gome header
                                                                                                           January 2012
In This Issue
Bicycling to Work during the Maine Winter--Are You Crazy?
Amtrak has Record Year
New Years Resolution
Winter Bike Tips
New Rideshare Tool Available
Who We Are
GO MAINE is Maine's statewide commuter service program. We provide information on and access to healthy, economical, and eco-friendly options for commuting to and from work, like carpools and vanpools, transit and bicycle commuting info, park & ride lot maps and the Emergency Ride Home Guarantee. 

GO GREEN and SAVE GREEN with GO MAINE today. Our service is free, fast, flexible, confidential and there's absolutely no obligation. 

Join Our Mailing List!

Quick Links

Become a Fan on Facebook! 


 Check out our commuter videos!


 Follow us on Twitter!

twitter logo



Bicycling to Work during the Maine Winter--Are You Crazy?
winter biking

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.


Amtrak has Record Year

Did you know Amtrak carried 30 million passengers in the past 12 months, the most the railroad has carried since its creation in 1971?  Only a decade ago, it was carrying approximately 21 million passengers a year.  Amtrak has broken ridership records for eight of the last nine years.

Joseph Boardman, the CEO of the railroad, said that "Amtrak is fulfilling its national mission and is part of the solution to meet America's growing transportation and energy needs."  The railroad attributes the growth to increases in business travel, high gasoline prices, and expansion of Wi-Fi on more services.

With winter driving conditions approaching, the train provides a relaxing and picturesque travel experience that links great locations throughout the northern New England.  You can watch a hockey game at TD Garden in Boston or head to some great shopping destinations in Southern Maine.

Do you ride the Downeaster regularly? Tell us about your experience on Facebook.

Click here for a complete schedule and to learn more about the Downeaster specials and promotions.
New Year's Resolution...

Did you know that ridesharing can help you keep your New Year's resolutions? Here's how, if you resolve to...
  • Lose weight/get in shape - Studies have shown that the extra walking to bus or train stops can add up over time to increased fitness and weight loss. Of course, biking or walking all the way to work is a great way to get in shape too. 
  • Save money - Carpool with one other person and cut your gas costs in half.
  • Take up a hobby - All that time you save carpooling can give you more time to pursue other interests, i.e. reading, knitting.  
Winter Bike Tips
bike in winter

If it's below freezing and you still think commuting by bike is a good idea, you are among a brave, noble and fun loving minority. We salute you and have asked our bike guru to offer some tips on winter bicycle commuting.

If this is your first foray into frigid pedaling, rest assured that these tips are well tested.  If you've done this for many a year and have newer, better or simply different ideas, please post them to our Facebook page and we'll add them to the list (with credit of course) and leave it on the GO MAINE website for all to see.

Be Seen: Riding in the winter often translates into riding in the dark, especially in Maine. You want at least one serious headlight and maybe a blinking headlight next to it and the same for the red lights in the rear. Load up on reflectors, especially on your helmet and ankles. You want to do everything you can to make sure people recognize that you are a bicycle rider, not a mailbox or a snow drift or a parked car. Drivers can give you more room if they know what and where you are.

Break out the ski gear: If your commute is short and/or you don't plan on breaking a sweat, alpine type ski gear is great. Just wrap your right ankle with an elastic reflector so your snow pants don't fall victim to a hungry chain. If you are pushing hard and sweating a lot, then you can start blending cycling shorts/tops with cross country ski hats, gloves, face wraps and such.   Tricky spots are hands, helmets and feet.

Hands: If you have shifters, and plan on using them, you probably need gloves. Pearlizumi and some other companies make gloves that have a spot for a thumb and then pair up the other four fingers for warmth. With these, you can still shift or brake and hold the handlebar at the same time, but your fingers are much warmer than full-fingered gloves. If you have no gears and one speed, use mittens. They are always warmer.

Helmets: You definitely want to wear one since you are even more likely to crash, but they are not really made to keep your head warm. So try getting a less expensive second helmet that fits over your hat/balaclava. Or sometimes a thin hat and a helmet cover will do, if paired with a scarf or other face wrap.

Click here to read the rest of these great Bike Tips....
New Rideshare Tool Available
fb/twiite ricon gtom go maine site

Weve got a new online ridematching system for GO MAINE powered by Ride Pro , is now available at GOMAINE.org that helps make finding carpool matches even easier.

The new system allows you to link your ridematching profile to your favorite social media sites - Twitter and Facebook - giving you another option to connect with others.  E-mail alerts will let you know when a potential carpool partner wants to get in touch.

You decide on how much account information is shared with potential carpool partners.

Here's How To Do It:

Sign into your GO MAINE account.
  • Click on the Twitter / Facebook button in the menu to the right.
  • A new window will appear for those two sites.
  • For Facebook: Log in using your info for Facebook.
  • For Twitter: Just enter your Twitter ID and click the Enable button.
  • You are done! And one less username and password to remember!

Once you've enabled your Facebook login, you may log in using your Facebook ID and password.  If you're already logged in to Facebook when you come to the log in page, Facebook will automatically log you in to GO MAINE.

Email us with any questions or comments.


Drive alone to work less. Save a lot more. Join Maine's commuter revolution today!




Carey M. Kish
GO MAINE Program Manager
GO MAINE is sponsored by the MaineDOT and the Maine Turnpike Authority, and administered by the Greater Portland Council of Governments.