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A Perfect Tandem Capper to a Fantastic Weekend On the Bike and Off…

April 2021
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My wife and I were back at Sunday Funday on the tandem yesterday. I prepped the bike early, and outdoors for once (this early in the season I will often wheel it into the house to get it ready because it’s too cold to want to bother with it outside). We were set to roll at 9am with a light breeze from the northwest and abundant sunshine. It was a little cool, around 47 degrees (8 C), but the sun warmed things up quickly and nicely. We rolled north, a route we normally reserve for northerly winds and Sundays (it’s a little busy most Saturdays). After a grand 50 miles Saturday, my wife and I were both in the mood for Sunday Funday where we keep the pace a little light so everyone can have a good time. While my wife and I can keep up with a 20-mph average on the tandem, that’s a lot of work and neither of us enjoy that much. However, 17-18-1/2-mph is right in our wheelhouse. At that pace, we work together well – and I mean impressively well – and we provide an attractive ride for those who like it a little faster but don’t want to have to push a 20-mph average (it takes 22-24-mph to end up with a 20-mph average).

We rolled out into the wind, a whole gaggle of us… and we picked up more on the road as we went. Though we had a flat to contend with early on, maybe four miles in. Someone failed to point out a pothole that you could see Australia through and Chuck hit it dead-center. We all stopped, eleven of us by this time (and every one of us at some stage of vaccination – whether fully or partially) and waited for the flat to be fixed. I texted three others that there was a flat to fix and we’d be a little late getting to them. They replied that all was well and they’d see us when we got there.

We rolled out again after five or six minutes… and the second tandem dropped their timing chain a half-mile later. Now, timing chains are notoriously difficult to re-install because the tension is supposed to be quite tight on the chain… of course, if the chain is tight enough you can’t get it on, you shouldn’t be able to drop it. Theirs was a little loose because of a concentric crank manufacturing issue that makes their difficult to properly tighten, so it was a perfect bump at exactly the wrong time and they were on the side of the road, trying to get it back on the rings.

That took another couple of minutes. We soft-pedaled and stopped for 30 seconds till they caught up. And that was the last problem of the day. We formed into a tight group and headed into the wind. Normally Jess and I take most of the headwind, but yesterday we decided to share the wealth and rotate through the group a little more often. We picked up Dave & Sherry on their tandem and Greg on his new gravel bike and struck out to see the world.

What followed was one of the most tremendous tandem rides I’ve ever experienced with my wife. We matched almost perfectly and we did a lot of talking when we weren’t hammering to keep pace. There were at least a dozen times I was overcome by the glorious feeling that I’m the luckiest guy in the world to be riding on that tandem with my wife.

Dave and Sherry are a 30-year tandem team and they are phenomenal on their Co-Motion Macchiato. I’ve never seen anything like it… they come up to a hill and Dave says, “Up”, and on the next pedal stroke their both out of the saddle climbing like they’re on single bikes. Jess and I tried that once and had to sit back down immediately. We have tried with Jess out of the saddle and me seated and that works a little better. Anyway, they were up front a lot and we rode their wheel quite happily.

Before we knew it we had 23 miles in and it was time to head home. Chuck is under strict orders from his heart doc to “try two or three miles” but don’t go crazy with 50… so 48 miles is the limit. Runners and cyclists are a funny bunch and doctors rarely “get” us. Also, my wife and I like to keep our jaunts on the tandem to 40 miles or we start getting a little sore in the backsides. However, and this will get it’s own post, after our last ride on the tandem, I switched to my Venge to ride my buddy Mike home and I could feel the height difference between the Venge and tandem immediately – the Venge was a good 2-mm higher. I decided to raise the Co-Motion’s saddle the 2-mm and it turned out to be absolutely freaking glorious. The first time I’d ever been over 35 miles on the tandem that I wasn’t wishing for a short stop.

We made it a fantastic 46-1/2 miles and, while I was definitely tired, I had a wide smile stretched across my face we pulled into the driveway. I’d never had so much fun on the tandem.

The weather was fantastic all day and, after a quick nap, we had a cycling club board meeting and then I went to play some tennis with my daughters.

We had hamburgers for dinner and watched Captain Marvel after, before I retired while Mrs. Bgddy was working on some cycling club business. I was off to sleep within ten seconds of my head hitting the pillow. This weekend was as good as they get. No noodle salad this time, but plenty of good times.


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