VARIATION IN BIKE TERRAIN MEANS THERE IS TRULY SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
June 25th, 2021
June 25th, 2021
Blazing sun, cool steady breeze, and a slight salt-water scent are all components of biking in Acadia. The vistas are filled with gigantic pines, enormous erratic boulders, and the Atlantic Ocean as far as the eye can see.
The views are so breathtaking that the mechanics of biking seem to just melt away. The variation in bike terrain—flat roads to steep inclines—means there is truly something for everyone. Without doubt, wherever you bike in Acadia, the excursion will be a memory maker.
With 80 miles of open roads on Mount Desert Island and 45 miles of carriage roads, there are plenty of biking options. Open road and carriage road rides offer different views and experiences, but both can lead to endorphin-releasing exhaustion in the end.
Before you head out, it’s best to do a bit of planning. Winding through the heart of the park, Acadia’s carriage roads have crushed rock surfaces perfect for bicycling. If you’re going to ride the carriage roads, be sure check the Acadia National Park website at www.nps.gov/acad for the current conditions, which may include temporary road or carriage road closures. The Eagle Lake Carriage Road is being rehabilitated for most of the summer due to maintenance on that loop (see story page 11) and a recent high intensity storm caused damage forcing sections of several carriage roads to close for repair.
In addition, looking at a map or talking with a park ranger about which carriage road loop would work best for your entire group can make your outing run smoothly.
Witch Hole Carriage Road is the perfect fit for this type of ride. It is the easiest loop and has the fewest inclines, a great option if you have younger or older riders. For beginners, starting out on this carriage road is a safe bet.
If you’re looking for a long, two-hour-plus route with hilly terrain, then take the Amphitheater Carriage Road to signpost 21 and head toward Jordan Pond. This loop takes you over five of the 17 Acadia carriage road bridges with long, breathtaking vistas.
While the 27-mile Park Loop Road has spectacular views and vistas, it is winding and narrow and often congested with vehicles. It’s important to know there is no bike lane on most of the road, so biking is not advised during the busiest part of the day.
Always bring water, wear a helmet, and if the plan is to bike at dusk, have front and back lights on your bike to alert others. Finally, there are some carriage roads that are private, so biking is not allowed on these private grounds.
In Acadia, only class 1 ebikes are allowed on the carriage roads. Class 1 ebikes require the cyclist to pedal, and the motor only assists up to 20 mph. The carriage roads were designed for “a slow-paced recreational experience,” says Christie Anastasia, public affairs specialist at Acadia National Park. All bicyclists should obey the maximum carriage road speed of 20 mph. If you would like to explore biking beyond the carriage roads, all classes of electric bikes are allowed anywhere a motor vehicle is allowed. On these open roads, navigating safely is key, while sharing the road with cars. There aren’t many specific bike lanes designated solely for bikers on the roadways, so be aware of curvy terrain as well as drop-offs.
For help planning your Acadia biking adventure, as well as maps and more information on bike safety and rules, visit the park website at nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/bicycling. Biking in Acadia is a not-to-miss event. Post-ride, everyone seems to glisten with post-exercise happiness.