My passion for bicycling across November’s brown and gray landscape grows, and in the Belgrade Lakes region, a huge plus strikes me as obvious, particularly on weekdays. Traffic proves so much lighter compared to summer and leaf-peeping time.

Our country byways offer safe solitude now with mood scenes right out of Down East magazine, so I pedal until road crews sand enough times for it to build up. In November and into December, though, passing vehicles blow sand into ditches and keep pavement edges clean.

This gives me the opportunity to bicycle on most days until Christmas nears, when sand eventually takes over and cold makes trips spotty until April — for me anyway. Also, in midwinter after a long period of no snow, traffic cleans the pavement, so hard-core bicyclists can pedal all winter.

During the verdant explosion of spring and summer, the Belgrade Lakes region has it all for bicyclists. But tourist traffic reaches a crescendo then, even on more remote roads that should be far from the madding crowd.

In fact, traffic gets so heavy between July Fourth and Labor Day that nearby bedroom communities with far fewer daytime vehicles often draw me, places such as Mercer, New Sharon, Starks and Farmington north of Route 2, or my boyhood hometown of Windsor and surrounding places like Somerville, Coopers Mills, Whitefield and Washington.

Which leads to a bicycling tip: During summer weekdays, true bedroom communities produce far less traffic than tourism areas such as the Belgrade Lakes, Boothbay Harbor, Pemaquid, Damariscotta, Camden, Belfast and so forth.

A perfect example: On a sun-splashed morning in August, I pedaled north on Coopers Mills Road between Coopers Mills village and Route 105 in Windsor, a distance of about seven miles. I met no vehicles during this quick jaunt at the height of the tourist season. It doesn’t happen that way every time, but a reasonable possibility exists that I can count vehicles on the fingers of one hand.

In any season, the bench in front of Day’s Store in downtown Belgrade Lakes village ranks as one of Maine’s best spots to sit and gawk at passing vehicles, walkers, bicyclists or runners.

After bicycling, I often plop on that bench and nibble on a pizza slice while watching the world go by — quintessential village life at its finest.

This country store offers folks a classic spot to end a long pedal, a business from a long-gone era when floors squeaked, restfully dark lighting lit the sales floor and folks bumped shoulders in narrow aisles.

Best of all, customers on their way past the outdoors bench often speak to me, even strangers, renewing my faith in the modern world.

In September, two bicyclists stopped to talk, a grandfather and granddaughter, a memorable pair for all the right reasons.

This fellow lived in Sidney, but I had never seen him before. It didn’t matter, though, because we immediately started playing that bicycle game — swapping picturesque pedaling roads with one another, beginning with me.

“Have you bicycled the Plains Road in Mount Vernon and Readfield?” I said.

These inquiries went back and forth for three or four minutes before he succinctly pointed out the obvious with a bright smile and arms widely spread.

“Is there a bad spot to bicycle in the Belgrade Lakes region?”

Amen to that notion.

Often enough this month, people heading into Day’s Store ask how I can tolerate bicycling on such a cold day, instigating a stock answer.

“Oh, I’m dressed for it.”

In fact, as of the last week of October when I write this, my problem has been being too warm, not a big deal for folks dressing in layers. With the right clothes to stay warm and to shed, it’s a perfect time to pedal.

My strategy for cold-weather wear in November includes a T-shirt, turtleneck, long-sleeve bicycle jersey (for storage pockets) and windbreaker. On many days, I stuff the windbreaker into a bicycle-shirt pocket.

Later, it will be time to exchange the windbreaker for an L.L.Bean Gore-Tex jacket and later a down vest over the jacket.

And speaking of exchanges: In midfall, light tights usually suffice, but later, Col d’Lizard tights for skiing keep me plenty warm, and in the dead of winter, silk long johns, a balaclava and ultra-warm gloves ward off cold.

If I wanted to spend money, better clothing options exist, but I’m frugal and wear what hangs in my closet. It works for me.

Life is short, so to get the most out of bicycling, late fall can be a delightful pedaling time, and even winter has joyful moments during thaws.

Ken Allen, a writer, editor and photographer, can be reached at [email protected]