Monday, April 30, 2012

Manchester with Mayo

Climbing Rt. 135 towards Manchester
We had a rather frosty ride last Saturday.  According to the thermometer in my car, it was 35 degrees at the ride start in Wayne, and with the winds at 20 mph, we started out with wind chills estimated at about 24 degrees - I'm not sure I believe that, but it was definitely cold.  I think I started out with four layers and I might have finished with more.  The winds never let up, but it did warm up to 40.  Those of us who rode were glad the sun was out, and we did have some great scenery along the route.  We even swung by Tubby's Ice Cream at the end of the ride but, alas, they weren't open yet.  Can't imagine why.  Hope you can all come out this Saturday as May is Bike Month, and we kick things off on Cinco de Mayo with a ride exploring the back roads north of Manchester and Wings Mills.  See you then!

Saturday, May 5th - MANCHESTER
"Cinco de Mayo in Manchester" - a posted roads tour from Manchester to Wings Mills.
START:  9:30 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 next to the fire station just after you turn off Rt. 202 onto Rt. 17 West.
DISTANCE:  23 miles.
TERRAIN:  moderate, with one long hill.
HIGHLIGHTS:  We'll ride some paved (albeit sandy) back roads along some streams in and out of Wings Mills and take in some pre-foliage hilltop views.
LEADER:  Jim Merrick.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wayne's World

Cycling in Wayne, KVBC ride, 2011
We had a great ride along the Kennebec River Rail Trail last Saturday, thanks to Jim Floyd.  After a bit of a raw start along the river, it actually warmed up and the rains held off in a most cooperative manner.  By the time we got back to Hallowell for a stop at Slate's bakery, the sun came out and we had a great post-ride get together outside in their courtyard.  I don't know if we woke up the Earth but we sure woke up the rain gods for the rest of the week.  The forecast is that they should be done by Saturday, which bodes well for our second ride, starting at the Wayne Elementary School on Pond Road.  Meanwhile, stay dry, and hope to see you Saturday!

Saturday, April 28th - WAYNE
"The Wayne Way" - a tour of the lakes and waterfalls around Wayne, Leeds, and Fayette.
START:  9:30 AM at the Wayne Elementary School, 48 Pond Road, Wayne.
DISTANCE:  20 miles.
TERRAIN:  moderate, with some surprisingly flat sections.
HIGHLIGHTS:  some very nice scenic shore roads, meadows, and waterfalls - great touring country. Possible post-ride ice cream stop, too.
LEADER:  Jim Merrick.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Down By The River

The 2012 KVBC Wake Up The Earth ride started out overcast and cool. The weather forecast indicated that the rain would hold off until the afternoon, qualified by the actual conditions as "maybe." As for riding the Kennebec River Rail Trail, there was no "maybe" about it, and the ten of us took off.

In truth, there was more auto traffic on Earth Day than I would have liked, but for a stretch through Hallowell the way was fairly clear. Once back on the Rail Trail we were again car-free.
An Earth Day information booth crew welcomed us at the Gardiner end of the Rail Trail.

We continued down river to a private boat landing, then regrouped for the return - to Slate's Bakery.

As we returned, the skies began to clear and the sun broke out. We took our place out in the bakery's courtyard as the Earth woke up, and planned our rides to come.
Join us in Wayne on Saturday, April 28, for the next Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club ride!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wake Up the Earth!

Time for our first ride of the year! (Well, actually our second ride, as Larry & I broke in the year early with a Leap Day Ride to Slate's Bakery in Hallowell in February.) We will likely have warmer weather this Saturday, if the remarkably Spring-like weather we've been having will hold for next weekend. Jim Floyd will be leading our "Wake Up the Earth" ride along the Kennebec River Rail Trail in Augusta as we kick off another year with the Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club. We might note that we should be passing by the Slate's Bakery on Saturday, too - in case you feel you missed out on something last February (which you did). In any case, I hope you can join us! And take note that this weekend the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will host the first of two Great Maine Bike Swaps: the first on Sunday, April 22 in Bangor; followed by one in Portland on Sunday, April 29. Let's get rolling!

Illustration: The Luckhursts on their tandem pass through downtown Hallowell on a KVBC breakfast ride along the Kennebec River Rail Trail. This particular rendering came out looking rather Mediterranean. Still, I have yet to hear from any Italian touring company seeking to use the image in their advertising.

April 21st, Saturday - AUGUSTA
"Wake Up the Earth" - an early Spring/Earth Day ride along the Kennebec River Rail Trail through Augusta, Hallowell, and Gardiner.
START: 10:00 AM at the Augusta trail head of the rail trail - the municipal parking lot off of Water Street adjacent to the Maine State Housing Authority (353 Water St.) in the shadow of Memorial Bridge:
DISTANCE: 20 miles
TERRAIN: flat (and we mean flat)
HIGHLIGHTS: the first ride of the season, a pleasant run along the Kennebec River, with some great natural scenery mixed with some urban vistas, kicking off another great year of cycling.
LEADER: Jim Floyd.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Maine Town Believed Part of Southwestern France

Researchers in Europe have determined that a town in Maine is actually part of Southwestern France.

By just what mechanism a thousand or so hectares of French soil wound up occupying what was once the Town of Leeds, Maine, is still a mystery. Researchers believe that some sort of powerful space-time event was involved, probably in the middle of the night, or during High School Basketball week, when no one was paying attention.

This mysterious transvergence eventually came to light last year when a group of cyclists taking part in something called the "Tour de Lacs" passed through the town of Leeds, Maine, and stopped to admire fields of sunflowers - much like those that dot the French countryside.

Some time later, a French bicycle tour operator, looking on the internet for the perfect cycling image to promote his new touring company in Southwestern France, came upon the sunflower image and quickly contacted the group's weblog, seeking permission to use their photo. He even sent along a mock up of his ad, promising his customers "stunning countryside."

The cyclists briefly considered holding out for an offer of a free tour, or perhaps a 15 lb wheel of cheese, but finally relented and granted their permission for the use of the image. Curiously, Leeds has noticed an increase in the number of foreign bicycle tourists, stopping to puzzle over their maps and ask directions.

The French team of researchers has taken this into account, and they are looking for evidence that the town of Leeds, Maine, or its cosmic counterpart, has been transported in turn to the French countryside. To date, they have begun to focus their efforts on a small village on the outskirts of Manzac-sur-Vern, where, it is said, the residents speak with a strange accent, and the village store prepares popular sandwiches in bagettes that they call "les Italiens." They promise to have more information on this puzzle as it becomes known.