Our May tandem club ride was hosted by friends Jim & Charlotte who chose to follow the route used each year for the Rose Pedal Ride in Canton, Georgia. You can find some nice photos of the roads this ride uses at the Rose Pedal Website. It truly was a beautiful ride through Cherokee County, despite the 95° heat. Thankfully, last weekend’s Georgia Tandem Rally got us re-acquainted with the summer heat so it wasn’t nearly the shock that it could have been, and there was also quite a bit of shade along many parts of the ride. Again, just a beautiful route along some of the nicest, low-traffic roads you can find in the Atlanta Metro Area… easily on par with the Brewery / Beautiful Backroads Century ride that leaves from Cartersville, Georgia’s Budweiser Plant about 30 miles due west of Canton.
There was a nice turn out with nine (9) couples: Linda & Eric, Roger & Eve, Mike & Nancy, Paul & Jody, Roger & Aimee, John & Mitzi, Mark & Teresa Graves, our hosts Jim & Charlotte and of course yours truly and Debbie. It’s a shame we can’t lure out some of the more social riders who belong to PEACHES for these rides, as our friends Paul & Jody ended up doing the shorter loop alone while the rest of us did the middle distance of 46 miles… no one was game for the Metric. Our group of eight kind of jockeyed around a bit, falling into a variety of different smaller groups for the most part, with about 3 or four typically faster rides going off the front while 3 or four other riders would take it a bit easier off the back, and us falling into no-mans land in between: not strong enough to stay up front, but not smart enough to lay back and ride with our other friends: nothing new by the way.
Like a lot of the rides that we do west and north of Atlanta, this one was a never-ending string of lovely winding roads that constantly changed elevation. Dead-flat roads are a rare find as even the ones that look flat are typically a 1-2% up or down grade and, frankly, we prefer these kinds of roads to the more flat ones we can find further east and south of Atlanta.
With the exception of a suicidal squirrel that darted under John & Mitzi’s front & rear wheels and then turned around and ran under our rear wheel for good measure, it was a fairly uneventful but often times entertaining ride. Between the “awesomeness” of Teresa’s abilities as a stoker, to various other jokes, jabs and interesting anecdotes there was never a dull moment. The only other two items of note from the actual ride were an adjustment made to Roger & Eve’s tandem at our last scheduled stop of the day and then a flatted tire a few miles later on perhaps one of the nicest places we could think of to have a flat tire.
The first item of note, an adjustment to a Roger & Eve’s new Co-Motion Supremo, was mentioned in my last SRAM X.0 update a few posts back. As noted in that string of posts chronicling my experimentation with 9-speed and 10-speed SRAM rear derailleurs, adapters and Campagnolo 10-speed shifters, there are some combinations that work and others that don’t. The one we found to work early-on was the SRAM 9-speed rear derailleur + Jtek Shiftmate and that’s what I thought Roger & Eve had on their Co-Motion when we first saw it unveiled at the April PEACHES Ride. While we’ve done a few rides with Roger & Eve since then, we hadn’t spent a lot of time with them on the sections of the rides that put a high demand on shifting and were therefore unaware they were having shifting issues with the new bike until Roger mentioned it. I suspected they may have been having some similar pulley-walk to what we experienced with our Jtek… something that definitely throws off the shifting.
Anyway, I saw Roger tinkering with something on their tandem at our last planned store stop of the day — a stop at a store that was sadly closed, but that at least had a water spigot the owner said we could use — and asked him, “So, how’s the shifting?” Not good, or words to that effect were the response. Assuming they had the SRAM 9-speed, I showed Roger how to check his Jtek Shiftmate’s pulley alignment by having him shift the tandem into the highest rear gear (the 11t cog) and then rotating the Jtek so he could see where the flat spot on the pulley was vs. where it was supposed to be. However, while messing around with the Jtek I noticed it was also having an interference issue with the rear derailleur… something I hadn’t expected or seen with any of the other SRAM Jtek installations. As I looked closer I saw their SRAM X9 derailleur was a 10-speed model, not a 9-speed and that was the “Ahah!” moment we needed to get their tandem squared-away. After telling him the nature of the problem and my plan to fix it, I removed the pulley from the Jtek to take it out of the loop, if you will. After that it was a simple matter of pulling the now excess derailleur cable through the cable housing and re-adjusted the rear derailleur trim so we could fine tune the shifting. As expected, the shifting seemed to be nearly spot-on, although some fine tuning would be needed as the readjusted cable stretched a bit. Based on feedback from Roger, the shift was “100% better” after the change, although I suspect it needed to be tweaked just a bit. So, hopefully we’ve got that all sorted out as they’ll being riding their beautiful new Co-Motion the 391 miles from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia with about 800 other riders during the 32nd Annual Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) on June 4th – 11th.
The other item of note was a flatted tire on Mark & Teresa’s Co-Motion Periscope. Again, they couldn’t have picked a more picturesque place to have a flat than the quiet little country road we found ourselves on. There was lots of shade, it was just beyond a nice little downhill and short climb and zero traffic. Mark G. made a quick fix and we were off a short while later and, again, this was the place to have had a problem, as that was the last perfectly shady, zero traffic bucolic spot we saw like that. There were plenty of beautiful roads afterward, but none that was nearly as quiet, shady and relaxing.
As before, we ended up being the monkey in the middle of the two different ride groups but when we arrived back at our starting point we were somewhat surprised to find both the four tandems that had been in front of us were there as well as the three tandems that had been behind us; now how the heck did that happen? Turns out the trio got a little lost and somehow found a shortcut back to the starting point. I can’t think of too many times where we ever got lost on a bike ride that didn’t add a bunch of miles, and those were usually hilly miles. Go figure.
Following the ride we followed Jim & Charlotte on a scenic drive through the old part of Canton and made our way to the designated lunch stop: Provino’s Italian Restaurant in Canton. The entire lunch plan was nearly derailed when several of us took note of the 5-Guys Burger Joint just a few doors down from Provino’s. Hmmmm. Something about a big juicy burger & fries served up in about 10 minutes with free refills on sodas at your leisure just sounded perfect…. However, we resisted the urge and went on into Provino’s where we had a delicious lunch that was sure to induce a pasta-coma for the lucky folks who didn’t have to drive!
Just a great day!!