Company Picnic Recap

Our company picnic and camp out took place last weekend and, as always, proved to be a fun opportunity to relax, and to appreciate the wonderful group we have here at Seven Cycles.  Harrisville, NH, was the perfect destination with the leaves already a brilliant red and the air cool and crisp.

photo 2

Some rode their bikes from Boston the morning of, including two who pedaled up on a beautiful road route complete with climbs, views, and a heavy duty collision with a chicken.  Another two chose an off road path, and over the course of a hundred miles never touched pavement outside of an occasional street crossing.

Others met in Harrisville and rode a mixed terrain loop, where it was learned that in New Hampshire, a rail trail is very much a trail next to rails, yielding a Stand By Me vibe for a portion of the ride.

A Knight without Armor
A Knight without Armor

A few took advantage of the local single track and couldn’t resist the fun of using the cable ferries to cross the Nubanusit Brook midway through the ride.

When you can't ride through it...
When you can’t ride through it…

No matter the route, the ride reports were the same, all smiles.

When the wheeled fun began to die down, people made their way to the host site.  Homemade chili, Pete’s mastery of the grill, and award winning brownies from Mayfair Farm were on hand and available throughout the afternoon and well into the evening.  There was music and laughter, and before long, two glowing fire pits.  We had planned for cold, but the fires were powerful enough to keep us warm long into the night, so long as we kept our feet close to the heat.

Tents popped up, or in some cases, were assembled by a team of five utilizing duct tape, splints, and a five year old’s knife.  Cobbler was introduced to much fanfare.  Before long everyone was around the fire cracking jokes, sharing stories, and genuinely enjoying each other’s humor and company.

Some hang, others set up tents.
Some hang, others set up tents.

As the hours passed, people drifted off and headed for their tents, the wood-stove warmed barn, or the house.  A few dedicated fire goers stayed up past midnight, with only the most uproarious laughter carrying through the tent walls of those who wished they had the will power to stay up long enough to have heard the punchline.

Plenty of Heat
Plenty of Heat

Crickets, frogs, and birds filled the morning airwaves, and as soon as people began to rustle, coffee was made.  No alarms were set, but people woke up early anyhow.  Awaiting them, a most picturesque, mist covered swamp.

Morning on the "swamp," as seen from a bivy sack.
Morning on the “swamp,” as seen from a bivy sack.

It wasn’t intentional, or even needed, but sitting around a camp fire and camping out is a fun way to make a big group of co-workers feel like one big family.  We’d be seeing everyone the very next day at the factory, but it was still hard to say goodbye after such a fun weekend.

Packed up.
Packed up.

Two Hour Loop

Normally I’d bail on an afternoon ride at the end of October if I knew I had to be back in time to shower and dress in order to make the three o’clock shuttle.  That’s too much pressure.  In Vermont, however, a few weeks past peak foliage is still a feast for the eyes.  My girlfriend and I were in Burlington for a friend’s wedding, and brought bikes on the off chance we could squeeze in a leaf peeping jaunt prior to the festivities.  Midday Saturday presented us with about two hours of down time, so we decided to take advantage even if we had to hurry.

We suited up and shoved off, traveling south towards Mt. Philo.  A few miles out of town and the hills began to roll.  Red and yellow may have been lacking but orange made up for their departure in grand form, blanketing everything that wasn’t Lake Champlain with the rusty colors of autumn.  With each up we’d get a postcard worthy view, albeit brief, before careening back down.  Over and over again.  The higher we climbed, the better the view.  By the time we reached the base of the mountain, it seemed like we could see the entire valley.  We weren’t craving any more climbing, so when the park ranger explained that the road to the top was closed for a car race, we decided to ride around it instead.  The extended loop meant I might not have time to iron my shirt, but I had a sweater I could wear over it, so we carried on.  A few farms, hundreds of cows, and a covered bridge later, we were on the way back to the hotel.

A powerful tail wind helped our time crunch and had us back in just enough time to swap Lycra for dress clothes.  I’m writing this down to serve as a lesson for me, and any of you who also opt to sit out short rides, because in just two hours we had a ride I’ll remember for a lifetime.

burlington 2