Saturday, July 23, 2016

Back Cove and Eastern Promenade Trails in Portland, Maine

Back Cove exercise area.
Along with our vacation in Acadia we also explored coastal Portland, primarily to pedal the Back Cove Trail and Eastern Promenade Trail. Because we were also in the vicinity, we cruised around University of Southern Maine for a quick introduction to a small city college campus for our oldest son. We also stumbled upon a bike shop that could repair his broken derailleur on the spot (a used replacement derailleur was a welcome option), so we headed out again as a foursome, our eldest - a happy-go-lucky kid in general - pleased to have a full range of gears.

The Back Cove Trail is a flat 3.5 mile urban loop, linking neighborhoods, circling a saltwater bay. It is well used, if the packed gravel is any indication. I spied a couple lobster pot buoys and several ducks. One area has an exercise circuit and fields. I was heartened to see trikes in action, a program offering rides to the elderly, handicapped, and other folks wishing to get out on two wheels.

Oldest son loves pedaling no-handed, comfortably riding along the Eastern Promenade Trail.
Swooping beneath a bridge and connecting with the Eastern Promenade Trail, I was immediately struck by the view of Casco Bay, complete with a public beach, playgrounds, a jetty, sail boats, and working water craft: barges and cranes, with a stunning island fortress, presumably left over from WWII.

I like the breezy manner of this local cyclist.
However, we first pedaled beside a sewage plant, somewhat reminiscent of our own city's waterfront trail. How long can you hold your breath? Interestingly, a group of parents and toddlers were painting a cement wall with graffiti - perhaps some kind of acceptable public art?

Narrow gauge train tracks border the trail - we'd ridden this train many years ago when our children were young - and indeed several cars passed by.

We contemplate the menu at a taco truck,
The Eastern Promenade Trail ends along the busy fishing and touristy downtown dock area. The bike route continues on-road and eventually hooks up with other trails south of Portland. We ended our journey downtown, ate lunch and returned back the way we'd come to retrieve our car. Total miles:10.


  1. What a nice ride. I envy how easily your oldest rides his bike no-handed! I've always struggled with that skill.

    1. Its funny because I no longer even want to ride no handed...

  2. This looks like such a great ride! I love seeing families out riding together too.

    I can recall riding no-handed on my bicycle as a kid (I had practiced this skill as I wanted to be able to do it with ease), but I somehow lost it in adulthood. I'm not entirely sure if it's injuries or just lack of really trying, but I've never been able to accomplish the task the way I did when I was under 14 years of age.

  3. Looks like a fun trip, easy pedaling and flat trials. Makes me think of all the good bike trails and rail trails in my area I need to either A) revisit after many years hiatus or B) discover for the first time, so many rides so little time. I wonder if your "island fortress" was built around the same time as many we have hear in the Puget Sound, most of them are now state parks. Good for you getting out with the family to ride.


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