Thursday, March 10, 2016

T A N D E M O N I U M ! ! ! !

Tandemonium resting outside the auto parts store - we needed windshield wipers

At the end of January, the boy and I decided that all our exercise deficiencies could be solved by purchasing a tandem bike. You see, we live up a wicked-steep hill, and even a small trip to the store involves trudging up said hill. So, the new rule was that farmers' markets and grocery stores had to be reached by tandem bike.

In the back of my mind, I knew tandem bikes were perceived as dorky, but it wasn't until a Prius pulled near us and shouted "TANDEMONIUM!!!" that I realized just how far from cool we had become. We looked exactly like what we are: a middle-aged couple riding a ridiculous tandem bike.

However, the bike isn't ridiculous! It's amazing and amazingly practical! Not only are we becoming stronger, but so many chores we once did are now exciting. Buying toilet paper? So much more fun when you have to figure out a way to strap it to the bike and ride it up versus head out in our boring old car to do the same task. So far, the bike has over 200 miles on it from us riding around doing chores.

Wearing a bike helmet necessitates a new hairdo that won't be wrecked post helmet. I learned this hairdo from a 12-year-old on YouTube
 A high mileage road bike, the tandem is not. We decided one day to have brunch somewhere far away, and we clocked 54 miles that day. By the end of that day, we were hurting! The seats were uncomfortable, and worst, when were around mile 48, we started getting passed by all the "serious bikers, " those decked out in spandex and aerodynamic helmets. Most of them felt the need to say something to us. And because I was hangry and sore, it took all my might not to bite their heads off. One guy suggested that we were in the middle of a date, and he asked me where our bottle of wine and baguettes were hiding.  Others suggested that I didn't need to pedal, or that I was already not peddling. I grimaced, which I think they took for a smile. To be fair, though, see the picture of us below. Dorks. The ladybug hat with the Nutcase label doesn't help, although I love it dearly.

Could this be why people think we're dorks?
Stokers get very little respect. Everyone thinks I'm along for the ride, as if I'm a child on a bike trailer. It's not a passive position, because if I'm not paying attention, I could lean the wrong way and throw us off. Peddling when we have to go the same rate and the boy is in control has also been something we're working on smoothing out. Standing up to pedal when the bike shifts into an extremely low gear and the crunch noise happens meant that we needed to learn when to tell each other what's going on.

The first time we bombed down the hill, I demanded a cyclometer so I could see just how fast we were going so we could quantify how fast/slow is reasonable. The boy sort of understood the intent, and after the cyclometer was installed, he informed me that I scream when we go over 33 miles per hour. I've gotten better, and my current scream speed is 37.

The day we loaded the tandem with toilet paper
The bike has also been an excuse to hit happy hours around town, and to drink lightly during said happy hours since there is a hill to be conquered to get home. (I highly recommend happy hour at La Marcha in Berkeley.) Although we need these rains and I'm hoarding the rain water for my garden (see all the rain barrels on my IG account), I'll be happy to hop on the saddle again when the weather dries out.


  1. Congrats on the tandem! "S/he's not pedaling!" is the standard thing to say; don't take it to heart. And the picnic/date thing may be because you have a mountain tandem rather than a road tandem.

    We had two tandems, one a Cannondale mountain bike with slick hybrid tires, and the other a Bike Friday Family Tandem with 20" wheels. DH captained the Cannondale with our 10 year old stoker, and I captained the Bike Friday with a 5 year old stoker. Cyclometers on both. Good times! Kids are now grown, and I sold the Bike Friday several years ago. The Cannondale is still in the garage, but I can't get DH interested in riding it any more. Oh, well. Have fun with yours!

    1. I can imagine your family tandem rides. How fun! We are enjoying the tandem - we got it used from a another couple who only rode it once, so it was a screaming good deal.

  2. It's cute! And a great idea for exercise.

    1. It's really fun riding around town rather than driving around town and faster (at least when we go downhill). I can't wait for the weather to dry up so we can ride again.



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