Sunday, May 04, 2008

Book of Bicycle Tours in Maine

Because we have family in Maine and travel to the region several times a year, I've been on the lookout for a compendium of good Maine bike routes.

I've scoured the internet, looked a few books, but came up pretty much dry. I was sure there would be marked trails, like ones I've seen in Vermont, but I wasn't able to find anything at all.

I started thinking about this because of relatives in Skowhegan, with the ambitious goal of cycling the 300-odd miles from Boston later this summer. But a recommended route? I was left high and dry.

So I was delighted to come across a spiral bound book "Explore Maine by Bike - 25 Bicycle Tours" at a mediocre bike shop in Kittery. It's a full-color, 8.5 x 11 inch book, including 25 detailed maps and nice detailed fold-outs of the routes. It's publisehd by the Maine Department of Transportation. I was ready to buy it on the spot, but I could find neither a price nor a sales stooge, so it was mine. (I'm reasonably certain that it wasn't meant to be charged for, but it probably cost the state at least $15 to produce.)

The routes are primarily along the coast, with a high concentration in the southern end of the state. Perfect for me!

It didn't make any sense that they would have produced this and kept it a complete secret, so I set about searching the web again, and finally came to Explore Maine - By Bike on the state's official website. It seems to have all the same content in downloadable PDF format, though it's really hard to find and substantially less than straightforward to navigate.

The two tours I have high hopes of completing before the end of the year are both a stone's throw from Skowhegan:
Kennebec River: This hilly and scenic gem winds through the historically important Kennebec River Valley and features a mix of agricultural and rugged mountainous terrain.

and
Waterville-China Lakes: Challenging hills and excellent views make this tour a 3-season pleaser as it traverses the China Lakes region with its ridge views and charming villages.

How exciting! I just can't believe how poorly Maine has publicized all this!

4 comments:

JPTwins said...

Funny to read this as I just found this site last week. We'll be near Bar Harbor for a week in August, and I knew I'd need to take at least one long ride.

I especially like how they break the state up into regions!

Andrew said...

Interesting! Please let me know which tour you do, and how it goes!

Ray said...

It's Bike Week!

See http://www.massbike.org/news/bikeweek.htm
Broadway Bicycle School breakfast was great.

mayo1 said...

http://castlevacation.blogspot.com/

This castle is owned by a person who lives in Maine. Amazing place! Not exactly a Maine bike tour but thought I'd share it with fellow blog readers.