Made for Two

On a bicycle made for two
cycling along in the cold,
hunkering down behind you,
isn't much fun, truth be told.

On a bicycle made for two
with fingers and toes turning numb,
not able to take in the view
as all I can see is your b_ _!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Naughty, naughty, slap my hand! Although we were out on one of our tandems this morning, which was a bit on the chilly side, this silly verse actually refers to our first Tandem Club ride of the year last weekend when it was bitterly cold.

To start from the beginning, our first tandem was a Gitane, which we bought quite cheaply on e-bay to see if we would like it. We then bought our George Longstaff tandem, which is the one we mostly use and to which we had added an electric assist. We had taken our Gitane out to Spain for our daughter and her fella but they hadn't ridden it very much and there were a few issues with it. So when we went out to Spain last autumn we brought the Gitane back with us and the boss spent much of the Christmas holiday period repairing and refurbishing it. We had taken it out for a short 'shake down' ride early in January after which he made a few tweaks. Then he decided that we would use it for the club ride, a bit over 22 miles on this occasion, which we would have to manage without electric assist.

The Longstaff has a fairly upright cycling position and I can usually crane my neck to see a bit over the boss's shoulders, (although more often I'm looking to one side or the other resulting in a crick in my neck!). The Gitane had me leaning forward over uncomfortable handlebars in a posture a bit like a racing cyclist and I couldn't see much of anything over his shoulders. I also kept sliding forwards on the saddle and bumping my knees on the handlebars. Although it was cold and uncomfortable I did actually enjoy the ride, out in the fresh air, with good company, although I didn't see as much of the scenery as I would have liked! We didn't really miss the electric assist as there weren't too many hills and the bike is quite a bit lighter in weight than the Longstaff.

So more tweaks were clearly in order followed by this morning's ride on it for a another test run. I now have different handlebars - much more comfortable and the saddle behaved. I still can't see very much out front but it was better and we actually had quite a nice 13 and a bit miles ride. Nothing, though, can change the fact that on the back of a tandem the most likely view is the back of the person in front - get used to it!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jules
    Jan 22, 2022 @ 15:46:58

    Maybe you need to get some kind of mirror to put on the back of his helmet?
    The maybe you can at least see where you have been?
    At least when it isn’t so cold you can stop for a bit – but when it is cold, standing still just lets the cold seep in quicker. It is only about 10F (-12C) this morning – not venturing out for anything if I don’t have to. Well I was out to fill the feeders, but I did bundle up!!

    Reply

    • Libby
      Jan 24, 2022 @ 14:04:43

      Stopping when you want is not much of an option when out in a group – you could get left behind! The mirror idea I like. I have thought of strapping my Kindle to his back so that I can read while going along!

      Reply

  2. Uncool Cycling Club
    Jan 22, 2022 @ 22:39:24

    Riding on a tandem is a romantic notion, but perhaps riding your own bike is more fun after all 😎

    Reply

    • Libby
      Jan 24, 2022 @ 14:00:35

      I/we actually enjoy being out on the tandem. I confess I ‘exaggerated for effect!’ a bit. Vision is limited for the backseat rider (stoker!) but some riding positions are worse than others for blocking the view – to a racing tandem it wouldn’t matter. Our main tandem, the George Longstaff, gives me a slightly better view up front without too much strain and the Gitane is better now I have different handlebars and the saddle has been adjusted. At least we always arrive together. 🙂

      Reply

  3. elaine patricia
    Jan 23, 2022 @ 11:57:53

    I don’t suppose the ‘boss’ would swap places once in a while.

    Reply

    • Libby
      Jan 24, 2022 @ 14:03:05

      Actually not that easy as too many adjustments would need to be made (saddle height and so forth) plus he generally knows where we are going better than I do and I can’t be bothered to get to grips with the GPS device. 🙂 It’s funny how the person on the back is referred to as the ‘stoker’ when it is generally the female on the back!

      Reply

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