Saturday, August 13, 2016

Our Trusty Iron Steed

Years and rides and travels and more rides and more years and more travels…our trusty iron steed carries us up hills and down hills, along backroads and across deserts.  It's fun, it's exhilarating, it's challenging!  We are enthusiastic pedalers.  

We purchased our Cannondale tandem about eight or nine years ago, used.  We don't really know how old it is, but we believe Cannondale began making tandems in the early 90's.  We are the third owners of our bike and it's been a love affair since the first ride.  Our Specialized singles were purchased new about five years ago and suffer from tandem-neglect.

We ride because we love it, but also to carry out Ed's adage:  "Old age is for training".  When we're traveling Thistle totes our tandem and our singles… 

Other times our Element is the beast of burden…

Brad cramming two tandems inside
our Element, NW Tandem Rally

   Rails to Trails entice us.   Here we celebrate the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes finish…

When we're on the island we try to ride 3 or 4 times weekly, at least in the spring, fall and summer.  One summer we set ourselves the challenge of riding all the connecting roads on Whidbey Island, and came darn close to finishing…

Group rides are fun and good training motivation…

 Chilly Hilly

Deb, Fran, Ed and Greg, STP

STP  Finish

Chilly Hilly ferry wait

Chilly Hilly

NW Tandem Rally

A favorite, riding the back roads…

And we ride with our wonderful family…

Concrete, WA

Fran, Ed, Yessi & Brad, Maxwelton Beach

As with any travel adventure or relationship, we sometimes get out of sorts but by the time our ride is underway, smiles creep onto our faces, and all vestiges of grumpy vanish.   I'm pretty sure this is true of most exercise, but on our tandem it might be more pronounced because of the teamwork required.   

We are often asked, "Why a tandem?"  The answers are simple.  A tandem equalizes our different bike riding speeds and the partnership effort is challenging as well as rewarding.  Communication is a must on a tandem as it is in a good marriage so the tandem enhances our couple verbal skills as well as toning our bodies.

"How do you decide who is the captain?" is another question often asked.  Ed's answer is always, "It's the person with the biggest ego."  And, the followup question, as eyes turn to me,  "So you just sit back and let Ed do all the work?"   My answer, delivered slightly peevishly, is "There's a reason the person riding shotgun is called the stoker."  

We've always enjoyed riding, but the tandem has increased our enthusiasm and it's almost always our ride of choice.   We still ride our singles but mostly for trips to the grocery store or exercising Benton on the back roads.  Also, singles work better for city riding.

But, singles or tandem, we ride and we smile and we love it…

We depart tomorrow for ten days of tandem riding in Oregon.  It is a training trip to prepare for my  birthday ride later this month.  I plan to ride a mile for every year of life so a bit more than 36 miles!  Actually seventy-six is the magic number this year.


"Next to a leisurely walk I enjoy a spin on my tandem bicycle. It is splendid to feel the wind blowing in my face and the springy motion of my iron steed.  The rapid rush through the air gives me a delicious sense of strength and buoyancy, and the exercise makes my pulse dance and my heart sing."

~ Helen Keller


  1. Great. Almost makes me want a tandem. Not sure our marriage would survive it though.

    Have a great time in Oregon. Look forward to your posts. Summer here in RI is hotter than I prefer this year, even at the beach. :( I am enjoying time with dear friends, my favorite yoga, Pilates, and resistance classes and more.

    Tell me about your plan to ride 76 miles. All in one day? An organized ride or on your own? Where? Good for you and good luck!


  2. My B-Day 76 mile ride will be a one-day ride with Ed, Yessi & Brad. We're planning to ride it on a Rails to Trails in Thurston County, near Olympia, WA where there's a 44 mile trail. Fly out and join us Leslie. You and Al could rent a tandem and give it a swirl.