A lot of the mountain bike movement in Maine right now is centered on attracting new riders.

Sure Maine has pro riders, and even Olympian Adam Craig. But mountain biking in Maine now more than ever is about fat tire festivals, knobby tire contests and spreading the love of rock hopping at bike-centric events.

Today Maine not only has loads of organized rides, it now also has professional trail-building schools and more than one youth race series. And if you’ve never been to a Maine mountain bike gathering, this is your summer.

A visit to one of five riding destinations will provide a glimpse into this happy-infused movement, and by all accounts that movement is growing.

So when are you going riding?


Bradbury Mountain State Park

Last year, pro rider Andrew Frye wanted to give back to his sport. So he gave up six evenings in the summer to inspire 50 young riders to take to the woods.

The Bradbury Mountain Bike Series was an instant success.

“I noticed if you raced (a pro race) there would normally be a loop in a field for 3- to 5-year-olds to race, but then nothing for youth. I was always kind of thinking there needs to be something to fix that,” Frye said.

He partnered with Pownal Fire and Rescue to help assure medics were on hand, and in turn gave all proceeds to the local medics. This year, Poland Spring and Cyclemania joined the series with sponsorship, and Frye said the summer event can only grow.

“If there is a youth under the age of 18 and they have a mountain bike and a helmet, I want to make sure we get them in a race and they have a good ride,” Frye said.


WHAT: Bradbury Mountain Bike Summer Series

WHEN: 4:45 p.m. on June 29, July 13, July 27, Aug. 10, Aug. 24

WHO: Riders 18 and under. Begins with a pre-ride with pros.

COST: $9

FIND OUT: on.fb.me/jUFEqC or racebradburymtn.blogspot.com


WHAT: Bradbury-12 mountain bike race

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 17

WHO: Riders of all ages and abilities.

COST: Varies

FIND OUT: www.bradburytwelve.com 


Camden Snow Bowl

From the second-annual Fat Tire Festival to the youth races, Camden could compete for the biggest mountain bike buzz going.

There are 15 miles of trails at the Snow Bowl, but much more by way of events.

John Anders, president of the local New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) chapter, likes the lift access at the Snow Bowl.

“You essentially attract someone to mountain biking who is not about going uphill. They do a little downhill, then they get the bug,” Anders said.

And after eight years, the Monday youth SHOCK series at the Snow Bowl draws upwards of 60 riders — most under the age of 10.

“We want to encourage kids to come, even if they don’t race,” said series founder Chris Christie. “We usually get 40 to 60 spectators. It’s really, really great reinforcement.” 


WHAT: Ragged Mountain Fat Tire Festival

WHEN: All day July 9 and 10

WHAT ELSE: Features downhill race, Maine Sport Run Off cross country race, a youth race, short track race, group rides, camping and a bike movie at the Camden Opera House in town.

COST: Varies

FIND OUT: Go to on.fb.me/j1uLdD or www.camdensnowbowl.com 


WHAT: Camden Snow Bowl lift access

WHEN: July 9, Aug. 14, Sept. 10, Oct. 2, Oct. 16, Oct. 23

COST: $5 per ride or $15 for unlimited rides 


WHAT: Youth SHOCK race series

WHEN: 5:30 p.m. on June 27, July 10, July 18, Aug. 8, Aug. 15

WHO: Riders 18 and under

COST: $15 per race; $50 for series

FIND OUT: www.camdensnowbowl.com 


Carrabassett Valley

The 50-mile Carrabassett Backcountry Cycle Challenge is the work of Maine’s newest mountain bike club, and an ambitious inaugural event. But for the folks at the Carrabassett Region NEMBA club (which is not even a year old), no goal is too big for a region they envision as the next mountain bike mecca.

Endurance races of this size are the growing trend, and the Challenge joins epic races in Vermont, New Hampshire and Quebec that have been held for years.

In fact it’s already part of an international race series.

Winding up and around steep climbs, the course has technical single track, water crossings, double track, and big-mountain views.

Club president David Hughes expects the remote, rugged race will be an annual event, and for the course to only improve.

“We have permission to build trails on so much land, it would take years for us to build all the trail we can build,” Hughes said.

For now, after 11 months of gathering grants over $20,000; building professional-grade trails; and forging partnerships with large landowners; the Challenge on July 24 is kind of like the club’s one-year celebration.

“There is a long tradition of holding mountain bike races in Carrabassett Valley I think we felt universally we didn’t want to be out of the racing side of things any longer,” Hughes said. 


WHAT: Carrabassett Backcountry Cycle Challenge

WHEN: Sunday, July 24

WHO: Cross-country riders in 25- and 50-mile races; plus a kids’ race.

COST: $85 for 50-mile race (includes meals and camping); $40 for 25-mile race

FIND OUT: on.fb.me/l1ZR5F


Sunday River

The Sunday River bike park is in its fourth year of continuous operation, but this year it ramps things up with a race and a season-long contest.

A race will be held in September, and for those looking to hone their skills, the ski area is offering a “vertical challenge” that asks riders to record their loops. The rider who travels the most vertical will get a prize.

Full-suspension bikes can be rented and season passes are available for the 20 miles of terrain. 


WHAT: Sunday River Downhill Race

WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 25

WHO: Open to all

COST: $10 or $39 for entire day of lift access

FIND OUT: www.sundayriver.com


WHAT: Vertical Challenge

WHEN: All summer

WHO: The rider with the most vertical at the end of the summer wins.

COST: Lift access from $18 to $29; trail access without lift pass is $10. 


Nordic Heritage Sport Club

Mike Smith was working at a Presque Isle bike shop when the Fat Tire Festival started in 2007 at the Maine Winter Sports Center, so he’s seen the growing energy around the event.

Now the center’s community development director, Smith believes Maine’s most far-flung mountain bike festival could become one of its nuttiest, if not the best-loved.

The festival has grown to two days of races and bike-related contests, including a bike biathlon (that’s right, with guns). And this year the 20 miles of much-heralded single track will be host to the state’s newest 12-hour race.

Smith thinks the draw could put Presque Isle on New England riders’ must-do mountain bike lists.

“We had mountain bike relay events and hill climbs and just fun, goofy things. But this year, with the 12-hour, we think we have something special. We think once people ride our trails, they’ll be hooked,” Smith said. 


WHAT: Nordic Fat Tire Festival and 12-hour race

WHEN: July 30-31

WHO: All riders for contests, games; 12-hour cross country race is open to teams and individuals.

COST: The 12-hour race ranges from $50 to $225 for five-person teams.

FIND OUT: www.nordicfattire.com

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: Flemingpph


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.