My husband is the kind of person who, when faced with an escalator and a set of steps that both stretch as far as the eye can see, will ALWAYS choose to run up the stairs. I have been known to get out of breath walking up the few flights of steps to our flat.
We both love spending time outside in the countryside, and going for walks is one of our favourite pastimes. I wanted to get more active with him, but when it came to finding ways of spending time together that satisfied my husband’s love of endorphins, we were a little bit stymied. Either I just couldn’t keep up, or it wasn’t really exercise for him.
There are so many ways that she is amazing…
Tandems are more efficient than single bikes, at least on flat ground (you get the same amount of wind resistance, but have two people peddling). Even though I am slower than my husband on my own, together we are faster than he is alone. We both contribute, and we both get a good workout. Plus, we go fast, and going fast on a bike is fun.
It’s great for logistics. We don’t own a car, and for several years I lived in a different city from my husband (then my boyfriend), visiting him at the weekends or vice versa. On a Friday he often picked me up from the train station on the tandem, using it instead of his single bicycle during the day and saving us both a long walk in the evening. Apparently, when he rides it without me, bystanders helpfully shout to inform him that he has lost his girlfriend.
People notice tandems. Small children point and exclaim, and couples smile at us. Cars give us extra room when they’re overtaking.
We’re close enough together that we can talk during a cycle ride if we yell (my husband is considering acquiring tandem walkie-talkies so we won’t even have to shout).
We’ve learned a lot about communicating. He rides on the front and I can’t see if there are potholes ahead, so he has to tell me what is coming and what he is planning. We’ve become used to reading each other’s body language on the bicycle, and we’ve learned to apply power and manoeuvre together.
Daisy has been our ticket to travel. She’s taken us for rides with the local cycling club. We’ve visited my parents (a twenty-five mile ride). We’ve cycled to places to go for walks or for tea and cake, as well as just pottering into town to do the shopping.
The tandem has been useful to the community. Daisy has been lent to friends who love cycling. And she has been used to carry people videoing rowing boat races along the towpath (it’s a lot easier to hold the camera steady on the back of a tandem where you’re not worrying about steering than it is from your own bicycle).
It’s a green way to travel. She’s come on holiday with us — traveling on the train and on the bus (the latter dismantled and wrapped in bubble wrap) to use as transportation. She’s been our packhorse when we’ve gone camping, loaded up with pannier bags on the front and the back. She has zero fuel costs, and I married my mechanic so maintenance is pretty cheap, too.
What once started out as a simple solution to the problem of our disparate fitness levels has become a source of adventure, exercise, and fun. I thoroughly recommend it.