Regional Discussion Area > New England

Coast of Maine? Anybody do it?

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Kittery Rider:
I want to tour up the coast and stay in campgrounds, but I know it won't be perfect, to say the least.  What do they call that?  Credit card touring?  I'll hit hotels too I guess. 

Yeah, usually credit card touring is refering to not bringing camping gear and staying in B&Bs and Hotels. My first tour was like that, i only had a rear rack at the time and 2 panniers so I didn't have room for a lot and a friend and I did a circumnavigation of Lake Champlain over about 5 days/4 nights and we staying in hotels and a B&B...   


As I plan a trip from Rockport, Maine to Muscatine, Iowa, I am hearing more than one Maine horror story about poor road surfaces, no shoulders and aggressive motorists.  My plan is to use the Northern Tier route.  Can anyone comment on that route or suggest alternatives?

I no longer live in Maine, but it is a great state to bicycle in. In 2006, when I still lived there, I took an 18 day tour of south central and western Maine. I started in New Sharon (Franklin Co.), cycled to Camden, and then followed the ACA Northern Tier route (including lots of detours) to the ME/NH border and turned back east to New Sharon following various back roads.

I don't recall having any issue with traffic on the ACA Northern Tier route through Maine. However, I road this section to the ME/NH border in early May. In contrast, auto and RV traffic along the coastal portion will be much heavier in the summer.

If you want to stay off of US 1, you easily can. Maine has an abundance of rural roads that are great to ride. If you are willing to purchase the Delorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, you can use that to plan a ride that avoids US 1 easily, which is what I did when I took detours off of the ACA route. A route off of US 1 and ACA's Northern Tier certainly won't be the most direct route, but could be more pleasant, in my opinion.

Although, if you are riding from Maine to Iowa, then it may not be worth purchasing a whole giant atlas for a state you will most likely be spending less than a week in. You could plan an alternate Maine route when you get there by stopping in Rockland's (or any Maine) public library and looking at their Maine atlas. You can plan an alternative to the ACA route pretty easily and then just photocopy the appropriate atlas pages to take with you.

I've rode the ACA NTR  from Belfast to Durham a couple weeks ago. Hilly, about 6K climb total according to RidewithGPS. It's naturally off season and the car drivers were great. Waiting to pass, passing wide. Even several horn toots and thumbs up, that might be because I was on a trike ;D

"Aggressive Motorist" I'll bet that's mostly summer time visitors. It does get crazy and the NY,NJ,MA tags are all over the place and driving like their at home >:(  Heck when we go south I have to adjust to the crazy drivers tailgating like they were in a NASCAR race, that virtually never happens in my area.

The bad is that some roads can be pretty rough, making it impossible to stay right and anything over walking pace. But then cars never gave me grief when this happened. Same with no shoulders no problem. Also this is rural so there are some loose dogs, be prepared. I have one neighbor I'd like to take a stick too:)

If you come through Knox your welcome to camp by our pond.


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