We’re currently on holiday in Maryland, USA visiting my wife’s family. We last visited two years ago, back in the long-forgotten pre-baby era when we could do whatever we wanted. Looking back that free time was clearly wasted on me because all I ever seemed to do was cycle.
This holiday we had a couple of blissful days to ourselves – leaving the little one with her grandma we headed off to the beach. Unimaginatively I steered us towards a bike hire shop at the earliest opportunity.
Neither of us had ridden a tandem before and it turned out to be great fun. It was easy to talk to each other and being permanently hitched together removes any potential competitiveness of cycling with another person. In theory a tandem ought to be more efficient than a regular bicycle, but that relies on both people pedalling. If, say, the person on the back was sometimes just letting their feet be turned by the pedals then a tandem could in fact be very hard work for the person on the front. Fortunately American beachfronts aren’t short on refreshment opportunities for hard-worked cyclists.
One of the trickier aspects of tandem cycling was turning. The person on the rear can’t always see the twists and turns ahead but needs to participate to some extent in leaning on sharper bends. The other tricky aspect is starting and stopping. All of this requires a bit of communication but we seemed to get the hang of things and be motoring along quite well.
My other cycling this holiday has been using Pete’s arsenal of bikes in his basement. I took a single-speed out a couple of times but it mostly ended up being a reminder of how fit I used to be when we last visited. Riding up hills on a single-speed is tough work, and I quickly swapped for a bike with gears.