My wife worked with adults with intellectual disabilities and was very involved with Best Buddies, an organization that pairs adults with disabilities with a buddy from their community. Working at our alma mater, she put together the first ever Best Buddies Alternative Spring Break trip, a week long service trip for college students and their buddies. The trip was a success and she had the good fortune to meet Anthony Kennedy Shriver, founder of Best Buddies.
My wife and her buddy, who has down syndrome, were invited to partake in the Best Buddies Challenge in Hyannisport, MA. Neither had much cycling experience. My wife is from New York City and was close to two decades removed from bicycles. They made up for this lack of experience by renting a tandem bike, once. As an outside observer I suggested upgrading the helmet to full body armor.
The race took place on a hot June morning but they made it. All 20 miles. The stories were painful and comical. My wife is an avid marathoner, and she claimed it was tougher than any marathon she'd run. They met Tom Brady, Bill Belichek, and a host of other celebrities. I'm no pats fan, but that is simply awesome.
Our wedding was in September. We did the usual thing for our registry: place settings, cookware, spatulas.. but we wanted something fun. Our amazon.com registry had tomahawks, jigsaw puzzzles, and, oh yes, a 4 star, 98 review Kent Tandem bike
One day we came home and the biggest cardboard box I have ever seen was blocking our door. And our neighbor's door. The big question was "who bought this??" Answer: Everyone has at least one crazy relative. My crazy aunt bought our tandem.
It sat in the box all winter, but my New Year's resolution is to get her up and running. Assembly was surprisingly simple. The wheel's aren't trued and the brakes need adjusting, but I'm looking forward to tinkering with it. I've been researching bike paths in the area and I hope to have her in top running form by spring, and we're both excited about a new hobby. Maybe I'll share some adventures along the way.
Moral of the story: be thankful for crazy relatives.