I took this photo of our current tandem fleet for one of my presentation slides at the Tandems East Tandem Expo which was the first “family portrait” of our long-bike fleet in quite some time:
From left to right are our 2008 Calfee Custom Tetra S&S Road Tandem, our 1998 Erickson Signature Road Tandem, our 2008 Precision Triplet Road Tandem and our 2002 Ventana El Conquistador de Montanas Full-Suspension Off-Road Tandem. We’ve had four other tandems since 1997 that have come and gone from the livery, all of which were quite hard to part with, but at the time it was usually a situation where we were trading off a current tandem for a new tandem:
- Our first tandem, a 1995/96 Santana Arriva was sold to a couple in El Paso, TX to make way for our 1998 Erickson
- A ’98 Cannondale MT3000 was picked up as a knock-around tandem, but quickly came into use as real off-road tandem and was sold to a couple in New Hampshire make way for our first Ventana El Conquistador de Montanas.
- The Ventana was sold to a couple in Sacramento, CA to make way for our 2002 Ventana ECdM.
- We had a second Erickson tandem made in 2002 with couplers for travel, but sold that to a couple from Kentucky in September 1997 to off-set part of the cost of our 1998 Calfee.
So, in looking at this collection of tandems there’s only a couple soft spots where “something else” could be added to fill a niche. Those include:
- A bamboo Calfee tandem because they’re just so cool and unusual…
- A 650b classic tandem fitted with mud guards, large volume tires and the like for L’Eroica type events and, well… because they’re also cool
- A gravel grinder of some type, either 26″, 650b, or 29″ because none of our current tandems are really well-suited for unpaved roads or bike trails: either too racy or just too off-road gonzo in the case of the Ventana.
So, I’m at the Tandems East Expo and what do I spy? A 2010/11 Cannondale Street Tandem in BBQ black that has been outfitted by Mel with dual discs, Truvative cranks and Shimano 9 speed compatible SRAM GripTwist shifters in size L/S for a killer price… I mean killer. There are all kinds of really good parts that Mel used to build up what he acquired as a frame only and quite frankly, if you never put your hands on the 2010/11 Cannondale tandem frames you need to: they’ve got some pretty cool tube sets and an amazing set of rear drop-outs. So, knowing how much Debbie enjoyed our Cannondale, I’m now taunted by this very cool machine which beckons to be added to our stable… but for what real purpose I don’t know. Such are the trials and tribulations of a bike geek who loves tandems.
Oh, and lest you think there weren’t any other tandems at the Expo that caught my eye? There was a killer Co-Motion Macchiato sporting a Ferrari Red paint job with black flames in our size where I only WISH we’d brought along cycling clothes so we could have taken that out for a spin, along with a composite daVinci, the Cannondale and one of its all-white sibling road tandems, a Co-Motion Java that was actually a bit too big (even though it was a small), one of Tandems East’s Hokitika tandems and a Bilenky ViewPoint.
At the end of the day I’m guessing we’ll leave well enough alone, or at least wait until I can get Debbie out on the Ventana for a spin around the Allatoona Creek trails. I seem to recall Debbie making visits to her Chiropractor after our weekend rides on the Cannondale… and that certainly isn’t something that would be less of a factor some 12-years later!!!