Remember when…

… 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…!!

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About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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3 Responses to Remember when…

  1. Mike says:

    We are both on the downhill side of sixty and retired for 14 years. We did the fast rides for several years and backed off for awhile to have “fun.” Now we’re back to hammering twice a week. The 40 somethings on the Saturday morning ride marvel that we can stay with them for “most” of the ride. But you know something, I have more fun challenging myself on these rides than the more laid back jaunts. Maybe you will come full circle too.

  2. jonathan says:

    Well, we are on the early side of 60 and expecting our first Calfee Tandem. The anticipation is so intense…(BTW, we really appreciate all the coverage of Calfee)…but over the last 10 years we have been on several tandems from Treks, Cannondale to Santana. We are now alternating from the hammerhead group to the leisure group and vice versa depending on our current fitness level and training cycle. It seems to work to have a shorter hammerfest and then a nice Sunday leisure ride…..and do a more moderate pace for longer rides such as centuries

    Interestingly, we are having similar discussions of scaling back from century rides to the metrics as some of our tandem friends have…..also in our age group.

    Almost fully retired so the next stage is going to be interesting……already got a cruiser bike…..Victory Boardwalk for the alternating lazy sunny afternoons by the beach in Southern Cal.

  3. David Roberts says:

    We’re a 132 y.o. team, but have only been tandeming for 7 years, so we’re still getting faster. It’s fun to train as a team. For us it adds to the quality of the time spent together. We’re thinking that this is the year when the line of increasing fitness will intersect the line of decreasing ability, so we’ve scheduled a series of the longest, hardest rides we will probably ever do, and have some of them already done. Plenty of time for taking it easy later. Or not. Many of our tandem friends have not gone this route, which is a bit sad for us, but we soldier on.

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