Western Maine’s varied topography makes for great road biking. The wide river valleys offer miles of straight and level riding, much of it through quiet woods and beautiful farmland. If you’re up for a more physical challenge, head for the surrounding foothills, with great climbs and descents. Here are just a few examples:
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A short ride starts in Davis Park, right at the foot of Main Street. The park is easily reachable by bike from most Bethel area lodgings. The route follows the recreational pathway that starts here and winds along the bank of the Androscoggin River.
Longer rides starting in the village include Vernon Street toward Stoneham and Lovell, the Intervale/East Bethel roads/Route 26 loop, or Route 2 east toward Newry or Andover. All these rides offer several possible variations.
Sunday River Road
A ride from the outskirts of Bethel out Route 2 and down the Sunday River Road will take you past Sunday River Resort, the Artists Covered Bridge and out to the Letter S, a local swimming hole on the Sunday River. You can return by the same route with possible detours up to the Jordan Bowl Hotel, a challenging three and a half mile climb.
North/South Ponds Loop
A 21-mile jaunt through nearby Greenwood and Woodstock, just south of Bethel, will take you through some lovely farmland and along the shores of South and North ponds.
For longer treks, cyclists can ride through the scenic Grafton and Evans Notches, both off Route 2.
You can find information about other road rides and local mountain bike routes at Barker Mountain Bikes on Route 2 in Bethel or from the Chamber of Commerce in Bethel. Call (207) 824-0100 or visit www.barkermountainbikes.com.
For more information and maps on biking in the region visit www.exploremaine.org/bike/lakes-mtns/bethel.shtml