… you were the annoying “youngsters” at the tandem rally who blew off the front never to be seen again, who did the metric century option and complained there wasn’t a longer route, couldn’t figure out why everyone else at rallies seemed to go shorter distances and didn’t treat every ride like some kind of a covert suffer fest where the goal was to drop all the wheel suckers who seemed a little too squirrelly to have in the double pace line?
Yeah, I can remember those times. They were the good old days, when we got together with other tandem teams every Sunday for a “spirited ride” of some 40-60 miles so long as the temp was above 40°F and it wasn’t raining. And, on Thursdays we went to the in-town hammerfest known as the “bellyache” for a hard and fast hilly ride before hitting the pizza joint for a nice salad on Thursday nights. Then there was the Saturday morning ride with the club riders who were mildly impressed the 40-somethings on the tandem could actually climb hills with the mid-pack single bikes and typically pulled the group on the flats.
Of course, some 15 years later we now find ourselves on the other side of that coin. Now we’re just happy to get out and ride on a day when the temps finally get into the 50’s with the sun shining, or wait until it’s about to hit 60 degrees on cloudy days before “getting out for a short ride”.. just to check the box for a weekend tandem ride. When we go to rallies we eagerly await the “parting of the waters” when the A and now B team riders go off the front so we can back-off and ride at a more leisurely pace. Of course, tandem cycling demographics being what they are, that A/B team group is a lot smaller than it used to be because some of those A & B team riders are right there with us. But, then again, there are still a lot of those usual suspects out there who never lost a step and, in some cases, have even stepped up their game that hammer with the best of “kids.” Man, I only wish we still had the level of discipline needed to make time for true training rides.
But wait, now we find there’s another group of riders on the the other side of their 60’s that are happily retired and able to ride and train — train? — every day of the week. Dang, they’re getting more miles a week than we get in a month and can ride us into the ground on those flat rides. Talk about can’t win for losing… ??!!!
This then is the cycle of our tandem life. Like it or not, time continues to creep by when we’re not paying attention and we’ve now become those more “social riders” we never understood when we first discovered tandem cycling. Turns out, just like the Tortoise and the Hare, the social riders may have had it right all along. There is no prize for being the the first time in or riding the longest route, just personal satisfaction. The real prize of us these days is time spent riding with friends, enjoying the day on the tandem and the more socializing off the tandem later on.
So, as we enter yet another season of cycling, we look forward to any time we can get on the tandem together. After all, what matters the most about tandem cycling is sharing the cycling experience with someone who you care enough about to be the guardians of their safety and well-being for a few hours while enjoying the simple pleasure of riding a bicycle.
Well see you before and after the ride. If we happen to find ourselves side-by-side during a ride, all the better: just say hello! It’s not like we’re training; we now ride to have fun! We hope you are too…!!