The story of today centers around our crew riding to the Red Hen Bakery and spending an hour or two there. Not because the bakery was particularly interesting, not to devalue it, the Red Hen Bakery very much upholds the highest standard of Vermont’s artisanal tradition. But I wouldn’t say there was anything particularly standout about it. Rather, it was standing out that we were avoiding, in the sense that the last thing we wanted to do was be caught standing out in the rain that was falling like a waterfall outside, and none of us wanted to ride in the rain. Sometimes it can be fun; a good portion of us are from Portland and 3/4s of the year if you want to pedal you’re doing it in a shower. So we lounged around in the Red Hen, we paid for our time in extra coffees additional baked goods, we caught up on the news, we ‘grammed, we shared our hopes that the rain would stop soon.
Eventually we just sucked it up and rode into Montpelier. Benedict had originally planned a route for us that would take us over another lesser gap. But this idea was unanimously rejected. Instead, we took a quiet river road back into Montpelier. In what I believe is true Vermont fashion, the first thing we saw once we entered the city was a group of portly naked old men aboard beach cruisers. Was it beautiful? No, no it wasn’t, at least not in the traditional sense. But just because something isn’t beautiful doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stare at it. And stare we did. We couldn’t help it. Neither could you have, if you were there—I challenge you. While we were ogling a car pulled up alongside of us, “What are they protesting, do you know?” What were they protesting? We didn’t know; was it age, gender or orientation bias, cultural norms, pants, eyes? We didn’t know. The volume was loud but the message was garbled, the visual analog of standing inside the amplifiers at a happy happy hardcore rave. The noise was too big, it crushed any attempt at content. It was only after they turned a corner that we were able regain some sense of self-consciousness.
“What had just happened? Where were we? What is this magical kingdom?”
Our day wasn’t quite over. We still needed to find a ride back to Brattleboro to pick up our van. You see, Patrick needed to catch a plane early the following morning and a train wasn’t going to cut it. We had made Craigslist postings and hollered at friends but so far nothing had turned up. Rolling through town I stopped in a local bike shop and met a fantastic young man by the name of George Valentine who agreed to drive me down to Brattleboro in exchange for a small fee and dinner. George, we are forever in your debt. The next day we’d load up, drop Patrick in Hartford, head back to Old Saybrook so Benedict could exchange his wheelset and then high tail it to State College, Pennsylvania.