RALLY CYCLES THROUGH TROUP by Trey Wood
A tandem bike rally is composed of bicycles with more than one seat. The captains sits in front and the stoker in back.
A one-seat bicycle is known as a “single” to the tandem riders, who say they are gaining in numbers and becoming more common in almost every state, including the Peach State.
This is the ninth Georgia rally put on by Roger Strauss and Eve Kofksy of Marietta, who have taken their tandem teams through Americus, Madison, Statesboro, Athens and, now, LaGrange.
“We’ve heard a lot about this rally and how good it is,” said rider Kevin Vinson of The Colony, Texas, who rides with his wife, Linda.
“It’s our second year coming to Georgia for the tour.”
The tandem bicyclists have the luxury of added weight, making the bikes more stable, easier to move uphill and, most importantly, giving the rides a social atmosphere.
“The best way to ride a tandem is with other tandems,” said eight-time Georgia rally veteran Mark Livingood of Kennesaw, who rides with his wife, Debbie.
“You know, you’re out with other couples. Riding tandems together is like sitting at a coffee table...because you can have a nice social discussion going on during it. With single bikes, what you’re going to run into is single people or people who have nothing to talk about.”
The riders also hang out together after the rides. This weekend, the group is based at Hampton Inn and several participants will visit Butts Mill Farm as a group tonight.
Many of the riders travel all over the country and internationally for the tandem rallies. From California to Texas, Idaho to Tennessee, rallies have been created in every corner of America.
“We met some people, it was back in 2002, we attended the Southwest Tandem Rally with a lot of these people, they were from Georgia, and they all talked about the Georgia Tandem Rally,” Vinson said.
The Vinsons have ridden through dirt storms, 60 mph winds and around the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
It’s a way to get closer to the person or people you’re riding with. Livingood and Vinson ride with their spouses. Eric Osgood and Linda Wood, husband and wife, ride a three-seater tandem with Eric’s father, Don, but it’s not the cheapest way to get closer to the ones you love.
The Vinsons chose a Trek T2000 tandem which can cost $2,500. The Osgood’s Thorn Trident costs almost $1,320 per seat for three seats, and it’s an English-made bicycle, so shipping could be expensive. To riders, however, the benefits far outweigh the costs.
“People who come out here to ride tandems have similar dispositions,” said Livingood. “They enjoy their spouse, they enjoy fitness, they enjoy the outdoors, they have that affinity for it.
“Motorcyclists, bicyclists... Motorcyclists and bicyclists are pretty much the same, except we’re in better shape.”