine Womens’ Ride and the Maine Lobster Ride, and refocus our efforts wholeheartedly on how best to deliver on our mission for as many people, in as many parts of the state, as possible. We will have a presence at many other events statewide, and will continue to hold our signature event, BikeMaine. We will also recommit to our role as the leading advocacy and education organization for biking and walking in Maine.
While the Bicycle Coalition will no longer be holding the Women’s Ride, we recognize that there are still few events that are women-centric. We are looking at other opportunities to promote riding for women and children, including working with others who might be willing to host a women-only event in future years, with our help. If you would like to learn more, or offer your thoughts, please email us at info@bikemaine.org.

If you’ve been thinking that this is the year you’re going to ride the Maine Women’s Ride, register now. The final BCM Maine Women’s Ride is just around the corner – Sunday, June 10, in Freeport, Maine – so there’s still time to sign on. Come ride with us, and help us make our final Women’s Ride the best one ever.

We also need volunteers to help us make the final ride a success. We need help in every area, including:

  • Pre-event setup
  • Route setters
  • SAG vehicle drivers
  • Ride leaders
  • Rest stop attendants

Volunteers at the Women’s Ride get a cool t-shirt, free lunch, coffee, and the satisfaction of actively supporting this amazing event.
Whether you’re riding or volunteering, the Women’s Ride is always a lot of fun for everybody. Sign up here to volunteer! And if you have friends who might enjoy the experience, please forward this link to them.

Friday, May 18, Is National Bike To Work Day

By | Advocacy Events, Coalition News, Featured Posts

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Portland Gear Hub Will Be Out to Welcome Bicycle Commuters with Snacks, Coupons for Free Coffee, Mechanics Stands and Tools for Quick Adjustments, and More!
Bicycle commuters in Portland will find a warm welcome on National Bike To Work Day, which is Friday, May 18.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine will be on hand in Monument Square from 7am-10:30am with information about how to be a safer bicycle commuter, membership information, a mechanics stand and tools for quick adjustments, coupons for coffee from Others! Coffee, and $5 tokens for city employees who ride their bicycles to work, courtesy of the City of Portland’s employee wellness program.
Staff and volunteers from the Portland Gear Hub will have a mechanics stand and tools, free air set up outside A&C Grocery on Munjoy Hill, where they’ll be cooking up some hot breakfast treats, too.

“Biking to work has a lot of positives,” Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director John Williams said. “Of course, there’s the physical benefit, but riding your bike to work is great way to save some money because you don’t have to pay for parking and you aren’t using any gas. If your commute is only a few miles, you’ll probably find that it’s just as quick, if not faster, to ride your bike than it is to drive.”
National Bike To Work Day, always the third Friday in May, dates to 1956, when the League of American Bicyclists suggested it as an addition to National Bike Month, which is May.
You can find more information and tips about bicycle commuting here.

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.”

Sell Your Quality Used Bicycle at the Great Maine Bike Swap on April 22!

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts


The often imitated, never duplicated Great Maine Bike Swap is coming to the University of Southern Maine‘s Portland campus on Sunday, April 22, from 10am-1pm! If you’ve got a bicycle to sell, our Great Maine Bike Swap is the easiest and best way to sell it. You can also sell or donate the bicycles you have around the house and garage that no longer see use but might be a better fit for someone who could really use it.

The Great Maine Bike Swap
Sunday, April 22 | 10am-1pm
University of Southern Maine – Sullivan Recreation and Fitness Complex
Admission is $5 (cash only), free for USM and UMaine students!

If you have quality, used bike to sell, the Swap is a great way to get it in front of hundreds of eager buyers! For more information about how to price your bike and boost its chances of selling, check out our Seller’s Guide and get all the details about registering your bike.
The Swap offers a quick and easy online registration system. After you’ve registered your bike online, drop it off on Saturday, April 21, between 3pm and 6pm at the USM Sullivan Recreation and Fitness Complex. There’s a $5 registration fee per bike and, when it sells, a 15 percent commission to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.
IMPORTANT: Unsold bikes must be picked up between 1:45pm and 3pm on Sunday, April 22, or they will be donated to the Coalition.
QUESTIONS? If you’ve got questions or you don’t receive a confirmation email after you register your bike for sale, contact Event Manager Rob Mueller at rob@bikemaine.org, or call (207) 623-4511. For more information, visit MaineSwap.com.

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.