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Biking With Barack 

Published August 30, 2010 at 12:58 p.m.

"There's no way that was Michelle Obama." I had to twist around so my boyfriend biking behind me could better hear the argument. The presidential vacation was the furthest thing from our minds when Tim Ashe and I left Cape Cod last Friday for a day trip to Martha's Vineyard. We planned to cycle from Oak Bluffs to Gay Head, on the opposite end of the island — about 25 miles.

Halfway there, on a stretch of bike path surrounded on all sides by forest, we noticed an SUV coming toward us on the narrow ribbon of pavement. Lights on, New Hampshire plates. "Total idiots," was our shared assessment. We had to navigate around the vehicle — carefully avoiding the side mirrors — to get past the rig. 

About five minutes later, we passed the first bikers we'd seen in a while: an African American family… normal looking, except for the single white guy trailing behind them. "Whee," the mother exclaimed as they contemplated the steep downhill we were climbing. 

Once past them, I said to Tim, "God, everyone around here looks like Michelle Obama." Tim quickly concluded that we had just seen the First Lady, Sasha and two bodyguards. 

I was so busy disagreeing with him that I didn't even notice the oncoming entourage. Then I heard Tim intone, "Hi, Mr. President."  

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Paula Routly

Paula Routly

Paula Routly came to Vermont to attend Middlebury College. After graduation, she stayed and worked as a dance critic, arts writer, news reporter and editor before she started Seven Days newspaper with Pamela Polston in 1995. Routly covered arts news, then food, and, starting in 2008, focused her editorial energies on building the news side of the operation, for which she is a regular weekly editor. She conceptualized and managed the “Give and Take” special report on Vermont’s nonprofit sector, the “Our Towns” special issue and the yearlong “Hooked” series exploring Vermont’s opioid crisis. When she’s not editing stories, Routly runs the business side of Seven Days — overseeing finances, management and product development. She spearheaded the creation of the newspaper’s numerous ancillary publications and events such as Restaurant Week and the Vermont Tech Jam. In 2015, she was inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame.

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