Area families bike at WCC, Midcoast Conservancy event

Posted:  Sunday, September 17, 2017 - 7:45am

Wiscasset’s Connor Robertson, 13, had seen fat bikes at visits to campgrounds and been wanting to try them. So when Midcoast Conservancy and Wiscasset Parks and Recreation put on a family bike day with fat bikes Saturday, he and father Jeff Robertson were there.

After the teen tried them out on the Wiscasset Community Center lawn, he pronounced them super bulky. “It definitely felt heavier.” He liked his own, GT mountain bike better.

His father did not ride. “I’m good,” he said, smiling. He was pleased the recreation department and the conservancy teamed up to offer the event. “I think it’s an awesome program. It’s a great opportunity.”

The conservancy has made the department one of its “community recreation hubs,” according to press releases from both agencies. Conservancy volunteer Andy Theriault helped at Saturday’s event that included biking over trails. The St. George resident likes the new hub program as a way to get people outside and visiting lands with public access.

“People don’t care about things unless they use them,” Theriault said. “I think the community hub program is just the idea of getting people to the outdoors and engaged in trying new and exciting things, whether it’s here at the Wiscasset Community Center or in Jefferson at Hidden Valley Nature Center, or Damariscotta Lake, or any of the other amazing public access areas.”

Volunteering at events like Saturday’s helps him feel connected to that good work, he said.

Another event volunteer, Neal Larrabee of Wiscasset, competes on Bath Cycle & Ski’s bike team and likes to promote bike-riding. He also helped with a fat bike demonstration at Wiscasset Parks and Recreation’s 2016 Winterfest.

Theriault’s son Reid Theriault, 8, liked the fat bikes’ shifting features that make hills easier.

Lynda Wall of Richmond and son Marshall Wall, 10, were about to get on a pair of fat bikes. “We’re excited. We haven’t done it before. We thought we’d try it out,” she said. Her son predicted he would have a much softer ride than on his own, lower-tech bike. Mother and son mountain-bike together. “He’s better at it than I am,” she said.

Newcastle’s Michelle Seaman and her family came to the event after son Gabriel, 14, saw an announcement Friday in the WCC gym.

A dim morning sky cleared off sunny for the three-hour event. “I think we’ve lucked out,” Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Thompson said.