Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alna Again

Last Saturday we had a fine KVBC ride to the Monmouth Apple Fest, thanks to Ken Louis who offered to lead the ride. The weather was spectacular - at least it was in Unity, where I was working at (and riding to) the Common Ground Fair. There was a sea of people and a mass of bicycles at the BCM compound at the fair - they didn't have a final count, but the Bike Coalition thought they may have set a one-day record, and it sure looked like more cyclists there than I'd ever seen in previous years. It bodes well for cycling in Maine, and cycling for this fall - which brings me to this weekend's rides:

We have a late season double header this weekend. We (KVBC) have been graciously invited to the social ride and barbecue of the Central Maine Cycling Club in Vassalboro on Saturday at 11 am. (Apparently no one has told them how much some of us can eat.) For details and directions see their website at: http://www.irproshop.com/index.php?pr=CMCC_BAR-B-QUE

Sunday, we will revisit the ride in Alna that was washed out earlier in the year. Some folks may be off to try the Dempsey Challenge; others to the Cadillac Challenge. For those who don't, we have the Alna Alternative, and I hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 4th - ALNA
"The Alna Alternative": a tour of the Sheepscot Valley through Alna, Pittston, and Whitefield.
START: 9:30 A.M. at the Post Office in Alna at the corner of Rt. 194 and Dock Road. Alna is located at 44:06:22N, 69:36:15W (for you GPS folks); also at DeLorme Map 13, E-2.
DISTANCE: 20-25 miles.
TERRAIN: moderately hilly.
HIGHLIGHTS: beautiful back roads, the scenic Sheepscot River; and a post-ride gathering at the ride leader's house (across from the Post Office).
LEADER: Sandi Hodge.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monmouth a la Mode

Fall is definitely in the air, and this Saturday is the 21st Annual Monmouth Apple Fest. In years past we discovered this great little small town festival devoted to celebrating all things pomological in one of Maine's classic apple towns. The festival features lots of hot, baked apple pies and other apple treats, yard sales and open houses, fun and games, and self-guided tours of the Monmouth Historical Society's many unique museum buildings and shops. It's a great ride, too - many thanks to Ken Louis for offering to lead the ride. You ought to be able to do the short ride on a slice of pie; for the long loop you might want to make that "a la mode." Don't miss it!
Saturday, September 26th - WINTHROP
"Monmouth a la Mode" - a tour from Winthrop to the Monmouth Apple Fest.
START: 9:30 AM at the Winthrop Town Boat Landing on Maranacook Lake, near the gazebo on Coady Street, off of Memorial Drive. If the boat landing parking lot is full, there are additional spaces around the corner on Summer Street, lakeside.
DISTANCE: 18 or 24 Miles.
TERRAIN: Rolling, with a few stiff hills.
HIGHLIGHTS: Back roads beside rolling orchards, lakeside summer camps, small hidden hamlets - and maybe a slice of pie...
LEADER: Ken Louis.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Seven Hills of Rome

We are starting to get some cooler weather and it looks like the leaves are turning in spots. The weather looks clear for this weekend and it might hit 70 on Sunday, just right for a tour around the Kennebec Highlands and maybe a short climb up French's Mountain. When in Rome...
Meanwhile, on Saturday, September 26, there is a great little apple festival in Monmouth. We have a great KVBC ride to the Apple Fest from Winthrop all mapped out, but we need a ride leader (I have to cover the Common Ground Fair that day). If anyone can lead the ride (honestly, the hot apple pie is not to be missed) let me know, and I'll get the ride maps to you and the ride announcement out to everyone. Wish I could be two places at once.
Sunday, September 20th: ROME
"The Seven Hills of Rome" - a roadside tour of the many hillside trails through Rome and Belgrade.
START: 10:00 AM, Rome Town Hall at the corner of Rt. 225 and Mercer Road, about 0.3 mi from the junction of Rt. 27 and Rt. 225.
DISTANCE: 20 miles.
TERRAIN: Moderately Hilly.
HIGHLIGHTS: the route passes 5 trailheads, Blueberry Hill and the Kennebec Highlands. There is an optional short hike up French's Mountain to a spectacular scenic vista.
LEADER: Jim Merrick.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Some Call It Work

But we call it hill climbing.

We had a number of good hills to climb on the KVBC ride on Labor Day. Some of the toughest were on Sandy River Road between Fayette and Chesterville. The weather was clear and cool, near ideal for some hill work.

The ride started in Mount Vernon Village - it was the third attempt at the Eleven Ponds tour that had been completely washed out and then abbreviated by rain earlier in the season. This time, the weather was cooperative, and five intrepid riders showed up on the Monday holiday to tackle the route.

After climbing up and over into Chesterville, the ride dropped down to the Ridge Road which lies on top of the Chesterville Esker, a glacial sandbar that runs between ponds and gullies carved out by retreating ice eons ago. In our age it forms a beautiful flat stretch that we rode all the way to Farmington Falls, stopping for a break at the country store in the Chesterville Mall.

The return ride took us back through Vienna to Mount Vernon, climbing up the Tower Road to the Bean Farm Road, over an area of glacial sand deposits so extensive it was once known locally as "Egypt." Finally descending back into Mount Vernon Village, we left the geology field lessons behind and retreated to the cafe in town for lunch. It made for a great Labor Day ride. We'll have to revisit it again next year.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hot Dog Ride

We had great weather - sunny and cool - for our Labor Day ride, exploring hills, ponds, and eskers. We had a great group of riders who stuck it out through the whole ride and some even stayed for lunch at the cafe in Mount Vernon at the ride's end. At this writing we still do not have a breakfast ride scheduled for this Friday, but on Saturday Ken is leading us on a ride exploring the other side of Mount Vernon, followed by a hot dog roast afterwards. We have openings in the KVBC ride calendar for leaders in September and October. If you can lead a ride, contact Jim at hjmerrick@gmail.com. Fall is coming - more great riding ahead!

Saturday, September 12th - WING'S MILLS (Mount Vernon)
"Hot Dog! - The Hot Dog Ride" (not because we'll ride like one but because we will want one) - a tour through Mount Vernon, Belgrade, North Augusta, and Manchester
START: 9:00 AM at Marble Point Rd., Mount Vernon
Directions to Start:
From Augusta, take #27 North to Belgrade and turn left onto #135 (Christy's store and blinking light). Go 3 miles and right onto Wings Mill Rd; go 2.5 miles and right onto Marble Point Rd. which is just after crossing Belgrade Stream; it is a hard pack dirt road)

From Mount Vernon, Readfield: Take North Rd to Wings Mills Rd and go about 3 miles to Marble Point Rd; just after passing Bartlett Rd on the right, turn left onto Marble Point, DeLorme Maine Atlas Map 12; A-4. Just west and across the stream from the intersection of Dunn Rd and Wings Mill Rd. (Marble Point is not listed by name on the map).

DISTANCE: 29 miles
TERRAIN: Moderate with some hills
HIGHLIGHTS: Views of Belgrade Stream, Hamilton Pond, Stuart Pond, Messalonskee Lake, Doctor Pond, Silver Lake, Gould Pond, with a Hot Dog cookout lunch following the ride, with swimming available also.
LEADER: Ken Louis.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Labor Day Ride

First there was Hurricane Bill; then there was Danny. Hopefully the third time's the charm, 'cause the weather looks great all the way through the holiday weekend. The KVBC ride in Farmington was washed out last Saturday, but not enough to prevent scouting out a great breakfast ride for Friday. Join us on Monday, Labor Day, when we will try our luck again with the Mount Vernon ride that was rained out earlier this summer, heading out through West Mount Vernon, Chesterville, and Farmingdale. Fall is coming - more great riding ahead!

Monday, Labor Day, September 7th - MOUNT VERNON
"Eleven Ponds" - a tour past many of the hidden ponds and lakes in Mount Vernon, Fayette, Chesterville, and Vienna.
START: 9:00 AM, Mount Vernon Post Office, just off Rt. 41 on Main Street in Mount Vernon.
DISTANCE: 14 and 29 miles.
TERRAIN: Rolling with a few good hills.
HIGHLIGHTS: rural back roads winding through many small ponds and lakes, and across the top of the Chesterville Esker. Possible post-ride get-together at the cafe in Mt. Vernon village.
LEADER: Jim Merrick.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Top of the Hill

No matter which way you're leaning, the KVBC Two Wheels Over Easy breakfast rides are a great way to start your Friday - especially on a long weekend. This week please join us for a trip to the Top of the Hill Grill in New Sharon. It pays to stay in top shape.

Friday, September 4th: FARMINGTON
"Two Wheels Over Easy" - the KVBC Breakfast Ride series.
START: 8:30 A.M., at the Hannaford Plaza on Rt. 4 in Farmington, about a mile south from the junction of Rt. 4 and Rt. 27, towards Wilton. Park near the entrance to the shopping plaza.
DISTANCE: 20 miles.
TERRAIN: rolling to hilly - includes an optional 1.1 mi. section of hard-packed dirt road, which can be circumvented by adding a mile or two to the overall route.
HIGHLIGHTS: quiet back roads along the Sandy River, spectacular panoramic views from the ridgetops of New Sharon & Industry, and the Top of the Hill Grill.
LEADER: Jim Merrick.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Breakfast Ride Report - Mount Vernon

Last Friday we took advantage of a beautiful, crisp morning to set off from Readfield village on another KVBC Two Wheels Over Easy breakfast ride. We headed up the smooth, newly-paved surface of Church Road, climbing up to the North Road and Mount Vernon. As the four of us stopped mid-way on the long ascent, we noticed another cyclist coming up from behind. As he got closer we recognized him - Jim Putnam - who had got stuck in Readfield Depot, waiting for a train to clear the crossing. He caught us easily enough, and the five of us proceeded on our way.

We rode up the North Road toward Mount Vernon and then descended Blake Hill to Rt. 41. We came into town enjoying a very pretty run along the shore of Lake Minnehonk.

The breakfast stop was at the Olde Post Office Cafe, once the town's post office (I can remember buying stamps there when we first moved to the area). The cafe has since transformed the village of Mount Vernon "upscale" and stamps were not on my mind when we parked our bikes and went inside. Inside, one orders by the register, strategically situated beside a glass case full of enticing pastries. The fellow in front of me, a non-cyclist, capitulated and ordered, rather sheepishly, an enormous piece of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I was set on ordering a "breakfast burrito" - a wrap with scrambled eggs, cheese, and salsa - but I took pity on the poor guy and I found myself saying: "I'll have one of those, too!" not sheepishly at all. The burrito was great, but the carrot cake really hit the spot. Another member of our party ordered the "stuffed French toast" which consisted of French toast stuffed with cream cheese and fruit. It looked pretty good, too, but how much cream cheese can you eat with breakfast anyway?

We decided to leave that interesting question for another day. Most of the group set off on Rt. 41 to return to the start in Readfield, while I headed down the road to pick up my car at the mechanic's, and thence to work. I thought I might have to miss the entire ride, but then I considered that the "delayed at the car shop" would serve as a useful excuse for arriving late, where "delayed by carrot cake" would not.

We are hopeful of getting in a few more breakfast rides this fall. Our next stop may be the Top of the Hill Grill in New Sharon. Stay tuned!