Welcome to the official, chaotic launch of Riding Hills for Hillary!!!
It all began when Jamie screeched in from Boston to attach panniers and pedals to his bike for the first time. After a heroic effort by our illustrious volunteer pit crew (shout out to Jerry Bird, Stu Levenson, Marc Daudon, Grace Bird, Maud Daudon, and Donna Levenson!), it was determined that the crank was completely threaded and his pedals could not be attached, leaving his bike unrideable. Luckily, Stu and Donna (our generous hosts the previous evening) had a touring bike they were willing to let Jamie use for the day, and pit crew all-star Grace Bird fixed the bike pedals and transported the bike to our final destination for the day. First crisis averted, thank the stars!
Although it has been a particularly dry summer for New England, we were fortunate enough to have Hurricane Hermine arrive just in time to moisten our departure. From the Levenson’s House we set out into the drizzle to New Castle Commons Beach for the inaugural dip of our bikes into the Atlantic Ocean. Although we elected to dip the bikes, not the bodies, into the fine ocean, Ben picked up the award for wipe-out of the day by pulling an accidental acrobatic hop/quasi handstand over the bike and into the Atlantic Ocean. Marvelous work, Ben!
After power-washing our bikes with squeeze water bottles and saying a fond farewell to the parentals, Ben, Mere and Jamie set out to find Mike Bienkowski, our long lost fourth member rumored to be somewhere near the general store in Newfield, NH. Turns out he was actually making friends with the store owners, who took our photo and gave us some granola for our soggy journey.
The rest of the day was smooth, yet wet and windy, sailing across the highways, byways, and backroads of eastern New Hampshire, with only one flat tire (score 1 for Mere). We were definitely traveling through Trump-leaning territory, complete with Trump yard-signs and a homemade bumper sticker reading “Obama Blows.” There were also many signs for a local Senate candidate whose motto was “Cut the Spending,” and for another candidate who identified himself as the “Tax Fighter.” Live Free or Die, New Hampshire!
When we arrived at Mere’s high school alma-mater, St. Paul’s school for the young, wise, and brave (seriously, look at this place on Google Images), Grace Bird (pit crew all-star again) took us out on the Concord town to pick up burritos (two each, yes) and then dropped us off for a lovely dip in Turkey Pond, which may or may not classify as a lake. We even saw the sun for the first time that day just as it was setting.
We now write from the cherry-wood paneled Alumni House full of rare editions of classic books bound in ancient leather. Not a shabby spot to end up for the first night, except for the CRAPPY wifi slowing our blogging roll. (You’d think at an institution like this…)
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Concord canvassing adventures!
Ben, Jamie, Meredith, and Mike
Total Mileage: 57.3
Total Time: 5 hours and 45 minutes
Flat tires: 1
Fallen off chains: 1
Burritos consumed: 8
Spills: 2 (Meredith got runner up for spill of the day when she forgot to unclip her pedals at a stop light).
Saturated socks: 2/person
Swim of the day: completed
Max Speed: Grizzly Bear (34.7 mph)