“Guys, I see a church over in that town. I bet we can buy beer there.” I exclaimed.
“A church doesn’t mean much around here…”
Fair enough. But the three of us we were thirsty. We turned right off of the bike path that ran along the river, and crossed the old foot bridge that lead into town.
It became clear that we would not find beer after the first turn. The smooth asphalt path down from the bridge turned first into rough cobble, and then inexplicably in the middle of town became deep sand. We biked the margin between the lawns of houses and the sand, bumping along the narrow path of rough stone. I cursed my thin racing tires.
We entered the main square, where the road improved. The church really was grand. It embarrassed the rest of town.
“Whoa, the wind just changed”
“Yeah, I think all of these big brick houses are just full of livestock.”
A horse snorted. We nodded, grimacing from the stench. As we completed our circuit of the church, two boys on bikes that were a bit large for them were coming the other way. I instinctively put on my mean guy face, crouched low in a racing pose, and made threatening bike gang type motions towards the kids. They reacted slowly, in shock. They passed before I could soften the message with a smile or something. So much for international relations.
Anyway, we had seen the church, and we weren’t getting beer, so we headed out of town. But before we could make the bridge: Zoom - Zoom. Zoom… Zoom! Four bolts of lighting flew by us. The two boys had found reinforcements and they were not going to be bullied in their own town. They circled back and showed us their health and biking prowesses by executing a series of stunts. Wheelies! Peeling out on gravel! Sprints over the bridge and back! Close swerves! We labored up the hill with our heavy packs and our tired, beerless bodies as these whirling dervishes made clear who the real bike gang was in this town.
Suitably dominated, we waved good-bye as we rejoined the bike path headed north. The demon gang waved back as they monitored our progress out of town from the opposite river bank.
And stay out!