[See the Table of Contents to see all our information]Think about some of the major problems we face in our time -- air pollution, ozone depletion, obesity, high blood pressure, stress -- it's obvious that if you can succeed at getting noncyclists on bikes more often, all these problems will become a little smaller.
The Portland Maine Bike Commuting Meetup seeks to provide cameraderie and support to our fellow bike commuters, and to encourage everyone to consider trying it. We do this through bicycling events and get-togethers and a variety of online offerings such as a message board, calendar, and all the online information you can find in this section
Some of us have mapped out our routes here
, with our contact information. If you have a similar route and would like some company or advice, feel free to contact the route owner.
Interested in using the Metro Bus for part of your commute? GoMaine
and Meetup member Erik West
have produced a video
showing how to work the bike racks on the front of all Metro busses. This can be an excellent way to extend your range, take you through heavy congestion areas, or provide an emergency ride home when bad weather or a mechanical problem takes you by surprise.
Another useful resource is the Maine DOT's page
, where you can report road problems such as potholes, or make other low-cost road improvement suggestions. The information will be passed on to the appropriate jurisdiction.
Why a Bike Commuting Group?
In the United States, the idea of bicycles as basic transportation is not nearly so prevelant as it is in some other countries. (For instance, see the pics of the Amsterdam bike parking lot in our Photos
section, or some bicycle promotional videos linked to in this message
.) Here, the bicycle is still primarily thought of as recreation: Just riding for fun around the neighborhood or on a path, mountain biking, touring, or even racing a-la
Lance and Floyd. But not so much as a first choice for just basic transporation to work and around town.
Some of us would like to change that.
There are many good reasons for using your bike for commuting and other daily transportation. In addition to the ones mentioned in the quote at the top of this page, I would add dependence on foreign oil, climate change, the increased asthma rate (from pollution), and the increase in personal debt. The need to address these problems becomes more urgent every day.
While not everyone can commute or do other daily chores on a bike, I believe that many more can than do
. For many, it may be a simple matter of not knowing the logistics of how to do it - what kind of bike is good, how to dress, what accessories are available, and so on. For others, there may be psychological barriers to overcome, such as fear of riding a bike in traffic, or feeling in need of the comfort and convenience that a car offers. One reason for this group, then, is to help people get started.
Another bicycle club?
It's true that there are many good general bicycle clubs around already, and you are encouraged to check them out
. Our goal here is not to re-invent the wheel (so to speak). That is why we do not do general purpose group rides. As commuters, we already ride a lot! Social gatherings, on the other hand, are a great addition for those of us who often ride alone. (Bonus points if you bike to them!
This group seeks to encourage bicyclists and potential bicyclists specifically around commuting and transportational cycling
. While there are many concerns that are common to all bicyclists, transportational cyclists will be more concerned with certain aspects of the activity than are other cyclists, such as riding in all kinds of traffic and weather conditions, and carrying stuff around. A large part of our mission is to share solutions that we have found to these challenges, and support beginners who want to learn them, in a fun and supportive environment!