Posts Tagged ‘Windham’

Family bike trips in Standish and Windham Maine

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

maine TransportationEven after a few of years of biking with my kids, who are now 11 and 13 years old, I am still not a fan of road riding, even when there are wide shoulders. Since I would like to enjoy myself and not stress about cars whizzing by, I have been motivated to find trails that keep my family off the motorized roadways. Luckily, we live in Maine, where there are several off-road (not to be confused with mountain biking) trails for my family to enjoy a stress-free day on two wheels.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION TRAIL, STANDISH
A formerly packed gravel trail, the 5.7 miles of the Mountain Division Trail from Standish to Windham is now paved, and offers a smooth easy ride. The 0.9-mile Jeep trail in Standish connecting the Johnson Field trail head to the Mountain Division Trail is still packed gravel, but the trail heads in Gorham and Windham have paved trail spurs. There is one big hill near Otter Pond (on the Jeep trail in Standish) that younger bikers may choose to walk their bikes up (or down) because it’s a bit steep. But once at the pavement by the rails, it’s a fairly level trail.

There are four road crossings from Standish to Windham, and all but one are quiet roads (one road may take a couple of minutes to cross because of fast-moving cars). There are a lot of benches at various points along the trail for water breaks and picnic lunches.

Very often, we share the trail with horses (near the Johnson Field trail head), and my kids think that makes this trail extra special. For mountain bikers, the trail continues over Route 202 in Windham to Bridge Street in Westbrook on a rough gravel surface.

TRAIL: Mountain Division Trail
LENGTH: 5.7 miles one way
TERRAIN: Paved
TOWNS: Standish, Gorham and Windham
TRAIL HEAD: Johnson Field on Route 35 in Standish, Gambo Recreational Center on Gambo Road in Windham and Shaw Park on Route 237 in Gorham.
BATHROOM: Porta-potty at each trail head
DOG-FRIENDLY: Yes, on a leash.
FUN STOP: The Blue Seal store at the end of the trail on Route 202 in Windham usually has a resident animal in the store (depending on the time of year, it could be baby chicks, bunnies, a lamb, dog or cat). There are also some tasty candy caramels at the counter that are worth the sweet indulgence after a fun ride with the family.
13-YEAR-OLD: “I really like the new pavement. It is sooo easy to ride on now. I also like seeing the horses on this trail. It’s pretty easy except for the giant hill before the railroad tracks. I really like this trail.”
11-YEAR-OLD: “This trail used to be a looooong ride but with the pavement it doesn’t feel so long. I like to see the horses and I like to look at the river. I am also happy I can visit the Blue Seal store because they always have animals to visit. And me and my mom and my sister really like the caramels they sell there.”