Well, seeing that I just finished our motorcycling year in review, I should probably take a minute to reflect back on our year in tandem cycling. It was a pretty good year for cycling, not our best by far, but a good near none-the-less!
Just looking back at what I wrote about, a number of blog entries stand out as highlights from 2014 that I’ve summarized below.
- Tandem Club of Georgia Leaves YahooGroups – Our friends Roger & Eve decided to bring the Tandem Club of Georgia (aka, PEACHES) out of the dark ages of YahooGroups and into the blogosphere in January with the launch of a WordPress blog. Sadly, I’ve not been able to get it to send me notifications when things are posted and what little chit-chat we had on the Yahoo Groups is now a thing of the past.
- Preventative Maintenance: More Than You Wanted to Know – After about a week of hacking away on the laptop, I posted a five-part article on the annual tandem tune-up to the Tandem Club of America’s new Website / Blog. Sadly, I fear the change in TCAs business model and move to the Internet was a bigger paradigm shift than the membership could handle as blog contributions are about nil. However, the classified ads seem to be doing well.
- Riding the Silver Comet Trail on a Calfee 29er with the Nutt Family – In late February we met up with Alex & Kim Nutt and their sons AJ & Trace for a nice ride on the Silver Comet trail. Alex was kind enough to let us demo a Calfee 29er with DI2 for the day; it was a pretty sweet ride… and quite tempting. Just a great time doing something we rarely do; riding the Silver Comet or getting enough social time with Alex & Kim.
- Good Grief; We’ve Gotten Soft! – By March it became apparent that for the 10th season in a row we were unable to maintain our cycling fitness through the winter and, worse yet, we had to accept that our drop in cycling fitness had compounded year-over-year!
- A Weekend in South Carolina With Eric, Linda & Lisa – We combined a weekend visit to help sort through some bicycle parts with a tandem ride in March that made for a really nice weekend. Sadly, our Calfee’s rear derailleur decided to act up, er… fall apart during Saturday’s ride which put a damper on things. But, all-in-all, a great visit.
- Just an Average Weekend Day Around TandemGeek Central – Ever wonder what one of our average Saturdays looked like? This day in March was a good example and sheds some light on why it can sometimes be a bit of a challenge to get in a tandem ride.
- April’s Dilemma: Are We Burned-Out as Tandem Cyclists? – Early 2014 found us searching for out tandem cycling mojo. It seemed to have disappeared as we wrestled with the prospect of closing the chapter of our lives that had been dominated by tandem cycling or finding some way of getting our mojo back.
- May & The Tour de Cure – Although the ride was a wash-out for us, our $400 contribution combined with the $2,632.00 we received from seventy-one generous & caring friends allowed us to provide the American Diabetes Association with $3,032 in funding to support their good work.
- The May PEACHES Ride in Rutledge, Georgia – After skipping the first two or three PEACHES rides of 2014, we finally made a point of attending the May ride out in Rutledge, Georgia. While it violated my ratio rule for riding:driving mileage, it was good to be out riding with other tandem teams again.
- Georgia Tandem Rally 2014, Athens, Georgia – A bit later than usual in June vs. May, GTR was our first of two tandem rallies for 2014. As has become tradition, we teamed up with our friend Lisa on the triplet for the event. Another great event hosted by our friends Roger & Eve. If we could only do one rally a year, this would be the one.
- June PEACHES Ride from Alpharetta, Georgia – Yup, we went two-for-two on PEACHES rides. Again, always a good time even with the small turn-outs that seem to have become the norm for PEACHES rides.
- Our Freeloader Weekend in Tennessee over the 4th of July Holiday – We combined a motorcycle trip with a tandem cycling weekend in Tennessee and had a great time doing both!
- A Harsh Reminder That We Don’t Ride Like We Once Did – Well, we were treated to a big old piece of humble pie in July when we decided to join a Saturday morning group ride of single bikes. When we last rode this ride it was mostly citizen riders who, like us, got out on the weekend for fitness and recreation. No so anymore…. but we always enjoy riding by ourselves so it was not a big deal to be nearly DFL.
- August PEACHES Ride: #2 Taylorsville, Georgia – Roger Strauss & Eve Kofsky signed-up to host the Georgia Tandem Club (aka, PEACHES) monthly tandem ride for August and decided to raise the bar on the “monthly tandem ride” by hosting four rides. We did three of the four, noting the first one was a wash-out. Sadly, the most memorable event from this ride was a close call with a distracted motorist that garnered its own blog entry.
- August PEACHES Ride: #3 Covington, Georgia – Our 2nd PEACHES ride in as many weeks punctuated what was a great week of cycling for us in mid-August. If every week was like this I’d be a very happy camper.
- August PEACHES Ride: #4 Cumming, Georgia – We went three-for-three on tandem club rides in August! It was very reminiscent of our first few years of tandem cycling when every weekend included a group tandem ride followed by a social event
- Playing in the Dirt Again! – In September Miss Debbie surprised the heck out of me when she asked, “Do we still have the Camelbaks?” I had to pinch myself, as I’d been hoping she’d finally give off-road tandem cycling a try again. We did and it was great!
- Fine Tuning The Ventana’s Fit & Brakes – Having been off of our 2002 Ventana El Conquistador de Montanas (ECdM) for 4-years, it was in dire need of a riding position adjustment and new brakes, as the original Hope Enduro’s were still squealing like a stuck pig out on the trail.
- Off-Road Tandem Nirvana – Debbie and I headed back to the trails at Allatoona Creek the day after Alex Nutt and I tweaked the Ventana and the hoped-for improvements were achieved: the bike never handled better and we had a blast! Sadly, this would also be our last off-road ride of the year as the following weekends were either booked, raining or saw the trails closed for hunting season through 1 January 2015.
- Southern Tandem Rally 2014, Columbus, Georgia – Our second of two tandem rallies for 2014 was STR in October. We had a good time and while I rode all three days, no two days were the same: Day 1 was me & Debbie on the Calfee; Day 2 was me & Debbie with Lisa on the triplet; and, Day 3 was me and Lisa on the Calfee.
- 2014 Christmas Lights Ride – On a cold December 10th evening we joined three other tandem teams and about 40 single bike riders for a 15-mile tour of homes in and around the Northeast Atlanta suburbs, something we hadn’t done in over a decade. I can definitely see us doing this again next year! It was a great way to round out a very good year on the bike.
To our regular readers and friends you can now say “told you so.” Yes, motorcycling has definitely encroached on our tandem cycling, but it is not without some degree of cause and effect: When we first started tandem cycling we made fast friends with what became a close-knit group of friends and would get together every weekend for at least one tandem ride with a post ride lunch or other type of social gathering. This was, in fact, our social life. There were also four great tandem rallies that we’d regularly attend here in the Southeast: the Alabama Tandem Weekend in Auburn or near Birmingham, the Georgia Tandem Rally, the Tennessee Tandem Rally and Southern Tandem Rally. We’d also find a way to combine a visit to my parents with either the Eastern Tandem Rally or Mid-Atlantic Tandem Enthusiasts (MATES) in July or August. However, over the years, the weekly tandem rides were disrupted as friends moved away, had kids or more kid commitments, moved into different social circles, etc., and we simply resolved to ride from home by ourselves. The Alabama Tandem Weekends moved into southern Alabama vs. being just 2 hours away and the Tennessee Tandem Rally is no more which eliminated two rallies from our calendar. The timing, location and/or cost of the MATES and ETR events have made those more of a challenge for us as well. So, in some respects motorcycling has filled the gaps for us. But I digress…
On the more personal front, our family grew by one with our fifth grandchild and we remain thankful that we’ve not lost any family members over the past 12 months; however, we have lost friends or have friends who have lost friends and family which reminds us to never take life for granted.
While we’re still not sure what the future holds for us — early retirement, perhaps a second career following early retirement, or something else — we’re looking forward to 2015 and more adventures and living in the moment… because every moment is so very important and time is the most scarce resource we have. After all, we don’t know how much time we have, it can’t really be saved and no amount of money can buy you more. Here’s hoping we can continue to share our time with you, in person, by correspondence or just through our blog entries and your comments.