This summer a Maine company will host bicycling trips guided by people who are fluent in sign language and have first-hand knowledge of the coast.

Summer Feet, which offers supported bike trips in New England and overseas, will provide two nationally certified sign-language interpreters for each trip. In 2010, those trips will be to Acadia National Park and other areas near Bar Harbor from Aug. 27-29; and Camden and neighboring communities during the weekend of Sept. 24-26.

“The communications barrier will be eliminated entirely,” said Alyssa Gagnon, a nationally certified interpreter in American Sign Language who has been involved in the New England bike scene for 11 years. “All of the information about the places we’re visiting and the bicycling advice offered will be direct from us, and not have to pass through a third-person interpreter.”

For a decade Summer Feet has offered assisted trips where the company takes care of logistics for participants. Summer Feet arranges for accommodations and food, as well as once-in-a-lifetime activities such as sunset cruises on a schooner along the Maine coast. The company also provides van support during the day so travelers don’t have to worry about transporting their luggage or fixing their bicycle if something breaks. This support frees participants to fully experience the stunning scenery of New Zealand, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and various locations in Maine.

“On just about every trip, we tailor the tour in some way to meet the needs of individuals,” said Norman Patry, founder of Summer Feet. “Sometimes it’s something small, like meeting dietary needs. Other times we provide help that’s more involved, like working with a blind person on a tandem bike or someone who requires special equipment to make the trip possible or enjoyable.

“This summer, we’re going to go a step beyond those efforts to offer something you just don’t find in the industry,” Patry said. “There aren’t many options for deaf people to experience outdoor activities with guidance from people who are both expert bicyclists and fluent in sign language.”

One reason that outdoor trips such as this one are so unusual is that there is a small population of people who are qualified guides and also fluent in sign language, said Gagnon, who will be spending her fourth season as a Summer Feet guide this summer. Gagnon has worked in deaf services for a decade.

On the first trip, participants will tour the dramatic, rocky coast of the Schoodic Peninsula, across the bay from Bar Harbor, and explore both the carriage roads and Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park. A wine-and-cheese reception, lobster dinner and lodging in the elegant Harborside Hotel will complement the bicycling.

The second weekend will take participants to the Camden Hills. Participants will cycle what Yankee Magazine called “The Prettiest Six Miles in Maine,” experiencing pristine Islesboro and exploring the Rockland area. A sunset sail of Penobscot Bay on a classic wooden schooner and fine dining in Camden also add to the appeal.

“Deaf people are just like anyone else,” said Gagnon. “They want to have a wonderful vacation, without complications. These weekends will allow deaf people to blend in and experience the beauty of Maine in the same way that other bicyclists do.”

Based in Portland, Summer Feet offers travelers assisted bicycle tours and the most authentic experiences available of beautiful locations in Maine, Canada and New Zealand. Summer Feet has a decade of experience in providing van support, knowledgeable guides and logistics for memorable bicycle vacations. For more information visit or call 866-857-9544.