We had a great ride today. Nothing special in terms of the route: it was just our usual 25-mile loop from the house which nets us about 1,200′ of climbing with the high-point being about 1/2 way through the ride. However, the weather was San Diego like when we left and we timed it such that a lot of the Sunday morning church-going folks were already engaged in their respective services when we passed through the areas with churches.
I’ve also made a point of going out a little easier which Debbie seems to prefer. I should note that just getting out of our community entails a 1/8th of a mile, 8% climb on cold legs which, well…. can suck if you try to go out hard.
However, as we were riding it dawned on me that I haven’t really done much to our Calfee tandem in several years. I think some of it has to do with having a tandem that has been nearly a perfect fit for us in terms of sizing, comfort, features and reliability and having other hobbies that consume my attention and discretionary resources. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s quite telling.
When tandems were the center of my universe I was clearly all about learning about the latest and greatest, even while being a late adopter / reluctant beta-tester. This became pretty obvious as I moved from an active list participant at Tandem@Hobbes and the Bikeforums.net tandem subform to a lurker. God love the folks that are still hot and heavy into pursing the latest and greatest technology, shaving grams and comparing performance on Strava.
Me, I’ve reached a point where I know that I’ve got pretty much more tandem than I’ll ever need: really, the Calfee’s are the nuts for the fast recreational rider. I only wish I’d started on a Co-Motion many years ago as I suspect I would still be riding that tandem today, albeit with a variety of component upgrades and perhaps a repaint vs. having spent upwards of $26k on two custom Ericksons and the Calfee in our quest for the best.
But, be that as it may, our Calfee continues to exceed our expectations which is what you’d expect of a tandem bicycle that costs more than your average Japanese sport touring bike. It’s just that as it is now, it needs for nothing. I have no need for go-fast wheels; our 36h conventional wheels are reliable and I don’t worry about dinging a rim. I have no need for upgraded shifting: really, now much better than 3rd Generation Campy Record can you get? What else is there to do, aside from shaving grams at $100/per. Been there, done that and quickly realized it fools errand after playing the game for while (sorry about that; but I’ve said this before and stand by it… noting that I also have a weakness vintage watches: an even more expensive pursuit of vanity than bicycles).
In short, after thinking through all of this stuff on today’s ride — no kidding, I do a lot of thinking when we’re on the tandem as Debbie and I rarely talk on a 2 hour ride — I came to realize why I’ve not had as much to write about on my tandem cycling blog as I did when I was hot and heavy into testing go-fast wheels, different shifting systems, belt drives and the like.
Part of me we like to return to that passionate pursue of the next better thing in tandem cycling, but there’s another part of me that’s more interested in enjoying the ride than analyzing what next change I’ll make to my tandem to ensure it remains relevant.