Bike commuting takes place all over Maine - in rural and urban areas, suburban settings and even on islands. Winter weather can prove challenging but certainly not an insurmountable barrier to bike commuters, as shown by our featured bike commuter, Scott Harriman.
After the 2010 fall harvest, organic farmer Scott Harriman took on a seasonal job at L.L. Bean for the winter. When icy conditions made his commuting roads too slippery for his motorcycle, Scott switched to more reliable transport, his studded-tire bicycle. Aside from good fenders and lights, Scottʼs bike is quite ordinary. In fact, his dated L.L. Bean hybrid bike was purchased used four years ago. With some prudent maintenance and accessory purchases (fenders & lights) besides the seasonal tires, Scottʼs bike was ready for Maineʼs winter weather.
Scott is not a die-hard bicyclist. In fact, he doesn't belong to any bike clubs (he's not even a Bicycle Coalition of Maine
member). As a kid, he rode a bike with his grandmother in Canaan, Maine, but only returned to bicycling as a commuter in 2007.
Scott explains, "My main focus is efficient transportation so I hardly ever get on the bike just to go for a recreational ride. It's true that it's always fun to ride a bike, but the main reason I do it is to get to my job, pick up groceries, or run another errand in the most efficient way possible."
Scott registered on the GO MAINE website
, but never availed himself of the programʼs benefits - even when 12 inches of snow fell during one workday.
Scottʼs 15-mile round trip commute starts in a rural section of Brunswick. He travels mostly on back roads until reaching US 1 and the final two miles to his job at L.L. Beanʼs Freeport Desert Rd. campus, which can be congested with motor vehicle traffic.
Being visible is an important consideration during the short winter days. Early winter mornings can be cold, but after the first hill, the body does warm up. Scott wears waterproof "Pac Boots', mitts and a balaclava- all regular winter outdoors clothes.
Describing his motivation for bicycle commuting, Scott says, "I enjoy being outdoors in all seasons so bike commuting also gives me the benefit of getting some exercise and outdoor time on the way to and from a building with too few windows."
Although there are many L.L. Bean employees who are seasonal or occasional bicycle commuters, Scott is not the only winter-time commuter. Kris Wills works in the same Desert Rd. campus. She has been a year-round bicycle commuter since 2008.
Will you consider joining them by extending your bicycle commuting season into the winter season. Let us know on Facebook