|Al and Yours Truly near the finish of the Great Adventure 112k|
Recently, Al and I were riding a 200k permanent with a group of local rando's. Two of the bikes on the ride were tandems. While watching the tandem riders efficiently work their way around the route I mentioned to Al that maybe we should be riding one of those. I'm not sure I was even serious when I said it, but somehow we both kind of got interested in the idea. Two weeks later we were at a tandem store in southern New Jersey taking test rides. We came back that day with a bright red Burly tandem. After a few rides of distances up to 40 miles we became more acclimated to this new style of riding. We were comfortable trying something a bit longer so we decided to ride the Great Adventure 112k Permanent.
We started out at 10am the Friday of President's weekend. Katie would join us on the ride with her single bike. The day turned out to be one of the warmest of the year with a high temperature close to 70 degrees. We managed to make it to Jackson and back with time to spare. It was only the second time the route had been ridden since being approved as a permanent. We were 10 minutes faster than the first time. Although, we would both have some aches and pains to show for it. I always find that any new bike requires some getting used to. However, the tandem seems more challenging than most. Despite that there were times we were flying along the flat route. At one point Al and I stopped at a bike shop while Katie continued to ride. After stopping for twenty minutes we managed to catch back up to her in about ten miles. We were managing over 30 mph on flat road some of the time. Not unlike my prior recumbent experience the tandem has its strong points. On flats, down hills and light rolling terrain it is a lion. But, rather timid on steep up hills We are quickly discovering the nuances of the bike, having become more efficient at starting, stopping and standing in unison. For sure there is much potential for fun and accomplishment. As a first step we are planning on a tandem 200k brevet in April. With a goal of a sub 10hr finish time. Besides that there is no long term goal other than to enjoy the experience.
|Katie cruising on the return from Jackson, NJ on the Great Adventure|
|The stoker's view|
I see tandem riding as an exercise in team work requiring communication, coordination and cooperation from both riders. Male tandem teams are somewhat rare. Mel, the owner of the shop where we purchased the bike told us most are sold to couples. I clearly remember the Lon Haldeman, Pete Pensyres US crossing record that was set over twenty years ago on a tandem. That record still stands today. It seems efficient to me that two guys who set out on the same long ride, intending to ride together, do so on the same bike.