Who we are
Seacoast Area Bike Riders (SABR) is a diverse group of bike riders in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire and contiguous parts of Maine. Our vision is to make cycling the new normal on the Seacoast and in our culture. SABR promotes cycling as a way of life for recreation and utility for all Seacoast residents through advocacy, education, and events.
In 1992 a group of local bicyclists formed Seacoast Area Bicycle Routes (SABR). The intent was to ensure that bicycle infrastructure would be part of regional planning initiatives following the closure of the Pease Air Base. During the three decades since then the group has helped shape some of the region’s most significant bicycle infrastructure. In
2019 SABR officially changed part of its name – from “Routes” to “Riders.” We wanted to broaden our mission to not only advocate for bicycle infrastructure but also to promote bicycle use as part of a changing way of life. As Seacoast Area Bicycle Riders, we now offer a number of programs, activities, rides, and events – all of which are designed to encourage more people from many different segments of our population to get on their bikes. We continue to advocate strongly for improved bicycle infrastructure. The following projects reflect our successes and track record.
Where We’ve Made a Difference
Rockingham Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge
SABR’s first significant success story was advocating for and helping to secure funding for the construction of the Rockingham bicycle and pedestrian bridge. This bridge crosses the Spaulding Turnpike (Route 6) and connects downtown Portsmouth to the vast tract of land, formerly Pease Airforce Base. Now a trade port with many commercial and light industrial companies, the land includes many possibilities for bicyclists to enjoy less travelled roads and visit the shores of Great Bay. Completed in 1999 at a cost of $800,000, the bridge now provides an active link for commuters and recreational cyclists, as well as pedestrians.
Memorial Bridge Bike Lanes
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s initial design to replace the failing Memorial Bridge did not include plans to accommodate bicyclists. Bicyclists would be expected to walk their bikes across the bridge, sharing the same space as pedestrians. As a result of SABR’s networking, advocacy, and attendance at critical meetings over a period of two and a half years, the final design included dedicated 5’ bike lanes in both directions.
Pease Multi-use Grafton Drive Path
SABR helped design the 1.6 mile multi-use path that begins at the intersection of Grafton Drive and Corporate Drive and runs parallel to Grafton Drive and Route 33 before connecting to Portsmouth Avenue. We accomplished this by working with the major stakeholders – Pease Tenants Association (PTA) to encourage the Pease Development Association, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT), and the City of Portsmouth.
Little Bay Bridge Bike/Pedestrian Crossing
In 2010, the NHDOT began construction to expand the bridge that crosses Little Bay from Newington to Dover. While construction continued, bicyclist and pedestrians used the old General Sullivan Bridge. By September 2018 the old bridge was ruled unsafe and permanently closed to pedestrians and cyclists. The NHDOT recommended instituting a shuttle system in the interim while a new replacement for the General Sullivan bridge was designed, funded, and constructed. For obvious reasons, bicyclists and pedestrians considered it a poor solution. SABR rallied its membership and other stakeholders and advocated for an alternative approach. In August of 2019, as a result of these efforts, NHDOT created a protected bike lane along one of the existing Little Bay Bridge spans.
Portsmouth Middle Street/Lafayette Road Bike Lane
Originally designated as part of the City of Portsmouth’s Master Plan for improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, a section of Middle Street was identified as a candidate for a grant from the State’s “Safe Routes to School” program City’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Masterplan. Using these funds and some taxpayer money, the City created a corridor of designated bicycle lanes, which are buffered for safety and include bollards to alert drivers. SABR supported the project during the public planning process and hosted a grand opening event called “Pedalpalooza.” The festival included guided rides through the State of New Hampshire’s first protected bike lane.
Hampton Branch Rail Trail
Consultants for the NHDOT are currently designing the Hampton Branch Rail Trail. The project will create a rail trail which will become the backbone of the New Hampshire Seacoast Greenway. The trail will run from Barberry Lane in Portsmouth to the Marsh in Hampton. SABR provided matching funding in 2007 to begin work on the New Hampshire Seacoast Greenway.
“She Rides is a group of women who want to encourage other women to ride. The group organizes educational clinics, fun rides, advocacy and other activities. [Facebook, Twitter and Instagram links]
Acting as a parent organization, SABR established this project in 2013 as a free after-school program to teach children how to develop the riding skills needed for mountain biking in the woods. The program has since developed into its own highly successful 501(c)3 organization.
SABR spearheaded local implementation of the national Bicycle Benefits program. If you travel to local member businesses to shop and show them the sticker you purchased, you get a discount on your purchases.