KINGFIELD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – As 400 cyclists readied to embark on their third day of the Bike Maine Ride, they were awoken by a unique sound Tuesday.
The whistle of a 1910 Stanley Steamer roared through the field where the bikers were camping. The fully steam-powered automobile was invented by F.O. and F.E. Stanley back in 1897.
The history of the twins brothers were born in the small town. Today, their inventions, including dry plates use for photography, are captured in the town’s Stanley Museum.
"This is the only Kingfield in the U.S.,” Sue Davis said. “There is one in England though."
Davis founded the museum back in 1981 and has since been captivated by the feat of engineering. She even learned how to fully operate the vehicle, getting the pilots lit to produce steam—a task that is a major undertaking.
"I first thought, ‘Holy cow that's really complex,”" biker Jim Gallatin said as he hopped in the back seat of the Stanley.
Gallatin and Mackin Pulzifer both woke up early to see the steamer in action before hitting the road for the 54 mile ride to Rangeley. It is there third year taking part in Bike Maine.
"The best Bike Maine of the three I've been to and this is by far the coolest thing I've seen,” Gallatin said.
“Bike Maine is a wonderful organization,” Pulzifer said. “Bringing people to rural Maine parts of Maine that often the tourism industry doesn't get to."
The two bikers were able to discover a truly unique part of history, through a sport that in many ways ways helped paved the way for the automobile.
"Bicycles of course are a very important part of automotive history as well,” Davis said. “The Good Roads Association was started because of bicyclists."
And whether it's two wheels or four, hard work can have a big reward.
"It's a sense of accomplishment of being able to master a difficult thing,” Davis said. “But it’s fun.”
The bikers are set to stay in Rangeley Tuesday night where they will stay for a rest day on Wednesday.