A Maine Bike Overnight: Killing Two Birds with One Stone

We combined two weekend events, Adventure Cycling’s Bike Travel Weekend and the Maine Country Music Association’s Weekend Country Jamboree.

Bicycle Adventurers: Shirley and Herschel White

When: June 2–4, 2017, Bike Travel Weekend

Accommodations: We tent camped at Hebron Pines Campground in Hebron, Maine, the site of the Weekend Country Jamboree.

Distance:  We rode 44.8 miles each way from our home.

Bonus tip for this adventure:

  • The Weekend Country Jamboree has been held at Hebron Pines Campground for 22 years! It was our first time there. It's sponsored by the Maine Country Music Association. If you like live classic country music, this is the place to go! Only $6 per day per person.
  • Our bikes are Bike Fridays with Bionx pedal assist. We’ve had the Bionx since the previous fall, and we’re still excited about being able to plan a ride without worrying about hills.
  • We used Google Maps to plan our route, and drove it two weeks before our special weekend to make sure it didn't turn into double track, ha ha. We also  checked out the campground. 

Day One

We got up before our alarm went off on Friday morning. Rain was expected later in the day, and we didn't want to be slow getting started. Fortunately (?), we already knew our tent was rainproof.

It was still sunny when we arrived, but we picked a tent site that looked like the rain would run off well, while still being basically flat. Within an hour of our camp setup, the rain started and continued off and on most of the evening and night. We’d picked a good place to stake our tent, and there was no puddle underneath it to challenge the quality of its waterproofness.

We were a little bummed that Google maps had told us the distance would be 41 miles but our Bionx odometers read 44.8 miles by the time we arrived. 

The live music Friday night was from seven to 10:00 PM, but we were so tired we went to bed at 8:30! The music venue was indoors; it looked like an old barn, but the big doors were wide open so it was the same temperature as outdoors. But it was large and roomy and out of the rain!

Day Two

It was cold during the night, low 40s, and I had become thoroughly chilled while listening to the band. It took me quite a while to warm up in my sleeping bag and I was a little sorry we hadn't zipped them together. We had already learned from experience that when we’re together, we stay warmer on cold nights.

The next morning, it was still very cloudy and drizzly and cold, and I had no intention of getting out of bed until it warmed up and the live music started.

It was handy to have everything we brought inside the tent with us! We have a three-person backpacking tent that we bought specifically for bicycle camping, so we put our Big Agnes air mattresses in the center and have about a foot on each side for our gear. We also have room for stuff at our feet, or at least I do! Our tent has two entrances, one on each side, and no one has to crawl over the other to get out.

Food: When we first started bicycle camping, we carried a small camp stove and kitchen gear. We used it when we "practiced" before our big trip in 2008, and carried it on our trip. But we never used it! So we mailed our stove and most of our kitchen stuff back home with other stuff we decided we didn't need. For this trip, I carried a small cooler with frozen sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese sticks. The homemade ice block lasted as long as it needed to. We ate a purchased slice of pizza and carried some snacks to eat on the way, and ate our sandwiches and more snacks for dinner at the campground. 

Day Three

We warmed up while packing, so we took off our long pants and jackets before we started bicycling. We had the same goal as on Friday: get to where we were going before any predicted rain showed up.

We wouldn't have taken this trip without our Bionx. The steepest hill of the trip was just outside the campground, on our way home. We reached the bottom of the hill in less than a quarter mile. I was not happy about tackling such a hill before we had a chance to warm up our muscles, but we had our Bionx to help. The first half of the hill was the steepest, but there was almost no traffic to bother or distract us.

After that hill, it was, metaphorically speaking, all downhill the rest of the way home, but we had one problem on the way home. Shortly after a roadside stop where I had rummaged through my backpack, I began to feel wetness on my rear, just below my backpack. By the time I stopped, water was pouring out my backpack. The bottom of the drinking tube had come apart from the bag. Lesson to self — check the connection regularly!

On this trip, it wouldn't have been a disaster. We were passing homes and occasional covenience stores, but we’ve been in situations where losing half of our water could be life threatening.

When we arrived at our planned lunch stop, we found two bicyclists already resting at the picnic table outside. We had a lively conversation. I went inside and ordered two hamburgers and refilled my hydration bag and the two empty water bottles, and went back outside with the burgers in time to say goodbye to our two new friends. Because of the conversation, we stayed longer than we planned, and it began to get overcast by the time we left. We had about 20 miles to go. Occasional raindrops motivated us to keep moving, but the few drops we got did not bother us. To me, rain is not a problem until it starts interfering with my vision, getting all over my glasses until I can't see properly.

I was exhausted by the time I got home. We were not physically ready to bicycle 90 miles in two days, with only a day of rest in between, but I knew we could do it with the help of our Bionx, and we did!

Your favorite local bike shop?

Bike overnight tips and tricks?

  • Our favorite piece of gear is our Bionx pedal assist. We could not have done this trip otherwise. We have been married 50 years and 1 week, so we deserve some assistance!

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HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your own bike overnight adventure!

2 responses so far ↓

Mary - Jul 17, 2017 at 5:58 PM

You are an inspiration! Happy Anniversary and congratulations on your celebratory trip. Despite the rain, it sounds like you made the most of your adventure.

kim - Aug 10, 2017 at 5:02 AM

You two are great! Thank you for being such an inspiration. Keep on pedaling, we need more folks like you two who are out there movin' and groovin'.

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