Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wicked Wayne

We had a beautiful late Fall ride from Smithfield last Saturday over smooth, dry, fresh pavement, slowed down only by a couple of flats. (Sometimes you can't trust new pavement.)  Staying dry this weekend might be more problematic, as the weather forecasts have been all over the place, obsessing on the "S" word.  It's been so nice this Fall it's too early for that, so we'll play it by ear and plan for a grim & ghoulish, post-Halloween, bid-adieu-to-Daylight-Savings ride!  We'll meet in Wayne at the Elementary School and work our way past the historic "Wing Ring" cemetery and up to Kents Hill, scene of an unsolved murder many years past, and a likely stop at the Apple Shed.  If the weather is not too cold or wet, we'll see you then!
Saturday, November 1st - WAYNE
"Hallows and Gallows" - a post-Halloween ride featuring some historic cemeteries.
START:  10:00 AM at the Wayne Elementary School, 48 Pond Road, Wayne.
DISTANCE:  15-20 miles.
TERRAIN:  moderate, creepy in spots.
HIGHLIGHTS:  the Wing family cemetery, the Kents Hill orchard, perhaps a notorious historic crime scene, and other local haunts.
LEADER:  Jim Merrick,
For more information about the Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club contact Jim Merrick at, or check out our Facebook page.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Riding Back to the 1720s

We have a special tour on tap for this Saturday in Smithfield, as we will once again visit the site of the Battle of Norridgewock, the climax of Father Rasle's War in 1724.  We hope to time our arrival to coincide with a site tour and interpretation led by Colby History Professor Daniel Tortora; the scheduled tour of the historic site is estimated to take about an hour, and involves walking about two-tenths of a mile on flat trails around the site (you may want to bring appropriate footwear if you are riding in cleats).  The tour is optional (i.e.: you can skip the walk around the historic village site if you like) but the site itself is very interesting - it's an opportunity to learn details about our local history that don't get much attention nowadays.  The ride will also explore some back roads in Smithfield and some quiet riverside roads in Norridgewock and Madison - there may be some short stretches of gravel to contend with, but we expect to find nice new pavement along the Rt. 8 construction project.  We may stop for lunch in Madison.  Hope you can join us!
Saturday, October 25 - SMITHFIELD
"Monuments, Missions, and Massacres" - a scenic and historic river tour through Smithfield, Norridgewock, and Madison.
START:  9:00 AM, at the new Smithfield Fire Station on Rt. 8 in Smithfield, about a quarter-mile north of the junction of Rt. 8 and Rt. 137.
DISTANCE:  approx. 30 miles.
TERRAIN:  moderate to moderately hilly.
HIGHLIGHTS:  a tour of the Norridgewock Village Historic Site, an eighteenth century Abenaki Indian settlement and a French Catholic Mission wiped out by British soldiers in 1724.  Now a tranquil spot on the riverside, we will explore the site and its history, as interpreted by professional historians.
LEADER:  Jim Merrick,
Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club rides are open to members and to the cycling public.  Helmets are required of all riders at KVBC events.  It is also recommended that you bring with you on KVBC rides:  a map of the area in case you stray off route; tools for simple roadside repairs, especially a tire pump, spare tube and/or patch kit; water bottles or hydration systems; personal ID and a small first aid kit; and money for purchasing snacks & drinks en-route.  In case of severe weather, scheduled rides may be postponed or designated as "show & go" rides at the discretion of the ride leader.
We welcome suggestions for improving our rides and encourage active participation of all members.  For more information, contact Jim Merrick at, and check out the KVBC Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Leaf Peepers on Wheels

We had a great Fall foliage ride last Saturday around Winthrop and Monmouth, despite it being cooler and darker than forecast.  Our thanks to Denise for leading, and for all the hardy folks who came out for the ride.  The Fall weather has been spectacular of late, and this Saturday Ken Louis will be leading his ride from Belgrade that got washed out a few weeks ago.  And David Lipman will be leading a Sunday afternoon ride from his house in Vassalboro.  The weather hopefully will be fine, with lots of great scenery still to enjoy!
Saturday, October 18th - BELGRADE
"Once Again, Take it or Leaf it" - Belgrade, Mount Vernon and Rome Late-Foliage Tour.
Start: 9:30 am, Belgrade Community Center on Rt. 27, a half mile south of the Village of Belgrade Lakes, on the right (northbound) just past the Great Pond Marina.  Park in the community center parking lot nearest the street (just as you turn in).
Distance: 28 miles
Terrain: Generally hilly with some nice stretches to recover
Highlights: Views of Long Pond, Castle Island, Minnehonk Lake and some nice back roads to include Bean Rd, Watson Pond Rd and Belgrade Rd.
Leader: Ken Louis.
Sunday, October 19th - VASSALBORO
"More Hills and More Beans" - a scenic tour around the China and Vassalboro.
START 1:00 pm at the home of David and Laura Lipman.  Condo is after Natanis Golf Course at 6 Arrowhead Drive heading north. (Not to be confused with Fairway Drive. Use Barrows Road on your GPS and we are the next road on the  left after that)  Please park after the garages in the large dirt parking lot after the condo buildings.
DISTANCE: approx. 30 miles.
TERRAIN:  Moderate to Hilly.
HIGHLIGHTS: an assortment of fine back roads in China and Vassalboro, with a stop at a fine local coffee shop or two.
LEADER:  David Lipman.
For more information on the Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club and its rides contact Jim Merrick,, or follow us on Facebook.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Big Lakes, Many Colors

After manning a booth at the Fryeburg Fair on Friday, I camped overnight at the fairgrounds and awoke to dark, rainy conditions, and no chance to make it to the KVBC Ride in Chesterville.  But I was feeling my oats (or maybe it was the fried dough) and I decided to get in a ride anyway, heading out to No. Conway and tackling Hurricane Mountain Road, said to be one of the toughest climbs in the White Mountains - and definitely a bit challenging in a cold rain.  But I survived the cardiac stress test of the climb, and the constant braking on the descent, and now I can say, "Been there, done that."  Turns out that despite John Lanoue's gracious planning and efforts to lead a Fall foliage tour, the weather wouldn't cooperate and the KVBC ride was washed out.  This Saturday we will hope for a bit dryer conditions when we meet in East Winthrop for the Big Lakes Tour at 9:00 AM.  If we don't get a lot of heavy rain before then, the foliage may be near peak, and it should be a great ride.  See you then!
Saturday, October 11th - EAST WINTHROP
"The Big Lakes Tour" - a ride along the shorelines of Lakes Maranacook, Annabessacook, and Cobbosseecontee.
START: 9:00 AM at the parking lot of Tom's Bike Boutique, 2208 Rt.202 in East Winthrop, across from D.R Struck's Nursery.
DISTANCE: 25-30 miles.
TERRAIN: moderate with some hills.
HIGHLIGHTS: Some nice lakeside runs along backroads in near peak Fall foliage through Winthrop, Monmouth, and Manchester.
LEADER: Denise Crowell.
For more information on the Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club, contact Jim Merrick at or check out the KVBC blog at: