WATERVILLE, Maine — The seventh Bike Maine Tour is taking riders from Waterville to the coast and back over the next week.

Four hundred and fifty riders filled the field by last December. The most significant statistical change in this year's group is that just 25% of the riders are from Maine.

"It's good. It's hilly!" exclaims Dr. Jeffrey Sloan, a dentist who now lives in Bethel. He is riding in his fourth Bike Maine and comes back because of the people.

This theme is reflected among most of the field.

"Volunteers make this possible," says Will Etling who is Ride Director.

In each community, local service organizations are paid to put on meals for the touring bikers.

This years ride will visit 35 communities. Fifty-six percent of the field are repeat riders. Fifty-five percent are males.  

Organizers try to keep the tour on back roads in order to not create a traffic hazard and so the riders can see true Maine.