Author Topic: Maine bike tour questions  (Read 2213 times)

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Offline mlt22193

Maine bike tour questions
« on: August 05, 2008, 08:08:13 am »
Hello all,

Girlfriend and I are planning on touring Maine next summer for about 10 days.  Big question...HOW DO WE GET OUR BIKES THERE???  We plan on flying (we live in Va.) its quicker and we don't want to spend time out of our 10 days to get there.  I'd rather not box up bikes myself and put them on a plane.  Are there other options?  Can they be shipped to a bike store in Portland?  Is this a stupid question?  I don't know, you tell me!!

Also, I lived in Maine for 8 years awhile back but never saw it from "biker" eyes.  We plan on starting in Portland, going up the coast to maybe Camden then back south inland a bit.  Anybody ever do this and have any suggestions?  We want to hit Brunswick and down to Harpswell and Bailey Island and on the way back down maybe Sebago Lake. Is this do-able? We will be doing B&B's or motels and unsuspecting friends.

Any help with routes, off the beated track roads, and such would be great. Trying to stay off RT. 1.  I hear that's horrible.

Thanks for any and all help.


Offline JayH

Maine bike tour questions
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2008, 08:21:57 am »
Starting from Portland, try to see if Amtrak will allow bikes on the train that goes to Portland.. see if you can get your bikes there all the way from VA.  

As far as bike shop, yeah, you can certainly send it to a bike shop, you just need a recommendation (which not being a resident of Portland nor have I ever spent much time there as a cyclist, I can't help you here) but it's not too uncommon for people to ship bikes to a bike shop to be picked up. But obviously would be nice to see if you can bring it with you.

Rt 1 is very busy in the summer, frankly, it is nice but the traffic is sometimes bothersome and between Bath and Brunswick, Rt 1 is a divided highway and bikes are illegal anyway.  

Going inland towards Sebago Lake from the Kennebunk area is nice, I've camped at a Family and Friend's campsite on the western shore of Sebago Lake once, it's a nice private campsite. Just be prepared to share the campground with Huge Monster RVs while you sleep in your tiny 2 person hoop tent. :-P (you get used to it!).

You have a lot of time there but you will have lots of places to check out, Camden is a pretty neat place, if you have time, some nice hiking in Camden Hills (megunticook, battie). Of course, Camden Bay is nice and you can get cutter rides and stuff from there.

You might be able to get a bike suitability map from Maine's DOT (MDOT) but I can't really find a link anymore, but I got one awhile ago, perhaps email MDOT...

Jay



Offline staehpj1

Maine bike tour questions
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2008, 08:22:48 am »
You can use the boxes that the airline supplies (for a charge).  They are large enough to require very little disassembly of the bike.  I think it wound up costing about $100 each way per bike ($25 for the box and $75 fee for the bike).  That allows you to ride right out of the airport if that works for you.  Some times the bike may cost more to get there than your ticket though!

Another option is to have a local bike shop box the bike and ship it to a bike shop in Maine who can assemble it and check it out.

I am told that REI will ship for you from store to store for a reasonable price.  If there is an REI at each end you might look into that.


Offline ColoradoKid

Maine bike tour questions
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2008, 06:33:06 pm »
My wife and I toured the Maine and Rt 1 was aweful! Very heavy traffic and some places the shoulder just stopped cold for miles! (Talk about a nightmare!) If you can, tour inland. Roads are a little better but tend to be narrow and hilly. If Amtrack is out of the question, try renting a truck. (U-Haul) Cheap plus you can drop it off almost everywhere.


Offline bktourer1

Maine bike tour questions
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2008, 05:07:19 am »
Amtrack's "downeaster" runs from Boston's North Station to Portland.  You can wheel you bikes on board.  A reservation must be made.  You could box the whole set up and send via Greyhound.  I believe there is a bike path between Bath and Brunswick, check Traillink.com.  I have the same problem as I plan to ride from Bar Harbor to Boston next year, but have to get my gear from Springfield MA to Bar Harbor.
Amtrack does't have a baggage car in Springfield so I have to either get a friend to drive me to Boston or box and send everything by bus.

ed


Offline driftlessregion

Maine bike tour questions
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2008, 08:30:52 pm »
We recently used FedEx to get our bikes from Wisconsin to Portland Oregon. I have asked motels to keep the box with the promise of staying there at both ends of the trips. I also have used bike shops but one jerk shop in Portland wanted $10/day for each box (there were 3 of us). When you fly with them it becomes a big hassle at the airport. How many cabs can carry one bike box let alone 2 or 3. I would never check my bike with the airline.


Offline mdxix

Maine bike tour questions
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2008, 08:13:47 am »
I have cycled through Maine twice and was not impressed at either times. The roads were too busy and New England charm was just not there.

A couple of things that will make it worth the trip:
1. Cycle through Acadia
2. Continue along the coast into NH or inland into the White Mountains.

Here are a few resources for routes:

- ACA Atlantic Coast route from Bar Harbor: http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/atlanticcoast.cfm?pg=detail&s=1

- Maine Bicycle Map: order copies by phone at 207-624-3250 or online at http://www.exploremaine.org/bike

- Bike Rhode Island by Rhode Island Department of Transportation, http://www.dot.ri.gov/bikeri

But always half the fun is being out there on the bike. Enjoy.

Offline mlt22193

Maine bike tour questions
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2008, 01:47:31 pm »
Thank you all, for all your input.  I've done quit a few bike tours, all originating from my front door.  This is the first one I'll have to transport bikes to.

Mdxix, no New England charm?  Wow. Did you go to Harpswell, Bailey Island, Isleboro, Camden, Lincolnville?  Some of these places ooze N.E. charm. IMO.


Offline mdxix

Maine bike tour questions
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2008, 05:30:44 pm »
Indeed, there are beautiful spots: Bar Harbor, Acadian, Camden, and Wiscasset.

When you have your route charted, pre or post tour, please share with the group. It will be nice to get the local's version of touring in ME.

In fact, I was thinking why is there not a library for cyclists to share their touring routes. That is a subject of another posting.

Offline rcrampton

Maine bike tour questions
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2008, 08:56:30 pm »
I have shipped bicycles to bike shops and hotels both with good success. Fed Ex has been by far the cheapest. I like to build the bike myself rather than trust an unknown mechanic to put it together.

I have recently switched to a Crate Works box which can break down into a pretty small bundle to store somewhere on tour. I formerly used an old bike box from an LBS before each tour, which was cheaper to ship (smaller) but a darn tight fit.

Shipping the bike also lets me ship an empty white gas container in a bottle holder, which the airlines won't accept. And I can verify that the bike is there in advance, minimizing the chances of showing up without a bike.

Let us know how the tour goes, I've been interested in seeing some of Maine but not sure if by bike or car.