On Monday of last week (4/18) Sandy (my stoker) and I finally had an opportunity to take our new tandem out to our favorite riding area. We parked at Rose Lake and followed the Coeur d'Alene River along the chain lakes to Harrison, Idaho. It was incredible. No auto traffic, no pedestrians, just the two of us, a sunny sky, ducks, geese, eagles and herons and the bike rode perfectly. Harrison is a tiny little town (no stop signs) with a small old park in the center of town. Across from the park is a little grocery store with a good deli inside. We split pastrami on rye that must have been 4 inches thick, a few chips, a little shade from the towering trees and the breeze blowing through young new leaves. The ride back to the car at Rose Lake was smooth and pleasant. Sandy confessed that although she has enjoyed our riding together she was never able to enjoy the country side very much because of having to concentrate so intently on her cycling. But with the tandem she was free to look around. She laughed and giggled the entire ride, continually pointing out things to look at, many of which I'd never noticed before. It was the best 39 miles I've ever pedaled.
On our drive back home she bubbled over with plans for subsequent rides. She even insisted on her getting the yard work done during the week so we could ride again this last weekend. So we did.
It's Saturday 4/23 and we were back on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene's again, but going in a different direction this time. That ride was a thirty-eight miler; another sandwich in a different park but still terrific. The last seven miles back to the car was in the rain; I was concerned that this would "dampen" her enthusiasm. No dice. She sang "I've been working on the railroad" all the way back to the car. Then she informed me that we needed to purchase a rack for the back of the bike so that we could carry extra clothes for when the weather changed during our rides. I reminded her that we had no rain gear to which she responded, "then we need to buy it."
Sunday was another ride after church around town then Monday it was back to the Trail again. This time an 18 mile uphill climb to the town of Wallace, Idaho. Another sandwich and a taco this time followed by a fast 18 mile return to the car. You guys are right, tandems can really move when you're going down hill. I was so tense that my shoulders were throbbing by the time the car was in sight. Sandy insisted that we needed to simply make some adjustments to the handlebars and front stem so I could ride more comfortably. "After all", she said, these "short 40 mile rides" are just tune-ups for the rest of the riding season; we need to be able to ride longer!
Sandy brought up a 100 mile event that she's looking forward to us entering in June; O really, yeah, it'll be fun. We'll need to ride a lot of miles between now and then to get prepared. No problem! We'll ride every Saturday and Monday and probably Wednesday evenings too. I think she's become a cycling nut, (I mean that in a good way).
She's talking about selling her road bike and using the money for components to make the tandem faster. This is better than I could have hoped for and I'm definitely not complaining although my legs are decidedly tired today. I hope that the ride she's planning tonight is not too long.
I hope I haven't bored you all too much. It's just that I am so pleased with the way this tandem adventure is working out. I'm beginning to think that the world would be a better place if everyone rode tandems. Thanks again for all your input.
If any of you are in the panhandle area of Idaho, we whole heartedly recommend the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. It's a rail trail that takes you through some beautiful country. If you're up here give us a shout and maybe we can ride with you.