Credit: Courtesy of Alice Slater ELLSWORTH, Maine — Once a month a group of bicyclists gathers outside City Hall and, after reaching consensus on where they should go, they pedal off to explore the city for an hour or so and, with a little luck, get noticed by other people. But it’s more than just a ride.
On its Facebook page, Ellsworth Bike Party says it’s “just for fun,” but for its primary organizer and many who participate in the monthly rides, there is a larger goal.
The city of 8,400 residents is the main service center in Hancock County. As a gateway community for Acadia National Park, millions of vehicles drive through it each year. But it is easier to navigate by bicycle than many might think, bike party participants say, and they want more people to know it.
They also are hoping with some planning effort — which could be part of the city’s upcoming comprehensive plan update — Ellsworth could be made even more bicycle-friendly.
Alice Slater, a Surry resident, is the mastermind behind the monthly gathering, which usually draws a handful of people who may or may not know each other. A native of England, Slater did bike tours in various parts of the globe before moving to the area about six years ago.
She was used to riding a bicycle for her everyday transportation needs in her native England, she said.
“My shock when I came to America was how car-dependent the culture is,” Slater said. “I actually didn’t bike […]