The Portland Press Herald

Bikers, hikers, tourists and nature lovers anxiously await the middle days of October, when their outdoor adventures are highlighted by the colors produced by the trees of Maine and New England.

Unfortunately, this foliage season hasn’t been worth the wait. Weather patterns that have fluctuated between rain and record October heat, not to mention the occasional hurricane, have left colors flat and left the season at least a week behind. Cases of tree fungus have caused some leaves to simply drop before turning color at all.

The bottom line is that those who hope to enjoy any oranges, reds and yellows need to get to it. So for this final cycling column of the season, I’m offering up a couple rides that include leaves, but also plenty of other sights to see, just in case the foliage isn’t all that.

* Pineland Farms, New Gloucester: Tackle this ride one of two ways — ride to it or ride around it. Go to

Ride to it: From Portland, head toward Falmouth on Allen Avenue Extension, which turns into Falmouth Road. Turn left onto Middle Road at Falmouth Corner (four-way intersection) and follow Route 9, making a slight left just past Church Street. Stay straight for Walnut Hill Road/Route 115 in Cumberland. This connects to New Gloucester Road/Route 231, which, after about 4.4 miles, brings you to a left onto Morse Road. Here you’ll see Pineland spread before you.

This route, about a 15-mile ride from the North Deering section of Portland, takes you past farmland and residential neighborhoods, along tree-lined back roads and through the center of Cumberland. (There’s a sub shop/convenience store for those who need food or drink.) It’s mostly flat, until you get to New Gloucester’s rolling hills, but consider yourself warned: Route 231 is a pretty rough road with minimal shoulder.

Ride around it: When you reach Pineland, you’ll feel as though you’re in fall biking heaven. The paved roadways take you past the landscaped yards and gardens of the business part of the campus and to the creamery on site, where world-class cheese is made. (Self-guided creamery tours are offered seven days a week; purchase a pass at the market/welcome center.)

Even better for you if you happen to be pedaling a mountain bike: Pineland is home to 25K of professionally designed trails for biking and walking (and cross-country skiing in winter). The trails — which ideally by now will be situated under lush fall colors — are open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and a daily pass is just $5.

* Camden Hills State Park, Camden. For this trek you can ride around it or ride through it.

Ride around it: A 24.2-mile moderate road cycling loop starting and ending in Rockport and going through Camden and Lincolnville provides great views of the hills, the sea and the sights in a trio of vibrant Maine towns. From Rockport, head to Route 105 and then Route 235 (Hope Road). Next up is Route 173 (Beach Road) before hitting Route 1 (Atlantic Highway) in Lincolnville. Route 1 takes riders into Camden, where a picnic stop near the waterfront is mandatory before continuing on back to Rockport.

The maximum elevation on this ride is 312 feet. Expect the roadways to always be busy. Lincolnville Beach stretches for half a mile just off Route 1, and Camden offers a bustling waterfront, many quaint shops and plenty of food and drink options.

Ride through it: Camden Hills State Park, located just a couple miles from town, offers a 10.5-mile mountain biking loop on shared-use trails. Be prepared for a few steep climbs, but once you’re past Summer Bypass, the terrain smooths out. The trail provides access to mountain slopes where the fall colors seem to meet the blue of the Atlantic. You’ll also get views of the town of Camden and surrounding Penobscot Bay.

If you’ve exhausted your legs riding around town but still want to see the view from the top, feel free to strap your wheels on your bike rack and take the car up the Mount Battie Auto Road. Even if the foliage isn’t at its peak, you won’t be disappointed.

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