Part of our travel plans are to ride our beloved Cannondale tandem as much as we can on as many back roads and Rails to Trails as we can find. We purchased our tandem several years ago, used, from it's second owner. It's no longer shiny and new but it is a very fine steed.
Seattle has three athletic "rites of passage": climbing Mt. Rainier, running the Seattle Marathon and riding the STP. Twice we've completed one of those rites, the STP. The STP is a 200 mile annual ride from Seattle to Portland, with about 10,000 of your closest biking buddies.
|Fran & Ed, STP Finish Line, Portland, OR|
Group rides light a training-fire under us, so we sign up for a couple each year.
The Chilly Hilly, a cold February ride on Bainbridge Island, is one of our favorite rides as a kickoff to the biking season. At 33 miles it's not a long ride, but it is a demanding ride, with steep ups and downs and challenging weather.
|Waiting for the ferry after a Chilly Hilly ride.|
We also like the NW Tandem Rally rides. This group is heavily into very cool equipment, like this bicycle built for four.
Plus, it's more of a family ride than the other rides we participate in. Dogs, kids, old and young are out there on their bicycles built for two. These rides are a good workout for our bodies and the equipment provides lots of eye candy.
|N.W. Tandem Rally|
On Whidbey Island you'll often see us riding our favorite loop, Langley to Maxwelton Beach, and back. This ride is our stay fit ride. It's a 17 mile loop on a mostly friendly road, with a perfect midway stop at the beach for a snack and terrific views.
A bike rack must be added to Thistle to complete our travel needs. Right now the bike rack of choice is the ATOC. As the website claims, it is "Designed by a Rocket Scientist." Carrying a tandem is serious business. It is difficult to load because it is large. It is difficult to lift because it is awkward and heavy. It needs to be upright on the back of the van, so it needs to be easily maneuvered to enable us to access the back doors on our van.
|ATOC photo - bike in loading position|
We have tried Benton in the bike trailer a number of times but he's an ungrateful passenger, barking incessantly. Will we take the trailer or not?
|Ed pulling Benton.|
The details for our travels started out as one big messy pile. We're now closing in on our final decisions as departure grows closer. Fortunately we still have some time to deliberate. We won't be departing again until February, and then only for four months, or until we sell our home.
Fran & Ed
"My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library."
~ Peter Golkin