The Future of Tandem Rallies & Other Thoughts

Just when long-time readers may have rightfully assumed I’d given up writing about tandem cycling, I suddenly find myself moved to write something about tandem cycling.

As noted in the title of this post, I found myself looking at the 24 some-odd road tandem rallies and events that were cancelled — or in some cases postponed until 2021 — and have to wonder, will tandem rallies ever be the same with this profound break in time?

Let’s face it, the stalwarts of tandem rallies are the folks who started riding tandems back in the 1970′ – 1980’s.  Even folks like us who “joined the tandem lifestyle” in the 1990’s (late 1990’s in fact), are now in our 60’s and we’re still in the lower half of the age demographic.

So, as I look at the 2020 tandem calendar with all of it’s cancellations and try to think ahead to what the 2021 tandem rally event calendar might look like, I’m reminded that the SARS-CoV-2 virus will still be with us next year, regardless of who wins the White House.  Yes, the media might not give it as much attention, but people will continue to become infected, get sick (or not) and die (or not) pretty much as they have thus far?  In fact, if the media decides to focus on something else and suddenly starts to downplay the risks, the virus may become even more deadly as people drift back into old habits.  Or, will they?

And, therein lies the crux of my question: what is the future of tandem cycling and tandem rallies given how many “teams” are in those fragile age brackets given the risks associated with social gatherings which are the real reason people go to tandem rallies.

Interestingly enough, there is something of an exception with regard to tandem cyclists when it comes to the off-road tandem enthusiasts who seem to be pre-disposed to embracing a bit more risk in general.  To their credit, they’re the ones who have been the most reluctant to cancel their events and still have a few on the calendar for late 2020.  And, given the format… that’s not necessarily hard to understand. The off-road tandem events — an in particular the S.O.R.T.A. (Self-Organized Off-Road Tandem Adventures) events draw in a dozen or so teams, not 70 to 100. Their rally headquarters are usually in a camp ground where 1/2 of the attendees show up with campers or RVs, the other half find a hotel room near by.  There aren’t huge indoor gatherings; it’s a come as you are meet and greet at an outdoor campsite. So, the risks normally associated with the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are greatly reduced.

Anyway, it will be interesting to watch.  As for us, it’s hard to know if tandem cycling will continue to be such a central part of our lives.

  • Debbie has lost all interest in off-road tandem cycling.  To her, the risks of a fall and getting hurt now that we’re in our 60’s is just a bit too hard to justify for the momentary thrill of “playing in the dirt.”
  • Road tandem cycling has also taken a back-seat to indoor exercise and aerobics, noting that she has always seen cycling as a form of exercise, not really a life-long recreational pursuit the way I have.  I love cycling, whereas she sees it as a way of getting exercise with a more scenic view.

So, you may or may not see us “on the road” in the future as life is like that. Chapters close and new ones open.

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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2 Responses to The Future of Tandem Rallies & Other Thoughts

  1. Joseph A Marino says:

    Ya, it is hard to imagine a return to the typical tandem rally model – at least for another year. I think that the mass starts and banquets will be put on ice for the time being. I can see the other aspects continuing on though.

  2. S. DiLorenzo says:

    Hard to think of letting go, even in our 70s. In Indiana the HOOTS
    club has continued to have occasional one day rides with careful
    social distancing and outdoor lunch etc. We have become more
    on our own as a tandem couple, but look forward to riding with another
    couple just not a large group…at least for the current conditions.
    Enjoyed meeting both of you and sharing a few laughs and experiences.
    We appreciate your well written post, Mark. Kinda sad but true.
    Stoker D

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