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ah314 07-15-14 04:24 PM

Route Advice in Maine
I am going to go on a road bike touring trip (ultralight, i.e. hardly any stuff) from Boston to Newfoundland, and am torn about which route to take from Kittery, ME to Portland, ME (where I'll take the ferry over to Yarmouth, NS).

As far as I can see there are three possibilities:
1) A coastal Route with a section of the Off-Road Eastern Trail (between Saco and Scarborough) thrown in
2) Taking both long sections of the Off-Road Eastern Trail
3) Following the On-Road Eastern Trail route (which I think follows closely the USBR1)

I would personally tend towards taking the coastal route, but am worried that traffic could be an issue and that the inland Eastern Trail (On-Road) route might be better traffic wise? The other thing is the Eastern Trail Off-Road parts which are a bit of an unknown. It would love to throw some unpaved and scenic stretches into the mix, but I'm not sure how suitable the gravel will be for 25mm tires...

Many many thanks for any advice. Much appreciated! :)

youngbeginner 07-15-14 09:30 PM

I have a beach house up near kennebunkport and was just up riding there, and I have come to this conclusion: Going down the entire eastern trail offroad section on a road bike sucks. It is pretty well packed down, but if you are even trying to go faster than 15 or so mph then the loose top dirt gets in your eyes and everything else (my left eye is still sore, red, and irritated almost 2 days later). The coastal routes should have a bit of traffic, but nothing major and not stop and go as long as you avoid major town centers. I would recommend a route that looks something like the following:!3e1.

I know, I added in about 7 extra miles, but this will take you along the coast, near a few lighthouses, and it will be scenic. Additionally, this course also incorporates the eastern trail. Route 1 should not be an issue, especially the areas that I put.

Little side note, if you are interested in stopping for a nice lunch, Bennett's Store makes the best sandwiches in the world (or the best I have ever eaten). They are local and have been there for quite a while, and if you are looking for a place to eat, I would HIGHLY recommend this place.

If you have any other questions, just ask.

youngbeginner 07-15-14 09:38 PM

Your coastal route looks fine, except that Cape Neddick can get very busy in the summer, especially on weekends. Going on Ocean Avenue is a great idea. Getting through Kennebunkport can be a bit hit or miss, and the streets off of Mills Rd can get very confusing and its easy to get lost, so I would recommend taking Mills and then using one crossover street, like Oak Ridge or West (I prefer Oak Ridge 100 times more). Same thing about Kennebunkport traffic goes for Saco/Biddeford, it all depends on how you hit the traffic lights and flows of people. If you wouldn't mind an extra few miles, I would recommend going down to Old Orchard Beach, as it is a true example of a beach town with a boardwalk, people, excitement, and also great food. It also gives great views and a nice beach if you wish to rest on one.

bktourer1 07-17-14 11:51 AM

I rode the entire ET from Portland to Kittery this past June on a fully loaded bike with 700/35 tires. I had no issues most of the off road sections. On road roads went from crappy to good with a few hils thrown in. The campground right on RT1(cascadia park) in Saco was cheap,a little rundown & had wifi (though it was empty). From this CG its 4 mils to OOB. If you get the ET guide, watch the maps carefully as sections can be tricky

ah314 07-22-14 11:16 AM

Thanks a lot for all the advice! I think I'll take the coastal route for most of it. And definitely stop at Bennet's for Sandwiches :-) Just in case anyone happens to read this wanting to ride the ET there is a (short) section that is currently closed (July 21 till Aug1st 2014)

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