Morning wake up came at 6:05am to the tune "Born in the USA" today. Not a terrible way to start off our first full day. After we got changed we ate breakfast while listening to some presentations on safety, which you can imagine is a pretty big deal for us. We talked about signaling and calling out certain hazards and actions, and then we went outside and got to practice them! We had stations set up to get us practicing all types of things, from calling and pointing out "glass" on the street (drawn in chalk) to pretending we need to stop suddenly for a car door opening. Around 9:00 (yes, this was all accomplished before most of you were even awake!) we met a guy who works with an adorable housing agency in Portland who also happens to be an avid cyclist. Last year he gave a PowerPoint presentation in the basement of the church about the projects in Portland, but since today was so nice out, he decided to take us on a bike tour of some affordable housing projects in Portland. Needless to say, it was pretty amazing. It was our first time biking together as a group and probably the last time we'll ever bike all 28 of us without splitting into smaller groups. The places we saw were pretty cool too. Contrary to popular belief, the affordable housing developments that we saw really brought life to the communities that they were in. In fact, it often happened that once an AH project was developed in a certain part of town, that part if town became a desirable place for families to relocate. It was pretty awesome. Below are some pictures from the AH tour.
After that ride was over, we all learned and practiced how to change a flat tire. Most likely there's a hole somewhere in the tube that you can patch up with the patch kit, pump the tube back up and stick it back in, bug sometimes you actually need to get a whole new tube. Practicing was really helpful since I hadn't experienced any flats while training, and it turned our to be easier than I expected it to be. However, we realized that I had been training this whole time with brakes that were WAY too tight! They were basically squeezing my tires and therefore I was pedaling through a lot more resistance that I should have been. Thankfully we figured this out now and not 500 more miles down the road!
After lunch we met with a guy from the bike coalition if Maine who taught us all about biking safely in groups and I'm cities. Again, it was a super helpful presentation and I felt much more confident to take on the road afterward when we did a 12 mile practice ride through Portland. On this ride we split up and I'm glad we did because it was much easier to maneuver the hazards with less people. Hazards included things like roads with no shoulders, pot holes, on and off ramps on Rt. 1, and other unpredictable obstacles on our route. It was a beautiful day for the coastal ride (one of the last times we'll see the ocean until we reach Santa Barbara!) and then with a little over 3 miles to go it started drizzling. Honestly I thought it felt great though after biking in the hot sun. It was a great practice ride that got us all pumped for when we really start on Wednesday!
Tonight was also the first time we got to shower!! Since there's no showers in the church, we had to be shuttled in the van to a USM rec center to use their locker rooms. The shower heads literally had the pressure of power washers. However, I didn't care much because it felt so nice to be clean. I have a feeling I am going to grow to love showers even more on this trip. Dinner was then provided for us at a Bike & Build alums house in Falmouth. The place was beautiful and she shared so many great stories with us about her experience biking across the country.
Overall it was a great day--we've all continued to get to know each other and every person here is awesome. There are so many different characters it would be impossible to try and describe them all. Some things I just won't be able to convey accurately with this blog and the personalities of everyone on this trip seems to be the first one.