Kevin Shute leads a group of riders outside Bath Middle School on Friday, May 20. John Terhune / The Times Record

Bath’s streets belonged to the bikes on Friday morning, as members of the Bath Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee led a group of about eight riders on a tour of the city’s cycling infrastructure in honor of National Bike to Work Day.

Before the group departed City Hall at 7 a.m. on an assortment of road and mountain bikes, Bike-Ped Committee Chair Tim Blair provided their marching orders.

“As we ride around today, as you’re noticing places where you feel safe, noticing places where you think things could be improved, make some mental notes of that,” he said. “We’d love to get feedback and a list of things that people want to see.”

Tim Blair (center-right) speaks to riders outside City Hall before they depart at 7 a.m. on 5/20. John Terhune / The Times Record

Friday’s ride was the Committee’s third and final National Bike Month event, following a successful mountain bike trip and a trek to Brunswick earlier in the month, according to Committee member Kevin Shute.

“We offered a couple different things than what we’ve done in the past and saw some new faces,” Shute said. “It was the best year yet.”

Though there are few dedicated bike lanes in Bath, the city once again earned the “Bicycle Friendly City” designation from the League of American Bicyclists in December, one of two Maine cities to win the honor, along with Brunswick. Bath earned high marks for its low speed limits, active bike planning committee and “Excellent” school-based bike education programs, according to a report card from the organization.


The group on Friday made its first stop at Bath Middle School to cheer on students participating in National Bike to School Day. According to Dean of Students Paige Gallagher, about 25 kids rode to school on Friday, compared to the typical five to 10.

Kevin Shute stands next to a crowded bike rack at Bath Middle School. John Terhune / The Times Record

“Just getting kids active is important,” said Gallaher, who said the promise of stickers, ice cream and bike accessories incentivized students to participate. “Once they’re active before school, it helps them stay focused and things like that. It’s always a positive way to start their day.”

Other stops showcased steps the Bath Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee has taken to improve infrastructure for walkers and cyclists, such as advocating for fresh pavement, new sidewalks and narrower car travel lanes on Judkins Avenue and Oak Grove. Blair said he hoped that work, completed in 2021, would make bikers and walkers more comfortable by providing them more space and by encouraging cars to slow down.

The Committee, which works with other arms of the Bath government to highlight and address areas of need for cyclists and pedestrians, is currently rolling out its Help Bath Thrive: Drive 25 campaign, which targets speeding in Bath.

“Essentially it’s acknowledging that many people don’t feel safe out on the roads on their bikes because people are driving too fast,” Blair said of the campaign, which will also encourage people to advocate for safety infrastructure like raised crosswalks. “Every five miles an hour above 25, you’re more likely to kill somebody if you hit them.”

Construction worker Zack Grimm poses next to bike racks he recently helped install along with several riders. John Terhune / The Times Record

Making riders comfortable on the road is increasingly important because a growing number of Bath citizens are interested in avoiding the financial and environmental costs of driving, Blair said.


Mike McDermott, a Bowdoin College librarian, said biking to work in the summer provides an opportunity for exercise and fresh air. Yet he also highlighted the practice’s benefit to his wallet.

“When I’m biking, it means I’ll only put gas in my car once every six weeks,” he said. “There will be whole summers where people will talk about the price of gas, where I’ll go, ‘I haven’t even paid any attention.’”

Only 0.73% of Bath workers commute on bicycles compared to over 6% in hotbeds like Portland, Oregon, according to the League of American Bicyclists report card.

But at the conclusion of Friday’s ride, as the group offered their thoughts on potential improvements, Blair hinted a game-changing project could be in the works: the long-sought Androscoggin to Kennebec Trail, which would make the ride from Bath to Brunswick and Topsham safer and more comfortable.

“The three communities involved have started conversations again,” he said. I suspect you’ll be hearing more very soon about that.”

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story