Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! May you have fair winds, good roads, and great company! [Image: after "Focus" by Will Geddes (2108)]

Just Dandy

The other day I was reading a year-end compilation of significant anniversaries, and the author mentioned the invention of the Draisine in 1818. Can't let the year go by with our two-wheeled forerunner unheralded, even though some might argue that it was actually invented in 1817 and only officially patented in February 1818. And some would argue that it's not a bicycle at all, as happened at a bicycle history conference in Boston I attended years ago, with some of the speakers focusing instead on who "invented" the bicycle in the 1860s. Until in the midst of this argument one of the panelists quietly disagreed, saying simply that he had a Draisine, and that when all was said and done, when he rode it he felt like he was riding a bicycle. Not one to scoff at 200-year-old technology, if it's "just like riding a bicycle," that's good enough for me.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Manchester in Moderation

The weather forecast for this weekend seems to be holding up (at the moment) with Saturday looking quite favorable: sunny and on the high side of 40. So we will roll the dice and try to get in one more ride before the end of the year.  We'll meet at 10:30 am at the Manchester Elementary School for a 19 or 23-mile ride out to Wings Mills.  Last year it was a very exciting ride with police standoffs, swat teams, emergency road closures - very festive with all the flashing lights. Who knows what this year's end-of-the-year ride will bring?  Note: if it brings any rain or snow, we will cancel.  Hope to see you there, and if not, Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 15th - MANCHESTER
"Lakeside Yuletide" - a late season tour from Manchester to Wings Mills.
START:  10:30 AM, at the Manchester Elementary School parking lot on Rt. 17, near the junction of Rt. 17 & Rt. 202.  The school is on the left just after you turn off Rt. 202 onto Rt. 17 West.
DISTANCE: 19 or 23 miles.
TERRAIN:  moderate, with one long hill.
HIGHLIGHTS:  We'll ride past Lakeside Orchards over back roads along some streams in and out of Wings Mills and take in some December hilltop views.
LEADER:  Jim Merrick,, 293-3784.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Spin! Spin!

A message from Jeanine (one of several spin instructors in our club) regarding the spin class she is leading that starts tonight (!) in Waterville:

Hello to all my biking friends,

I've been working with Champions Fitness Center located 30 Elm Plaza in Waterville on running a spinning class that will be starting this Tuesday,
November 13 and run through to March.  I'm gearing the class like riding on the road. So if you have never taken a spin class - this would be a good place to start.  We will build strength and endurance through the season. You will need to purchase a punch card for $75 for 10 classes.  The card will be good all season and if you want to share a card with a friend, you are more then welcome to do that.  If you are a member of Champions Fitness Center it's free.  Class will be 1 hour long beginning
at 5:30 p.m. ending at 6:30 p.m.  Champions has 10 bikes, you will need to call and reserve it prior to class so you will be sure to have a seat. The number is 207-872-0571.  This class is open to anyone - please invite your friends.
Champions has locker rooms and showers.  The bikes have regular pedals on one side and SPD clips on the other side.  I would suggest wearing your biking shorts - the seats are hard.  Also, bring a towel and water to class. 
If you have any questions, please call my cell phone at 207-858-5500.

See you Tuesday,

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Armistice Day

We had a really nice ride last Sunday in Readfield. The chill in the November air was tempered by the bright sunshine, and no one seemed to mind that we had a head wind no matter which way we turned. The weather ahead looks like it intends to turn cold and even snowy way too soon, but Sunday looks clear - which is fortunate, because it is the Centennial of Armistice Day! Hopefully we will spend a part of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month at an almost forgotten WWI monument on the shore of Great Pond at the historic Camp Merryweather in Belgrade. The monument is at the end of a dirt road which is rideable, but you might want some wider rubber underneath you. We will determine the distance of the ride at the start, dependent on conditions. Hope to see you Sunday!

Sunday, November 11 - SMITHFIELD
"Armistice Obelisk" - an adventurous back road jaunt on the Armistice Day Centennial to an obscure WWI monument on Great Pond.
START: 10:00 am at Sweet Dreams Convenience Store at the junction of Rts.8 and 137 in Smithfield. Park in the far end of the lot adjacent to the store.
ANCE: 19 miles, with longer and shorter options.
TERRAIN: moderate with a few hills. The road to the WWI monument is approx. six tenths mile of gravel (1.2 mi round trip).
HIGHLIGHTS: a visit to the Camp Merryweather WWI Memorial on Great Pond to commemorate the end of the War to End All Wars.
LEADER: Jim Merrick, 293-3784,

Saturday, November 3, 2018

November in Nottingham

Robin Hood Head Tube Medallion, 1944
Some clarification: the ride in Readfield is tomorrow, Sunday, November 4 (not the 3rd, as the original email stated).  Also, we will be on Eastern Standard Time tomorrow, as we turn the clocks back tonight.

Last Sunday’s ride was nearly a wash-out, with a steady drizzle and temperatures on the wrong side of 40, but we did get in a short ride, just because.  This weekend is looking dry, at least on Sunday, with lots of sun and on the right side of 40.  We have a 26-mile ride planned from Readfield Center that can be shortened if need be, and we'll stop at the Apple Shed in any case.  Perhaps we'll see you then!

Sunday, November 4 - READFIELD
"The Wayfarers of Nottingham" - a prelude to the off-season for all you merry men and equally merry women.
START: 10 AM, at the Readfield Post Office in Readfield Center at the junction of Rt.s 17 and 41.
DISTANCE: 26 miles, more or less.
TERRAIN: moderate with some hills.
HIGHLIGHTS: a tour along little-known byways, including Nottingham Road, in Readfield, Wayne, Fayette, and Kents Hill, with a stop at the Apple Shed Bakery.
LEADER: Jim Merrick,, 293-3784.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Saturday Ride in Wayne Postponed to Sunday

The weather outlook for this Saturday has deteriorated markedly from earlier in the week, so we will switch the ride start to Sunday at 10 am in hopes that the wet weather will clear out and we can get the ride in.  If the rains continue and the temperature stays in the low 40s we will most likely cancel.  Keep your fingers crossed, and if we do have to cancel this weekend take heart - there is a possibility of a special ride on Nov. 11, Armistice Day.  Hopefully we will have chances for more riding ahead!

Sunday, October 28th - WAYNE
"Wicked Wayne" - a Halloween ride featuring some historic cemeteries along some quiet back roads (maybe too quiet). 
START: 10:00 AM at the Wayne Elementary School, 48 Pond Road, Wayne.
DISTANCE: about 20 miles.
TERRAIN: moderate, creepy in spots.
HIGHLIGHTS: at least five local cemeteries, including the circular Wing family cemetery and the Kent family cemetery; the Apple Shed on Kents Hill, a notorious, unsolved historic crime scene, and other local haunts. 
LEADER: Jim Merrick,, 293-3784.

For more information about the Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club contact Jim Merrick at, 293-3784, or check out the club blog at