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Old 11-14-09, 01:02 PM   #1
trackhub
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Speak to me of Portland, Maine.

I'm looking at Portland, Maine as a potential place to retire in about another ten to fifteen years. I know, it's a long way off, but I always have an eye toward the future.

So, what's cycling, and life in general, like in Portland? I'm told it's quite decent, as long as you can deal with the long winters.
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Old 11-19-09, 06:52 PM   #2
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cold i imagine
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Old 11-22-09, 07:42 AM   #3
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Well.

I am also looking at retiring before too long. I live just outside Portland and have been looking
for milder winters.

Here's what it's like. Fall is often mild, I rode yesterday and it was in the 50's. Winter is what you'd expect.
Spring most years is cold and rainy and last longer than you think. June is typically when things get good.
In general, we are 3 to 4 weeks behind Boston in the Spring. One time we left Portland, snow still on the ground,
when we got to Boston the snow was gone and it was in the 60's.

Traffic isn't bad and they accept cyclists. It doesn't take long at all to get out of the city, and there is some very nice riding.

The restaurants are excellent for a small city, but night life is pretty limited compared to Boston.

Apartments are more expensive than they should be (zoning BS) but real estate is reasonable, esp if you don't mind going
just a few miles outside town.

We have good bike shops, but if you are used to Belmont Wheelworks, for example, they are smaller and a bit limited.
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Old 11-24-09, 05:05 PM   #4
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I live about 20 miles n/w of Portland. If you're looking strictly for cycling, as has been said, the winters are somewhat long. If you ski, it's all good!
I usually start riding outdoors in late March and am still riding now. The riding is great; plenty of uncrowded roads, as hilly or as flat as you could want,
beautiful scenery (came within 10' of 2 moose on my ride Sunday), some great mtn. biking, friendly folks. A few good LBS in Portland; I like Cyclemania.
The other reasons I love living here: great skiing 1 hour from home, good surfing within a half hour drive, killer salmon and trout fishing, excellent micro-brews!
If you like the outdoors it's a great place to be. Property values are pretty reasonable unless you're looking for something waterfront; lake or ocean.
You can be in total solitude, no one else for MILES, within a 2 hour ride. Needless to say, I'm not leaving anytime soon!
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Old 11-24-09, 09:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhub View Post
I'm looking at Portland, Maine as a potential place to retire in about another ten to fifteen years. I know, it's a long way off, but I always have an eye toward the future.

So, what's cycling, and life in general, like in Portland? I'm told it's quite decent, as long as you can deal with the long winters.
Portland seems to be a city in transition right now. There are some very good things about it. Low crime great food Casco Bay are a few. We also seem to have more than our share of
fairly aggressive panhandling. Congress St has just lost LL Bean and that is going to leave a major hole down there.
I am mostly retired and live in Old Orchard Beach. I think southern Maine has some of the best riding around. One of my favorite loops is down to Kennebunkport via rte 9. I can make it about a 40-50 mile round trip. I do only biking on the road and I find that wonderful.
I have lived in California, New Hampshire, Florida, Virginia and Maryland and I still think our biking here is second to none. The winters can be long, so you need to put studs on your bike and or get cross country skiing. We have Harris Farm about 12 miles away and the annual rate is $100 for a pass.
That was kind of long winded. PM me if you need more. I am a transplant from Marshfield and Arlington.
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Old 11-27-09, 10:34 AM   #6
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Thanks for the responses.

-I can handle long winters / wet springs.

-I couldn't give a u-know-what about nightlife. But, I have heard that at night, you can ride around Casco bay and watch the big freighters going in and out of the harbor. That's my idea of "night life".

-I think I could handle switching to a mountain bike, with studded tires, for the winter.

-I'm well familiar with Belmont wheelworks, but I prefer Harris Cyclery. And man, have they got an on-line business.

Sadly, you'll find panhandlers in every city. And yes, some can be pretty aggressive and even threatening at times. The Boston area panhandlers, for whatever reason, tend to leave cyclists alone. Really, they approach pedestrians, and people who have just parked and exited their motor vehicles, but they tend to ignore cyclists. That's one for the Harvard sociology types.

donham, I have been told, repeatedly, by several people, that any major New England city has more cyclists, in winter, they Florida has at any time. The Metro areas of Florida are just not friendly to cyclists, and that's just the way it is.

Last edited by trackhub; 11-27-09 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 11-30-09, 12:06 PM   #7
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We visited Portland two years ago (November) and I was thinking the same thing... I could live here. It was relatively cold, but I was pleasantly surprised by the number of riders I saw and the courtesy of the other drivers. Seemed like the cars were pretty used to sharing the road... but I guess anything looks courteous next to NYC drivers.

We went to several great restaurants and also the Shipwreck Brewery. I thought it was a great town. You should check it out.
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Old 12-30-09, 05:39 PM   #8
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I've been here since November 2006 and the cycling here is just awesome! I've covered a lot of Cumberland county and done the Trek Across Maine three years in a row. Absolutely awesome! The drivers here are also extremely accommodating - just don't ride stupidly.
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