When I first talked to MTBVT about writing for the blog, I asked if it had to be exclusively about riding in Vermont. No, they told me, followed by a few awesome stories about Vermonters riding together in Colorado, Arizona, and Iceland. That got me thinking about how much Vermont has influenced my bike life.
I take my bike everywhere. Keys, wallet, phone, and bike are all on my pre-departure morning checklist. Thankfully, nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains, we are lucky in that it’s often easy to squeeze an epic ride into our day. But that also means that I’m spoiled with great singletrack. So when I found out there was NO singletrack in Acadia, where my family was planning a vacation, I almost left my bike home.
Then I thought of all those rainy days where I was spoiled with a break in the clouds, all those cold mornings where the fog was hanging in the fern lined valleys creating a mystical scene, or the miserable humid hot days where I’d had some of my best rides with friends; and I decided to take my bike with me anyway.
I was not disappointed.
While it was certainly not a technical ride, the carriage roads in Acadia National Park offer sweeping vistas of multiple glacial lakes, inlets, and the Atlantic itself. The National Parks have never disappointed me in there natural beauty, and Acadia did not disappoint.
It’s also an amazing example of how architecture can be blended into the landscape. In the 1800s, John D Rockefeller paid to have granite quarried from the island and turned into the bridges that are scattered throughout the park, creating a seamless appearance from the natural hillside transitioning into the bridges. I made a mental note to make sure my future singletrack building efforts also blend into the landscape.
Of course, I’m primarily a mountain biker, and gravel just isn’t going to cut it. So I spent some of my time looking for “features.” There’s always stuff to ride, if you have your eyes open. Putting my Vermont learned downhill skills to the test was easy on frequent granite formations scattered around the trails. Just make sure you respect the area and don’t do anything that will leave tracks!
Last but not least, one of the coolest things I found was this epically long quasi-skinny on an almost hidden, unmarked side trail off the gravel path. In most places it was two boards wide but a few spots were two feet off the ground and 4” wide.
At the end of the trip, I was left with this feeling: I’m glad I brought my bike. So many times I’ve been rewarded with natural beauty where I did not expect to find it while biking. I learned these skills and motivations at home in the Greens, and it has enabled me to explore many other places in the saddle. So next time you leave home, make the effort to take your bike with you!
When in Acadia:
Where to Stay: Solid Airbnb / VRBO options all over. Camping at Blackwoods Campground in Acadia NP.
Places to Eat: Seafood on the deck at The Chart Room or patio at Bar Harbor Lobster Co. The foodie place to go is Burning Tree Restaurant, amazing food but more pricey.
Must Do: See the glacial lakes (Eagle Lake, Jordan Pond), ride the carriage trails!
Local Suds: Maine Beer Company’s “Another One” is single IPA perfection. Try Atlantic Brewing Company “Blueberry Ale” for a mild blueberry flavored ale.