Why so few postings here at The TandemGeek’s Blog?
I sometimes get notes from long-time readers who wonder why I don’t post more often. They remember when I wrote about broader topics and then, when I limited my posts to things that were pretty much focused only on cycling and tandems, I’d occasionally post a summary of posts from my other blog. Checking back, I guess I haven’t posted one of those since July 2017. We’ll, I’m not going to post a summary of nearly 9 months of posts which is to say I’m still doing a lot of writing on that other blog.
In part, it’s because my other blog serves two purposes: one is providing me an outlet for motorcycling related content, but the other is hosting a weekly journal that I primarily write to share with my mother so she can see photos and learn a bit more than she’d get from our weekly phone calls. No, at 90, she’s not tech savvy so reading the content on-line doesn’t work: I print out the weekly journal and mail the hard copy to her. We also gave her and my step-dad a wifi enabled Nixplay digital picture frame where we post photos of our own, as well as those my sisters, my mother’s brother and his kids and Bill’s son share out on Facebook. Whatever it takes, right?
Riding Two Up
Here’s an example of the kind of stuff that you’ll find in the weekly journal, as this is what I’ll most likely print and send off to my mother for this week’s installment.
It was pretty much a typical weekend for us with an occasional Friday night out at a bar for live music and dancing, and a tandem ride on Saturday and/or Sunday if the weather cooperates and we have a free couple of hours.
Of late we’re spending more time at home on weekends than we previously did. That’s in part because the weather has improved enough to let us enjoy our outdoor living space. As I move into retirement at the end of June you can bet most of our afternoons will wrap up with cocktails on the breezeway during the spring, summer and fall!
Something else we’re also beginning to embrace is having friends over for dinner rather than meeting at local restaurants and bars. It’s a lot more relaxing, it costs a lot less since we all enjoy a few adult beverages over the course of an evening and if we over-do there are spare bedrooms and no one has to Uber home if they don’t feel like it. And, since Sunday was mother’s day, we also had the kids and grandkids by for lunch.
So, as you can see, all-in-all it’s probably not that different from what everyone else does once you add in yard work, washing cars, doing laundry, making minor home repairs, doing a little home banking, keeping up with Email and texts on work-related topics and developing plans for future weekends.
A Tandem@Hobbes Moment: My Tandem Rally Blog Entry
So, getting back to cycling, I hope readers enjoyed the “discussion stimulator” that I posted regarding tandem rallies; I found it bringing back fond memories of the great “discussions” I was part of at Tandem@Hobbes for so many years. As I noted, when we were down in Daytona back in March and then in Panama City Beach last week for “bike week” events I could clearly tell that attendance was off. Moreover, as I looked around at the various different venues I could clearly Debbie and I at 60ish were right in the middle of the bell curve for the average age of the folks at the rallies. Right on the heels of that I received a couple of Emails regarding the Southern Tandem Rally (STR) and as we checked our schedule for October to make sure we wouldn’t have to choose between our 6th grandchild’s due-date, the fall motorcycle rallies and STR I was reminded the average age of folks who attend tandem rallies has also been creeping up: we can remember when we were the youngsters at our late 30’s some 20 years ago. And, as I’ve noted before, the growing number of retiree’s who attend rallies have caused organizers to find ways to provide stretch the length of rallies to make long-drives to the rallies easier to swallow, even if it means an extra night or two at the hotel or perhaps spending a night with friends. The added nights and added events clearly come at an added cost; it’s just the way it works. And, again… this parallels what we see with motorcycle rallies. Instead of spending just 2-3 nights in a 3 star hotel for $600 – $900 (yes, you pay a premium during bike weeks), being retired means you can find other folks who can spend a few more nights at the rally and team up to rent a condo or home for a week for the same or less $$. Yes, we end up eating out a few extra days, so there’s no real net savings. But, it does make the trip a bit more leisurely and the long ride home easier to deal with: the ride down, those are the best! Something about the destination and anticipation I suspect.
Tandem Cycling Stuff
While we couldn’t carve out the time needed to make the 1.4 hour drive out to Madison, Georgia, for the May PEACHES (aka, Tandem Club of Georgia) ride, we were able to get out for a nice 1.5 hour-long / 25-mile tandem ride from the house on Saturday afternoon after spending the morning doing yard work. The weather couldn’t have been nicer with temps in the upper 80’s, low humidity, lots of sun and a light breeze. Well, OK: to be fair, it felt pretty darn hot! It’s been a long time since we’ve had temps in the upper 80’s here in Georgia, so our heat resistance was pretty low. But, again, the low humidity helped the sweat evaporate quickly which helped to keep us cool. In a few more weeks we’ll have 90° humidity to go with those high 80’s / low 90°F temps and nothing evaporates with that kind of weather, other than any interest in riding any later than noon!!
In one bright spot, my right elbow has remained pain-free since the cortisone shot on 23 April. Ever since I was rear-ended on my Honda F6B back on 21 November my back and left elbow have remained a bit problematic whereas the big concern at the time of the accident was a possible scaphoid fracture in my left hand. The left hand got better, but the back and elbow just didn’t want to recover. My back was simply tight from the trauma and there was some fluid along my lower spine that wasn’t supposed to be there that have given me a lot of discomfort which is just now letting up. However, my right elbow gained an instant case of Golfer’s elbow in the accident that physical therapy and steroid have not been able to address. So, I finally gave in and took a cortisone shot that has pretty much worked… so far. Just this weekend I’ve been getting a bit of discomfort right on my elbow, so this next week will be important. If the ligaments are still inflamed then we can try two more cortisone shots before minor surgery may be needed. Fingers crossed, I’d really like to avoid that.
As mentioned, we received a note regarding STR last week and this weekend we received a wake-up call from The Georgia Tandem Rally, which is a mere 11 days away. Guess I’ll need to call the hotel and confirm how many nights we booked for; geez, I do hope we booked a room: couldn’t find the reservation confirmation (yes, we’re booked: just checked). But, yes… 11 days until we head to Athens for our 20th Georgia Tandem Rally. Hard to believe Roger and Eve have been doing this for that long. Clearly, setting aside some of the events put on by people in the tandem business, this has to be the longest running privately-organized annual tandem rally. The only thing that organizers can’t control is the weather, so we’ll look to mother nature to be kind to us and give us warm, dry weather. We’ll be taking the triplet and teaming up with Lisa Davis for GTR, looking forward to that! We cherish our time at tandem rallies and really enjoy our time on the triplet with Lisa.
Count Down Clocks
Speaking of count-downs, there are two others that are clearly on my mind. In one day I’ll be 58 years old and in 46 days — after 34 years — I’ll be retiring from Lockheed. From a working days standpoint, there are only 29 more get-ups so I’ve already started to clean-out my office just to remove any doubt about my intent to follow-through with this significant milestone.
I’ve never retired before, never mind never taking anything longer than a 2-week vacation, so this is going to be a big change for us. We plan to do some traveling in July, 1st to celebrate my retirement. Then, noting we’ll celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in 64 days, we’ll be taking some time to get away from it all. Once we’re back home, I’ll cut the lawn and then we’ll head off to Pennsylvania to visit my folks for a week or so.
When August rolls around I’ve got a couple of home projects that I’ve been putting off until I’d have enough days-off in a row to knock them out since at least one of them will be really disruptive: tearing out the shower stall in our master bath. And, in and amongst all of those activities I plan to be hitting the exercise room every morning and getting out on a bicycle as often as possible — mostly with Debbie on the tandem — as we work to rebuild our base miles and get back into proper form for cycling.
We’re also considering a possible change in housing, but that will be one of our big retirement projects, i.e., figuring out where, when, etc. As much as we love our home, our neighborhood has gotten a bit tired and home values have stagnated. We probably should have moved about 15 years ago, but as I said… we really do love our home. So, that decision and related planning will be right at the top of the list. I doubt we’ll move out of the area, as Debbie likes being close to the kids so they can visit and so she can help out as needed. With a 4th granddaughter on the way in October, you can imagine why. Ideally, I’d like to find a small patch of land and build a home with a large outbuilding to suit our needs but with all of the urban sprawl around us there’s not much in the way of affordable land left close-in. So, who knows what we’ll find. But, as I said, that’s our first big project and who knows, we might just hang-in here a little longer.