Had a great ride yesterday with my 10yo son riding stoker while my girlfriend (usual stoker) rode her single nearby. Special treat for me because usually when we have our three boys riding we are on our Mtn bikes in the dirt and the tandem stays in the garage. With two of the boys off on other adventures we jumped at the chance to get a ride in and the tandem and the single was the perfect choice. We rode a local 30 mile out and back rail to trail which was perfect for my son and GF who is still getting comfortable putting miles on her first single.
When we arrived at the parking lot there was another couple just getting ready to ride away on their older Burley Mtn tandem (I would guess early 90's). We shared tandem talk pleasantries before they pulled away for their ride. A few things I noticed right away was their lack of helmets (not my battle) or any other riding gear, and also their chain was beyond just dry, and actually a bit rusty. One of my personality traits is I want everyone to be happy, including this couple who where total strangers but had that cycling bond. I had chain oil in my vehicle and had a strong desire to just say "hang on a minute while I put some oil on that chain", but I didn't say anything. A few minutes later we passed them on our ride and they had huge smiles on their faces as they squeaked their way down the trail (picture a 65ish yo couple on an older Burley with knobbies, blue jeans, and one tormented drive train).
After lunch on our way back in we caught the couple again at the parking lot. They started asking a few questions about the trail and how far it went, how far we went, and gave a good guestimate about how far they made it. A big part of me again wanted to tactfully supply them with a bottle of chain oil for a tandem that obviously spent its downtime on the side of the house in the elements when not ridden. I also had the desire to convince them to switch to a smoother style tire that would make their pavement riding that much more enjoyable than their 15 yo knobbies (I highly doubt they would ever take this bike off road beyond a simple gravel road). The captain stated he believed they had made it 20 miles out and back and I was just thinking how hard they must have had to work compared to us (I guess this is what people think about us as they pass us by on their super mondo deluxe new rides while we cruise along on our 18 yo but well tuned steed).
I politely never did say anything about their dry rusty drivetrain, but here is the question I post just for conversation. Should I have offered a little bit of a quick fix for their chain or just kept quiet as I did. To see this couple out on the trail was great. They obviously were having fun. I also hope their next ride doesn't find them 10 miles out without a working bike or a cell phone.
Enjoy the day,