Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Friday, December 16, 2016

Vermonster - Day 4 - what is that bright thing in the sky?

The final day of our four day tour left us wanting for more. More of this blue sky and sunshine, for sure. This was the weather we had hoped to have for the whole trip. But then the story wouldn't have been as interesting and the trip wouldn't have been as memorable!

We packed up and rolled out of our Airbnb and headed into Putney. Our first stop of the day was at the Co-op to get some (excellent) breakfast. Despite the second "B" in the name Airbnb, breakfast isn't part of the deal, due to regulations!

So it was into town for breakfast sandwiches and coffee. While waiting for our sandwiches, I took the time to do what I should have done the day before. I pulled out my iPad, remapped a section of route and reloaded it onto my GPS. One of the cool things about the Wahoo Elemnt GPS is you can wirelessly load routes from online tools like RideWithGPS. So while the Wahoo is missing the critical panning feature that makes changing your route on the fly easier, I have used the ability to alter a route online (mid-ride) using my tiny iPad and then re-upload to the Wahoo on more than one occasion, most notably when the original route proved too busy, or after taking a detour to somewhere interesting and then not wanting to backtrack. In this case, it was to avoid backtracking after breakfast.

Vermont is known for its covered bridges and we had several on each day. I'd like to say I planned to hit the ones we did, but it's actually hard not to see lots of them in Vermont.

While the conditions were not summer-like, it was mild enough that we were all wearing a layer or two less than previous days. I was finally making proper use of my frame bag, as it now was filled with my rain pants, jacket and heavy gloves. It had been almost empty most of the trip, as I was wearing all that gear.

Naturally SadiB found as many climbs as she could to finish us off... both figuratively and literally.

And the dirt roads did not disappoint.

We were thrilled to be able to ride through the Green River Covered Bridge. This bridge had been closed since mid-summer for major restoration work. This is the second time in the last few years that this bridge was closed during prime cycling season. On this occasion, the work was quite extensive and will hopefully last a while. It looks gorgeous. I'm thrilled at no longer having to do a long detour or getting my feet wet walking across the river at a ford.

Now while it was sunny, it was still cold enough that a wet crossing may have resulted in mutiny and SadiB would have been hung out to dry (or drowned, more likely). The Vermonsters put up with a lot on SadiB's route, but I don't think wading knee deep through a freezing river would have gone over too well!

Pamela enjoying the sunshine

Kait, looking none the worse for wear

Caleb, strong after hauling the kitchen sink through Vermont

It was while we were stopped at the bridge taking photos that I discovered Caleb had been carrying a bag full of gourmet peanut butter cups throughout the whole trip. We graciously helped lighten his load here, by finishing off these yummy chocolate treats.

John and I had planned to divert off route to Greenfield, while Kait and Caleb would continue further south toward Northampton. I, uh, I mean SadiB, had mapped out a route that climbed up to Apex Orchard and rolled up and down through Conway, but a mutiny of sorts occurred along River Road. "Hey, if you aren't climbing up to Apex... if you are taking the flat way back by the river, then so are we!"

So we enjoyed the nice gentle descent into Greenfield, where John pulled some great espresso drinks.

While waiting for the espresso machine to warm up, we had a weigh-in. My bike and gear came in the lightest at 38 pounds (winter clothes are heavier than what I toured with this summer), while Caleb's bike tipped the scales at more than 60. John and Kait's bikes were in the same range as mine.

I offered lifts down to Noho, but Kait and Caleb were still full of energy and raring to go so, after a quick coffee, they continued on their way south.

This was a pretty memorable trip, with some long days over tough terrain and in brutal conditions. This was Kait's first multi-day tour with gear. She just jumped right in the deep end! And survived!

I can't wait to see what's next, for Kait and the whole gang. Winter bike tour?!?!?


  1. You folks are amazing! For me, any ride involving > 2000' of climbing is pretty much epic. I am in awe. And the foliage photos + brilliant blue skies = nature at its finest. Well done!

    1. Thanks, Emily! I could cope with a little blue sky at the moment [he typed, as yet more snow blanketed the ground...]