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Sunday Funday on the Tandem


It was freakin’ cold yesterday morning! 46° (7 C) at 9 am. Thankfully, not much wind, though so it was bearable in knee warmers, arm warmers and a base layer under the jersey and plain old bibs.

I’d prepped the tandem the night before at my wife’s request and, for a change, I decided on mountain pedals and shoes instead of the road kicks.  Just on a fluke I thought, “hey, why not try shoes we can actually walk in, and we won’t have to worry about scuffing up the cleats when we stop”…What a difference!   I don’t imagine we’ll ever go back to road shoes. The mountain pedals were much better clipping into.

We started out a little fast, holding 20-mph into a decent breeze, but dialed it back when we opened up a little gap… because Sunday Funday. We picked up Phill, then Mike and Diane (a strong, married tandem couple we often ride with) and then Matt as we were heading north.

My wife and I didn’t come off the front for 35 miles and enjoyed every glorious, sunny mile. Into the wind, crosswind, tailwind, it didn’t matter. We just had fun and rode, plowing a path through the wind for our friends.  Mike and Diane rode alongside us so we talked back and forth the whole time. My wife and I also matched power better than ever before.  If you’d drawn up a playbook on how a Sunday Funday ride should go, this would be how it’d be done.  There was more talking going on behind us on that ride than I can ever remember.  It was perfect.

Matching power with my wife has always been a problem. I figure if my wife feels me pushing harder than she does, she’ll pick up her effort. Nope. She just does her thing and let’s me kill myself. Because I can be a knucklehead.

Another problem we solved was that my wife never had a speedometer. She just pedaled and had to guess how fast we were going (and she consistently guessed we were 2-mph faster than we were really going). Now that we both have Garmins and hers was hooked up to her bullhorn, she knew exactly how fast we’re going rather than guessing.  She was fantastically consistent and it was a huge relief.

My wife commented as we were heading home that she felt this was the best ride we’d ever had on the tandem. I agreed.

We pulled into the driveway with 43 miles and some change and I can tell you, that was enough. That was the capper for a fantastic 274 mile week and a 1,000+ mile May.

Life is good.

My buddy, Mike, says of riding his tandem with his wife, “I’ve said it a thousand times; a tandem  is either a marriage maker, or a divorce maker”.   I have to agree, and thankfully for us, after a lot of work on communication, it’s the former.  We decided yesterday to take the tandem for Sunday Fundays this year.


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