The minute I learned of Bike Maine’s inaugural ride, I knew I wanted to go. A couple of other great rides here in the state of Maine are Trek across Maine and the Dempsey Challenge. I did participate the second year of the Dempsey Challenge, I even have a jersey, but I always wished I had gone their first year. I don’t know if Bike Maine will be able to make a go of it every year, but I knew I wanted to go on their first.
My Review of Bike Maine 2013
On a scale from 1 to 10, I would give the Bike Coalition of Maine a 10+, on hosting their first week long event. I enjoyed every moment of it. If anybody were to ask, I would have to endorse the ride, from start to finish. If you’re interested in knowing more, I have included thoughts, photos, pictures, and links, just to attempt to give you an idea of what the week was like.
My overall favorite feature of the ride was the route selection. We have lived in Maine for twenty years, and I was curious to see what roads they would take us on. I thought the roads that were selected high-lighted Maine’s natural beauty. They took us on roads that were off the beaten path. Maine is just a beautiful state, and I can’t think of a better way to see it. I also loved the maps that were made ahead of time. They are just beautiful to look at.
From what I understand, they are planning on changing the route every year. As time progresses, I’m assuming this will be considered Bike Maine 2013 – the classic route. I’m curious, can they come up with another route to top this years’ ride? Good luck with that one, that could be a bit of a challenge. Perhaps the only way to find out is to ride Bike Maine 2014!
Bike Maine Weather
I thought the weather was perfect as well. September could arguably be the best bicycle month of the whole year here in Maine. Not too hot and not too cold. I knew we were going to get rained on. You can count on that, but overall the weather was warm. I think dressing in layers is the key, for example, if you start with a silk undershirt, Ibex like sleeveless wool sweater, GoreTex bicycle rain jacket, and variations of that, you should be fine. From what I could see everybody knew about layers. The event coordinators gave us some sag bags where half way through the ride we could shed our outer layers, place our items in the numbered bags, and they would carry our bags in for us. At the end of the ride you could go pick up your stuff at the information tent.
About the weather; I thought riding in the rain was pleasant. I tried to convince Lanita that it was like sitting on your front porch at home, rocking chairs, watching the warm panoramic rain in all it’s glory. I don’t think I convinced her, but I tried.
Bike Maine Food
I loved the food. I’m sure some could argue that when you bike all day, it doesn’t matter what you eat, it’s going to taste great. Very true. I really did enjoy the midday meals, where they had us “eat local”. I thought the food was fresh, and simply prepared. I don’t know why it sticks in my memory, but lunch in Dixmont Maine, the ladies prepared some garden fresh vegetables that had been picked the day before. When I walked through line I was worried, mass produced vegetables could come out mushy. To my surprise, they were done perfectly. Home made breads and TONS of home baked goods. My wife and I ate vegetarian all week, and the food couldn’t have been any better. As you would expect, I didn’t lose weight on the ride.
Bike Maine People
Another great part of the ride was meeting the other riders. I met an E.R. doctor that brought his recumbent bicycle from Texas. The recumbent that he was currently riding was a Bacchetta. It’s fun just to sit there and listen to all the bike talk. I met a web designer from Brunswick, and numerous people who had traveled across the US by bike. One gentleman rode his bike from Oregon to Maine in order to participate in Bike Maine! Rumor had it that there was someone who had been to Mount Everest. I spoke to a gentleman who had participated in the Leadville 100 twice. I met people who were using this ride to prepare for Iron Man. I met some lawyers from my homestate of New Mexico. It was fun talking to someone from Hobbs and Roswell NM. I met another fellow from Tennessee who was telling us about B.R.A.T., Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee, a similar week long ride. Sign me up. I met a young lady by the name of Karina, and she convinced me that I need to become a member of the Bike Coalition of Maine. Definitely on my things to do next week. One of the sponsors for the week was Skratch Labs, I was told the CEO for the product was going to be there; at every water station we got to add Skratch to our water and Lanita is sure it helped her over those numerous Maine hills. I think he has a great product and I was hoping to hear his story on how he came up with Skratch, unfortunately I did not get to meet him.
My impression was that they were a gung ho group of individuals. The interesting bit of stats that they shared with us was the average age was 57, the oldest was 76 (When he turned 50 he started riding a Century ride on every birthday!)
Bike Maine 2013 Wish List
Was there anything that I would do differently? One of my most memorable moments was the night we rented a room in Bar Harbor. Just to sit in the shower, with all the hot water is just beyond description. I think if I ever sign up for another week long ride, I would try and get a hotel every night, just to be able to sit in the hotel and nurse my war wounds, and sit in the hot water.
Bike Maine 2013 Video Links
If you would like to see videos that were posted by WCSH6 and WLBZ2, you can go here BikeMaine Blog TV coverage links.
Bike Maine 2013 GPS Route Data
For those of you who like looking at maps and data, I had my Garmin Edge 500 recording GPS data, Please feel free to browse through the data.