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Daily Archives: May 30, 2016

Tandemonium Pt. III: A Continuing Lesson in Communication

After sucking a tandem’s wheel all weekend long, Mrs. Bgddy and I took ours out for what was supposed to be an easy recovery ride – 30 miler.

Recovery ride pace on our tandem is probably around 17 mph, about the same as the single bikes, maybe a shade faster.

After a wonderful 155 miles over the last two days down in Kentucky on terrain vastly more hilly that we’re used to, a good recovery day seemed the perfect way to cap a wonderful long Holiday weekend.  With vast amounts of sunshine and a perfect 65 degrees in the morning, a day off a bike was absolutely out of the question.

The first mile was at recovery pace.

The second mile and the 29-1/2 that came after were something other than recovery. We ended up finishing with a 19.2 mph average.

I learned quite an interesting lesson on the tandem today. While I am strong enough to make the bike go faster, without my wife helping, I’m not strong enough to will us along for very long. We have to work together. For the first half of the ride I figured I’d try to help the process, whereby my wife would simply know when to push a little harder by seeing body language rather than an actual use of words. It didn’t go well. I did get a hell of a workout in, on the plus-side.

The second half, after a constructive talk, went much better. We were cruising easy between 21 & 23 mph and I wasn’t working near as hard as I had to for the first half. We seemed to hit a band of effort where we were working together and cycling got a lot better in a hurry.

The truth is, as with most things related to cycling, I want the payoff – speed – to materialize without having to figure out the intricacies.  On a solo bike, this is quite simple.  You just pedal harder and faster.  On a tandem, where I have to rely on my wife to work with me when her goals differ slightly from mine (my wife wants to be fast too, sure, but she wants to enjoy riding the bike first – which means my trying to power through every little change in elevation presents a conflict).

One thing I can say for certain, I’m glad my wife and I are where we are in our marriage now, opposed to trying a tandem 15 years ago…  With a solid foundation of love and understanding beneath us that only came with time, experience and acceptance, learning to work together on a bike is a lot easier than learning to work together in a marriage.


The Cycling Road Trip: Food, Fun and Friends (and LOTS of Miles)

My wife and I dropped off the kids at my mom’s house Friday morning and hit the road for Georgetown, Kentucky, our second year on what has become a “can’t miss” road trip in our cycling season.


We were meeting our usual Horsey Hundred friends Diane and Adam, Mike and Chuck. This year, Matt and his wife, Barb came down.


For the Saturday ride Matt, Mike and my wife did the 100k because Mike’s hamstring was bugging him. My wife had to be talked into the 100k, she’d intended on doing the 40-something mile route while Matt was more than happy with 100k…

Diane, Adam, Chuck and I were in for the full Century (102 miles).

The ride starts in Georgetown, goes through Frankfort (as you can see) and loops back around past the Jim Beam distillery (heh again) before heading back to Georgetown. Not before hitting several mountain passes, however. While the climbs weren’t huge or long enough to be all that tough, I’d say roughly 2% of the hundred two miles is on actual, real, flat ground. The rest you’re either going up or down. It is not an easy century. It is exceptionally beautiful, fun, fast (at times – we hit 45+ mph many times) and takes place on the best road surfaces I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding. We ended up completing the course in 5h:40m but the last two miles were slowed by all of the other routes converging and a huge amount of cycling traffic… We had an 18.2 mph average as we passed 100 miles on the nose.

The $70 entry fee covers dinner after the big ride and they put on a decent spread that included some of the best noodle salad (heh) I’ve ever eaten, some bullshit quinoa slop that I skipped for obvious reasons, pulled BBQ chicken sammiches, stir fry and an excellent salad bar. We ate well and rehydrated.

Later, we all went out for a late afternoon snack and got together again that evening for ice cream at Culver’s. Falling asleep that night was easy, even in the hotel bed.

Then came the Sunday ride. We were all together for that, except Matt and Barb who chose to ride later and shorter than the 53 mile route we chose.


At the start line...

We rolled out at 7:15 am. The Sunday route is a lot easier as far as climbing goes and Diane and Adam took it a little slower. The pace was perfect for an enjoyable Sunday ride. I was even able to snap a few photos between hills.



Truthfully I was amazed at how soon we were done. Just under three hours and they were among the most enjoyable 50 miles I’ve ever ridden. Plenty of hills, lots of tight, fast corners that required technical cornering skills and a perfect pace. Just five tenths of a mile per hour slowly than Saturday’s century. I was actually bummed that it was all over.

Lunch following the ride was also included in the entry fee, so we showered in the college locker room, changed into street clothes, ate a magnificent lunch and headed home.


Road trips are, undeniably, one of the coolest aspects of cycling and something that every cyclist should try, provided you have the friends in the first place. There’s just something amazingly special about sharing effort over a lot of miles with a tight group of friends, then refueling with them, sharing stories and laughs about the day’s ride.