(also posted elsewhere):
Our day started great by meeting rtool (left) who had come in from Ohio IIRC and MetroBostonian JFB (center) for the metric portion of the Massbike Summer Century.
It was great meeting them though I had no real chance to exchange any more than a few words with rtool, my loss. His machine was quite interesting, a highly evolved recumbent trike, even with a brake light, I believe. Once we started it became apparent that a tandem and a recumbent are not compatible. A tandem just flies downhill, and we needed to maintain as much speed as possible to climb the next uphill. So we would get separated quickly. Eventually Sharon and I decided we'd keep going, then stop at key points for water and munchies to let us regroup. I had programmed the route into my GPS so we could zip through the various turns with confidence.
Then two misfortunes occurred almost simultaneously. They missed a turn southward in Concord Center, which put them quite a way behind. And as we were climbing the Sudbury River valley up to Verrill Farm our RD broke. Blankety-blank Vintage French equipment!
We made it to V.F. and lo! there was a sag wagon waiting patiently. I borrowed a few tools and attempted a field repair, but he didn't have an open-end 14mm wrench.
We finally decided we couldn't continue so the sag wagon took me back to my car. As we were driving away I noticed JFB and rt climbing up the valley but that was the last we saw of them. At least we made phone contact so we could explain our situation. (I do wish we could have partaken of the post-ride beer from Harpoon and sandwiches from Redbone's BBQ.
I picked up Sharon and the stricken bike and we went home where I had another Simplex RD stashed away for just such an occasion. After a quick lunch I did quick RD swap!
Sharon and I then drove out to Bedford and started riding again, finishing the day with 45.35 miles. Not bad, in fact a great afternoon of riding, but not what we'd expected. We topped off the day by stopping at our favorite organic farm stand. Instead of Redbone's for dinner we had our own, and my choice of Harpoon's was their Leviathan IPA, not for the fainthearted I should mention.
Our afternoon ride was great fun. The opening ride was a different experience for us. We don't usually ride with groups. There were other cyclist out too seemingly unaware that other bikes (and cars) populated their roads too. One large group was stopped blocking half of Main St in Concord.
Earlier on one rider had slowed significantly in front of us as we approached a slight uphill with cars approaching from the rear so we couldn't pass. Hey c'mon guy, don't make us hit the brakes and lose all our momentum here! We passed him eventually, and then half a mile later he hammered past us. Oh well, it was still great fun. The Massbike people were great! JFB and rt were great. Our paths just took a different direction.
Addendum: I don't mean to be negative on the ride, the riders, or the day. It's just that a tandem is a different beast from a solo bike. It can neither stop, accelerate, nor maneuver as easily. Acceleration requires more energy. If someone slows in front of your solo bike you just slow also, and maybe go around if possible. On a tandem you can slow, but golly, you hate to do that and then have to push to get back up to speed. Especially on a planned longer ride you just know you're going to want that energy later in the day! A tandem needs more space and road distance to pass someone else safely. And since the stoker can't see the road surface, it is essential that the captain either miss all the big bumps (hard to do!) or see them far enough in advance to give the stoker enough warning time to react. When you get right down to it, a tandem isn't compatible with anything else! I suppose that's why we always feel more comfortable riding by ourselves.
JFB, how did you guys get on with the rest of the ride? You survived the run up to Harvard okay, I hope? And the run down?? It looks like it would have tested our brakes!