Plenty of time to chat
A tandem is good for a couple’s relationship. There’s something very satisfying about being in the same rhythm and knowing that with a different cycling partner, the pedalling wouldn’t be nearly so effortless. It’s easy to talk, except in the teeth of a headwind when a chat might turn into more of an amicable shouting match.
Allan and I see and hear the same things and can point out anything of interest. If we were on solo bikes, the deer might well have disappeared into the hillside or the cuckoo stopped singing before the less observant rider knew anything exciting was happening.
The Ups and Downs
Tandems freewheel much faster than solos. When cycling in a group, we’re always in the lead on a descent and sometimes doing an eye-watering speed. Even now, in our bus pass years, Allan and I frequently hurtle downhill in excess of 40mph.
But tandems do tend to struggle going uphill. Many hills are potentially rideable but when confronted by those that are definitely not, there’s no alternative but to get off and walk. Allan doesn’t seem to mind pushing the tandem, he never complains anyway. So I’m left to amble uphill delightfully unencumbered and even able to walk backwards if the mood takes me, admiring the view.
Just the one job
Because I’ve never ridden my own bike, I don’t mind having no responsibility for steering, braking or changing gear. And because we’ve cycled together for forty years, I have absolute trust in Allan’s ability. I have only one job, which is to pedal hard and not wobble or make any jerky movements. Nose blowing, bum wriggling and the unwrapping of barley sugars needs to be done as quickly as possible and preferably on a straight, familiar stretch of road. Otherwise, I am free to enjoy the passing scenery, that is not totally obscured by my husband’s bum, which is a popular but mistaken assumption.
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