While we didn’t attend this year’s Midwest Tandem Rally at Ann Arbor, Michigan, some 355 other folks did. A bit down from the 470 that attended MTR ’10 in Shipshewana, Indiana.
We have been fortunate enough to receive and see some reports from the field. We’re still keeping an eye out for photo galleries and other artifacts from this year’s event and will update as they begin to appear.
We also thought we’d summarize some of what we’ve seen in the way of some post-rally comments and then conclude with a guest contribution submitted by our friend Richard D. from the great state of Indiana.
MTR’11’s Facebook Photo Gallery (a bit thin at the moment)
- I have never ever seen so many tandems I one place, it was a real joy.
- We had a ball. Some totally fast tandem pace-line action, and some totally fun interactions. When the 20+ team pace-line was going down that curvy descent and the spontaneous “Yahoo” erupted, we knew we were in our element.
- Hard to know how to describe what 350+ tandems in one place feels/looks like. Wow!
- We were awestruck at all of the many and varied tandems and tandem teams. It was truly a new experience for us, one that we plan to enjoy again.
- The ride was great, the food was delicious and the people are wonderful.
- The evening meal on Saturday night far exceeded our expectations, is that normal. The workshops were very good, we learned a lot in the one about components.
- The weather was good, food was good, meeting up with tandem friends was great, but the roads and traffic in Ann Arbor left a lot to be desired.
- Saturday was U of M’s first home game. The “Big House” has been expanded to hold 110,000. It was also move in weekend. So, it was a perfect storm for traffic around Ann Arbor.
- (Paraphrasing) Some of the motorists in and around Ann Arbor seemed a bit less than tolerant and polite.
Guest Contributor Rally Report:
Our MTR began with a glitch. On Thursday morning I discovered a serious break in our “Sweet 16” rear wheel. A condition I would learn later that’s becoming increasingly common. Finding a rear wheel to fit a Santana isn’t an easy thing to do. But fortunately for us, we were going to Ann Arbor and staying about a mile from Mid West Bike and Tandem. The owner there, Joel Hakken, could not have been more accommodating. He opened an hour early on Friday morning, loaned us a wheel, moved the disc brake to it and mounted it. So, on Friday afternoon, we were ready for the Ice Cream ride. My stoker and that of a good friend decided they were not interested in 19 miles in 95+ degree heat….. So, for the first time in close to 30 years of being a captain, I became a stoker, an eye-opening experience!
This was our third MTR but I never get used to seeing 300 or more tandems at the same time. Joel Hakken was also this year’s MTR Director. He gave the pre-ride talk on Saturday morning. We were serenaded by the Ann Arbor Bike Choir. They closed with “A Bicycle Built for Two”. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Even at 9:00 AM. Saturday’s ride was plenty warm… The SAG stops were well stocked with fresh fruit, salty snacks and fluids. Lunch at a park near Kent Lake was great. There were no problems distributing the pre-chosen sandwiches and cookies. It did not cool off for the ride back. After a shower, a visit to the vendors and attendance at a seminar about bike GPS, we were off to the picnic. I have never seen such a selection of food!!! I found myself in carnivore heaven with two whole roast pigs! But it was during the picnic the weather took a nasty turn. A serious storm hit Ann Arbor around 6:00 PM, bad enough the U of M football game was halted before the end of the third quarter. Power was lost at the Holiday Inn briefly. The temperature dropped sharply.
Sunday morning dawned to foreboding skies. I took a look at the radar at 7:00 and made the decision not to make the ride to Hell and back. That’s right, there’s a town in Michigan named Hell….. Ironically, the Saturday ride was “hotter than Hell”. While Hell didn’t exactly freeze over on Sunday, going from the high 90’s on Saturday to the high 60’s on Sunday must have felt like it. I returned the wheel to Joel and we headed home. As we were leaving we saw many tandems going to Hell….
This was the most well-organized MTR we’ve attended. Joel and the all the volunteers did a great job! We look forward to Madison, WI in 2012.
Contributed by Richard DiLorenzo