Bar Harbor, June 25th, 2015

Subtract the tourist trap of Bar Harbor (the town) and the rest is pure bliss. Keep in mind everything I poo-poo or praise is from a cycling perspective, and it’s almost always from a very quick observation, so don’t take anything I say as an absolute, except this absolute; if you ride a bike, you have to come and ride the loop in Arcadia National Park. 

Here’s why, for starters:
1. It’s short, relatively speaking. Even for a beginner, the 24 mile loop from the Visitors Center and back to it is not terribly tough. It’s close to 2,000 feet of climbing, but there are plenty of places to rest, hydrate, and break it up, if you don't have a lot of miles in the legs.
2. If you climb to the top of Cadillac, it adds roughly 7 miles and another 1,000vft, but a woman ascending yelled at me as I was about half way-up, that it was “totally worth it.” Bonus points if you go up on a…on a…I don’t even know what to call it, but a bike for three people. Never seen one before, and it looked ridiculous, and the descent in those cross winds with only one dude responsible for the steering, yeah, no, I would have shit myself.

3. The climb to Cadillac is never tough, in fact it averages that magic number of 5 percent, although the wind will always be a factor. The prevailing wind is from the NW, which is good since the majority of the climb is headed SE. You and your fancy deep-dish wheels best be prudent on the way down though, as you can come out of the trees and into an open turn and end up descending the part that’s not paved.

4. For 13 miles of it, it’s only one way, speed limit 25, up and down, two full lanes, and there is not a single imperfection in the road surface. On top of this, no RV’s or campers are allowed. Which means you can set you mainsail and cruise. Outside of a professional bike race, where both lanes are blocked and traffic is stopped, I don’t know of another place where you could  hammer and sightsee and the same time, cross lanes, basically be King without being a dick.

5. The asphalt is black and smooth, like the ones in your dreams.  You almost always flanked by trees on one side and the ocean on the other, which means you’ll get a breeze, whether you like it or not. The views are incredible, and all those lobster pots you see, well, there is no way you can’t finish off that ride without paying thanks by eating one or more lobster rolls.

I chose to begin the ride with a ride on the exterior of the eastern part of the island, so my ride ended up around 62 miles with 5400ft of climbing. I never try and hammer rides when I am traveling, so it’s easier to stop and see the touristy bits, which outside of Bar Harbor, are beautiful.

Like Somes Sound, which has a nice little old road next to it, and is the only legitimate fjord in the continental US. Which sounds like it’s trying to be more than it actually is; which is a big body of water with trillions of lobster pots.

Like Northeast Harbor, where you can smell the money and people don’t call it boating but the proper term of “yachting.” Shit roads though, and there are BUMP signs everywhere, including some that have a makeshift “s” sharpied onto them. Rich people didn’t get rich by being insouciant, you know.

I had two lobsters for dinner because the place I went to only had  1 ¼ lobsters on hand, which I think is pretty weak. One lobster for each ascent of Cadillac, if you are into symmetry.

Now, I'm off to Canada. Again.

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