By Joe Yuhas

[Note: This article appeared in the Spring 2014 Newsletter. The full newsletter can be viewed in this pdf document]

The Southern ETA group has gained gratifying strength and numbers since last summer’s community displays and presentations. Those activities were designed to spread the word of the Eastern Trail and increase support at the grass roots level. Our awareness program showcased the far reaching benefits of the existing trail, as well as the benefits that will follow as the off road trail is extended to and through Wells, the Berwicks, Eliot and Kittery to connect with NH at the Memorial Bridge.

Since fall, SETA members have been meeting on a regular basis to explore and increase the effectiveness of our awareness program. Many new faces have been added to the group, increasing the pool of talent and imaginative ideas to accomplish our goals.

Ann Kendall came up with the idea of our sponsoring a trail ride which would follow the on road section of the ET (also known as U. S. Bicycle Route One). For the last few months we have been researching that project, developing possible routes, checking with town officials and, with the help of some of the Maine Lighthouse Ride’s experienced leaders, studying the details that have made that ride so successful.

After hitting a roadblock on our initial choice of date for the event, we decided that we would instead initiate a series of smaller monthly rides over the summer. Rather than try to bring off a major trail ride with all it’s details in a short period of time to plan and execute it, we’d work up to that project.

The monthly rides will also give us a chance to become familiar with the route in hopes that we will be ready to host the Spring on the Trail next year.

In Ann’s words, “We have decided to start slowly to build awareness and interest in the Eastern Trail by having a series of rides — Discovering the Eastern Trail — to be offered once a month for groups of about 20 riders.” The first ride is planned for June 14th from Kittery to Vaughn Woods and could return along the scenic River Rd.

Each ride will continue up the Eastern Trail with rides on the second Saturday of each month until we get to the off-road section at the Kennebunk Elementary School.

The rides will be around 20 miles in length, allowing for travel at a moderate pace, emphasizing safety and the pleasure of bicycling along the trail. We plan to stop occasionally at points of interest and concentrate on features of local historical or natural significance. Each ride will have a leader, a sweeper and a support vehicle to assist with breakdowns if necessary.

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