Sunday, 14 February 2010

A bicycle made for two?

I've been wondering about tandems lately. Mostly along the lines of 'wouldn't it be easier to cycle up big hills on touring trips if someone else is also peddling the same bike' type thoughts. Also because I've been on holiday for the past three weeks and, quite frankly, it's a lot easier to dream about big cycling trips if you're not having to think about work, or ironing, or other equally not-very-exciting things that pretend to be everyday necessities of life.

So when the opportunity to try out a hire-tandem came up earlier this week whilst still in sunny Mendoza in Argentina, W and I couldn't resist. Now, it was a rubbish tandem bike, and I'm sure if we got our mitts on a beautiful Thorn touring tandem one we wouldn't have to contend with a crippling saddle, painful handlebar grips, no gears and our feet for brakes (you get the idea). BUT... I would still be stuck at the back of the bike, staring at W's t-shirt and having to crane my neck to either side to get a view. Which, lovely back though it is, ISN'T why I cycle. I want that view of the open road.
Plus I'm a control freak, and if you're stuck at the back of a tandem (which makes you a stoker) you don't have any control. You have to trust your 'pilot' (I'm loving the terminology). And 'W', as the slightly bigger of us would always be the pilot.
This is the man who cycles down hills like he has a death wish and who I've heard falling off a bike ("arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhh" is the subtle verbal clue that alerts me something has gone awry) on several occasions and into a line of cars waiting at a traffic light on another.

Yup, that's who I would have to trust. With my life. Gulp.

So, I'm definitely going to have to do some more thinking before I jump into tandem ownership. But if you ever happen to be in Mendoza and decide to do a tour of the wineries by bike, then do give a tandem a try. At least then you can blame the wobbling on the weird bike, rather than on the wine you've been downing!


  1. I'm so keen to try cycling on a tandem - I have seen no less than four of them out and about in central London in the past three weeks, which makes them a 'craze' in my books - so you might be well ahead of the game. They just look like so much fun, and I love the idea of being able to take turns, and actually talk to one another. Let us know how you get on!

  2. I do think it would be a lot more fun on a half-decent one! Not sure I'm ready to try riding a tandem in London though...