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  1. #1
    www.secondsummertours.com
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    Needed: A few good tandem stories ....

    A friend of mine, Roy Wallack, is working on another book about cycling; and he needs your successful techniques or strategies to get your tandem partner to finish a ride - when they really didn't want to (or were letting you know they weren't having fun!).

    Roy Wallack, who wrote "Bike for Life" (see a chapter on our website: http://www.secondsummertours.com/articles.php ), is putting together a chapter on favorite tandem strategies to survive a complaining partner on a long ride.

    Roy reverted to the common, "it's only a few miles more" when his partner wanted to put the bike on a bus and call it a day (not what you want to have to deal with on your tandem honeymoon in Europe, eh?).

    Please share your best stories (if you don't mind 'em being public); and Roy is going to select some of the better answers for use in the book.

    Cheers,
    Rob Templin
    www.secondsummertours.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Why would he pick a topic like that? I hope nobody responds; this is really lame.

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  4. #4
    www.secondsummertours.com
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    While this post was for the benefit of my friend Roy Wallack and his new book, I must say (with tongue-in-cheek just a little), the only lame thing I've come across in 40 years of tandem riding, are folks that don't have a sense of humor and a really bad/negative attitude. Fortunately, I don't come across too many folks like this at tandem rallies and other cycling events (where most of us enjoy sharing stories about what works in tandem relationships and what doesn't). Sounds like you need to go for a bike ride my friend!

  5. #5
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SECOND SUMMER View Post
    While this post was for the benefit of my friend Roy Wallack and his new book, I must say (with tongue-in-cheek just a little), the only lame thing I've come across in 40 years of tandem riding, are folks that don't have a sense of humor and a really bad/negative attitude. Fortunately, I don't come across too many folks like this at tandem rallies and other cycling events (where most of us enjoy sharing stories about what works in tandem relationships and what doesn't). Sounds like you need to go for a bike ride my friend!
    I assume that this was directed at me, so I have this to say: Don't presume to lecture me. I didn't say that your friend was lame, I said that his idea for a subject was lame. So instead of explaining why you think it isn't lame, you resort to a personal attack and call ME lame. How lame is that?

  6. #6
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    I have mentioned in the past that my son [Ethan] is autisic and although he is high functioning he has his issues. One of them is that he is overweight due to coordination issues [230lbs 5'9"]. He has not been riding bikes very long for someone that turned 17 years old [today]. It took almost a year to get him to ride a bike. I had to address all the issues that we take for granite. One of the most difficult issues was pedaling. It is easy for us to understand what it takes to move our legs up and down but for him to get all the muscles moving in the right directions at the right time was difficult and challenging. After tacking that, balancing, starting, stopping and turning we were finally successfull. We rode a few 20 mile rides but he was usually slow and ackward. I remember he got yelled at by some other biker on the bike path because he was in the way and so wobbly. I finally thought that maybe a tandem would be funner. For me I could at least ride the pace I wanted to and know that he would not be in danger of hurting himself or others on the bike path. After buying and rebuilding a tandem we started to ride more often. I convinced my wife that Ethan and I should tackle the one day Seattle to Portland [STP] ride. We could have a goal, practice for that goal, be together, loose a few pounds, and just be a little more fit. We did ride and trained a lot, but due to the Seattle weather [I do not ride in the rain], my work, and his school we did not train as much as I would have liked. We only did one 100 mile ride and that was two weeks before the STP. That century was not our best ride since we were both very tired and sore at the end of the ride. I did not think we were going to be able to complete the one day ride but I did not let him know that is what I felt. On the day of the ride I elected not to start at the starting gate due to his issues with large groups and I did not want to have a starting error and fall. We started at 4 am to get an early start [official start is at 4:30 I think]. We made it just before the first rest stop and we had some noise issues from the front wheel. I called my wife [who was chasing us] and let her know that I would need to have her stop at the 50 mile rest area. I almost lost him on when we went over a set of railroad tracks at the 40 mile mark. He has never come close to falling but he was able to hold on after smashing into my back. After changing front wheel and getting a little bite to eat we continued on. It took us 5 hours and 20 minutes to get to the half way mark. We were both surprised at our average speed for our second century we have ever had [we usually average 15-16mph]. We were both feeling OK at the time and we changed clothes to continue on the second part. The rollers on the second part of the ride it was taking a lot out of us. I was encouraging him as much as possible and since we were so fast during the first half of the ride I took longer breaks that I was planning on. I would tell him is was not much further and 'I think this is the last hill". Even when we were going down the hills faster than anyone else he was getting more discouraged with every new hill we came up to. I was getting tired by the 150 mile mark but I still thought we may do it. He has always complained about his butt hurting but he was doing OK at this mile mark. Just as we got to the 170 mile mark the rear wheel broke some spokes. It was getting late in the day and we were running out of time. My lovely wife was showed up within 15 minute of the break down and we were on the road again but we have lost about 30 minutes. I was very discouraged at that time and really thought we may not make it. All that day I thought we were. Things were going well, problems were arising but we over came them all. But after this rear wheel issue and the time lost, it took all the wind out of my sails. I was telling Ethan I did not think we could make it and he said 'Dad, we came all this way and I am not going to stop and you better not stop either!' With that I realised that he was right. My son has no real friends at school, works hard everyday dealing with his speech, learning difficulties, and muscle control. The roles were reversed and he was encouraging me to go on. My son complains of every pain and discomfort but if he is willing to go thru it all then I needed to also. The last 30 miles were the hardest but we did finally make it with 30 minutes to spare. I can assure you this, if my son was ready to pack it it I would have too. After crossing the finish line my wife and daughter showed up to congraduate us. Ethan was crying and could not believe he was able to do this. He was so happy. My wife did not think we were going to finish the ride in one day but started to believe the longer we were riding. The best thing is that the second day it rained and as stated before, I do not ride in the rain.

  7. #7
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
    Why would he pick a topic like that? I hope nobody responds; this is really lame.
    Didn't your mother ever teach you, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything"?



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    @Butcher- Paragraphs would help make what you wrote more easily readable.

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=SECOND SUMMER;10203686] your successful techniques or strategies to get your tandem partner to finish a ride - when they really didn't want to

    Nothing too memorable or special - but tandemspouse and I ride where it's hot, and I'm happier with hot than she is. So sometimes, with 40kms or so to go, she's wilting

    15 to 20 years ago our kids' favourite bedtime story was all about needing a trip to the Bunny Planet (where the bunny queen is Janet, who serves toasted tangerines if my memory serves) in times of hardship or discomfort.

    Sunshine shadow bunny ears on the road alongside and the promise of toasted tangerines have often been good for a hour or so!

  9. #9
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
    Didn't your mother ever teach you, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything"?
    What's with the personal attacks? Rob said that I am humorless and have a bad attitude and you call me rude. If you disagree with me then explain yourself, but the lazy way out is to criticize the person rather than defend the idea. Leave that to the politicians.

    Rob was asking for "favorite tandem strategies to survive a complaining partner on a long ride". To have a "favorite" strategy, you must have had this problem frequently enough that you have a chance to try several strategies and have settled on a "favorite" one. This implies a chronically complaining partner. And who do think this chronically complaining partner is assumed to be? The stoker, of course; who is most likely to be a wife or girlfriend. Wow, stories about a nagging stoker are really humorous. How many stokers are happy to hear "She's not pedalling" for the umpteenth time? Now do you see why I think this is lame?

  10. #10
    Senior Member DCwom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
    This implies a chronically complaining partner. And who do think this chronically complaining partner is assumed to be? The stoker, of course; who is most likely to be a wife or girlfriend.
    Steering clear of the personal stuff... If my stoker is complaining and wants to stop, then I've screwed up as captain, I set the pace, cadence, route, and usually ride destination. Thankfully my stoker/wife has never asked to quit. In a driving rainstorm she once said "I'm ready to turn-around anytime you are"; I was turning the tandem at the words "I'm Ready to...".

    Advice to the author, Roy, most tandem teams are married (or otherwise bonded) couples so most "stories" will be relationship based, coaching or encouraging a team member not in a physical or family relationship is likely a very different thing.

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    If you're smart, you'll listen to your stoker. I agree that if your stoker is complaining, you're not being a good captain. The whole idea of tandeming (at least with a person who is close to you) is to have an enjoyable experience together. Granted there will be times when you (singular or plural) will find yourselves in over your head(s). There might be some complaining from both parties, but generally, if it's not fun for both of you, you should probably not do it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Stray8's Avatar
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    We haven't gone on rides that are too long yet, just neighborhood rides, but with the destinations usually involving some form of ice cream, caramel mocha frappacinos or "bo bo" teas, stoker motivation hasn't really been an issue...



  13. #13
    Senior Member Stray8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
    Why would he pick a topic like that?
    In truth, I actually wondered this too...




    Quote Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
    If you disagree with me then explain yourself,
    Okay:

    Quote Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
    I hope nobody responds;
    This is a somewhat mean-spirited wish and besides, you "responded" yourself after it sat here unreplied to for almost two days.

    Quote Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
    this is really lame.
    This is just an expressed opinion and you're entitled to say it.


    Last edited by Stray8; 01-08-10 at 01:21 PM.

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    I feel like need to say something here. I know Rob Templin not well but a little bit. He is a cycling icon.
    My first real racing bike was a green and yellow Masi Gran Criterium. I loved that bike and quite often people would say to me "that's Rob Templins bike"
    I bought it used from somebody and I did not know it was Rob's former bike and was probably the only green and yellow Masi in existence.
    Fast forward a few years. I bought my first tandem (an Andy Gilmour) and convinced a racing friend to ride it with me on the now defunct Tecate Ensenada bike ride.
    We found ourselves in the front pack screaming along at top speed and Rob was riding tandem with Pete Penseyres (RAAM record holder). Half way up the first big climb we lost contact and and finished the best we could.
    Also encountered Rob on some other races in Mexico. Living in San Diego, there were actually more and better bike races in Mexico because people there actually wanted to watch and the police would control the roads.
    That would never happen in San Diego because people would ***** and complain about roads being closed for a bike race and the police would need to be paid by somebody. I even rode a race starting in Tijuana that Greg Lemond showed up and won. Last time I saw Rob was over a year ago on a regular ride we do in back country.
    He is certainly someone who has been involved cycling in a positive way for all his life and it's surprising to read some of comments here.

  15. #15
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    I'd like the author of the story to post the request, thus we know it's genuine, and perhaps the author will explain himself.

    Otherwise anyone who's writing an article can search BF and "borrow" whatever material they like.

    Call me skeptical; I tend to not respond to "friend of a friend" asking for testimonials.

    YMMV.
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

    Visit my blog.

  16. #16
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    Good or bad, everyone has the right to express their opinion - within reason - in these forums. I accept that as part of the anonymous nature (for some) of such forums; as well as expecting the rare response that doesn't seem to make sense in terms of tone or attitude.
    Roy Wallack (former cycling magazine editor) called me a couple of weeks ago with a request that I thought was pretty straight-forward and interesting - especially after having been involved in the tandem community for over 40 years. He just wanted some experiences (and strategies) that folks have used to complete challenging tandem rides (or tours) with someone that, maybe, wasn't as passionate about the sport as themselves or just new to two wheels; married or otherwise. Roy was/is working on a new cycling book.
    Anyone that's been involved with tandems for any length of time has some great stories to tell about things that have gone well and some things that didn't with their riding partner on epic rides - I've heard a few of these tales over the years at tandem rallies, etc.
    I mentioned this forum and T@H as good sources of potential information to Roy, and he asked if I would pass the request on - since I'm somewhat of a regular, and he wasn't that familiar with these tandem forums. Simple request. I did mention the link about his first cycling book in the original post, if anyone wanted to do a bit more background checking. I had helped him with the first book, by the way; a chapter dealing with bone-related cycling/health issues. Anyway, I do appreciate those that took the time to respond here and off-line in an appropriate manner ... thanks!
    Cheers,
    Rob Templin
    Second Summer Tours

  17. #17
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    Inspiring Story

    Quote Originally Posted by Butcher View Post
    I have mentioned in the past that my son [Ethan] is autisic and although he is high functioning he has his issues. One of them is that he is overweight due to coordination issues [230lbs 5'9"]. He has not been riding bikes very long for someone that turned 17 years old [today]. It took almost a year to get him to ride a bike. I had to address all the issues that we take for granite. One of the most difficult issues was pedaling. It is easy for us to understand what it takes to move our legs up and down but for him to get all the muscles moving in the right directions at the right time was difficult and challenging. After tacking that, balancing, starting, stopping and turning we were finally successfull. We rode a few 20 mile rides but he was usually slow and ackward. I remember he got yelled at by some other biker on the bike path because he was in the way and so wobbly. I finally thought that maybe a tandem would be funner. For me I could at least ride the pace I wanted to and know that he would not be in danger of hurting himself or others on the bike path. After buying and rebuilding a tandem we started to ride more often. I convinced my wife that Ethan and I should tackle the one day Seattle to Portland [STP] ride. We could have a goal, practice for that goal, be together, loose a few pounds, and just be a little more fit. We did ride and trained a lot, but due to the Seattle weather [I do not ride in the rain], my work, and his school we did not train as much as I would have liked. We only did one 100 mile ride and that was two weeks before the STP. That century was not our best ride since we were both very tired and sore at the end of the ride. I did not think we were going to be able to complete the one day ride but I did not let him know that is what I felt. On the day of the ride I elected not to start at the starting gate due to his issues with large groups and I did not want to have a starting error and fall. We started at 4 am to get an early start [official start is at 4:30 I think]. We made it just before the first rest stop and we had some noise issues from the front wheel. I called my wife [who was chasing us] and let her know that I would need to have her stop at the 50 mile rest area. I almost lost him on when we went over a set of railroad tracks at the 40 mile mark. He has never come close to falling but he was able to hold on after smashing into my back. After changing front wheel and getting a little bite to eat we continued on. It took us 5 hours and 20 minutes to get to the half way mark. We were both surprised at our average speed for our second century we have ever had [we usually average 15-16mph]. We were both feeling OK at the time and we changed clothes to continue on the second part. The rollers on the second part of the ride it was taking a lot out of us. I was encouraging him as much as possible and since we were so fast during the first half of the ride I took longer breaks that I was planning on. I would tell him is was not much further and 'I think this is the last hill". Even when we were going down the hills faster than anyone else he was getting more discouraged with every new hill we came up to. I was getting tired by the 150 mile mark but I still thought we may do it. He has always complained about his butt hurting but he was doing OK at this mile mark. Just as we got to the 170 mile mark the rear wheel broke some spokes. It was getting late in the day and we were running out of time. My lovely wife was showed up within 15 minute of the break down and we were on the road again but we have lost about 30 minutes. I was very discouraged at that time and really thought we may not make it. All that day I thought we were. Things were going well, problems were arising but we over came them all. But after this rear wheel issue and the time lost, it took all the wind out of my sails. I was telling Ethan I did not think we could make it and he said 'Dad, we came all this way and I am not going to stop and you better not stop either!' With that I realised that he was right. My son has no real friends at school, works hard everyday dealing with his speech, learning difficulties, and muscle control. The roles were reversed and he was encouraging me to go on. My son complains of every pain and discomfort but if he is willing to go thru it all then I needed to also. The last 30 miles were the hardest but we did finally make it with 30 minutes to spare. I can assure you this, if my son was ready to pack it it I would have too. After crossing the finish line my wife and daughter showed up to congraduate us. Ethan was crying and could not believe he was able to do this. He was so happy. My wife did not think we were going to finish the ride in one day but started to believe the longer we were riding. The best thing is that the second day it rained and as stated before, I do not ride in the rain.
    Butcher, I really enjoyed your story. Made me cry : )

  18. #18
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    +1, Butcher. Very moving and a lesson for us all.

    A different twist on the original request would be complementary stories on captains motivating stokers and stokers motivating captains during tough times. Cruising along on a tandem is easy. When you're both working hard, pushing to whatever represents a personal limit, the psychology is very interesting, very different from what we (captains and stokers) might have experienced during individual athletic endeavors.
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  19. #19
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    Its not something I would read either. We love our tandem and any time spent together on a long or tough ride is a shared positive experience.

  20. #20
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    Having worked in the tandem biz for so many years, I've been very lucky to enjoy many, many tandem rallies around the country (my favorites over the years have been the MTR and the Northwest gigs); as well as various tandem competitions. While there have always been a small minority of riders that I come across that described tandems as "divorce machines" (when I tried to sell 'em on the 'bike-built-for-two' concept), most have been positive about their experiences and how the tandem enhanced their relationship.

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised that some folks are sensitive to how they've handled problems that inevitably arise when putting in years of tandem miles together; most are happy, however, to share their experiences and how they got through these challenges. Meeting new riders/friends at rallies and cycling events across the country has given me with some great memories - and stories - of teams that have learned to enhance their skills by working together and learning what works (and doesn't) for 'em when the miles, occasionally, take their toll. It's made me really appreciate those couples/teams that can share in a honest way without the ego getting in the way; often with a great sense of humor - something that I'm still working on!

    Cheers,
    Rob Templin
    www.secondsummertours.com

  21. #21
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    ... thanks for sharing Butcher!
    Rob Templin
    www.secondsummertours.com

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    Hi everyone--

    I'm the guy who started all this. I didn't mean to offend anyone. I love riding tandems, did my honeymoon on a tandem (Nice to Rome, 1994), rode my kid to school on a tandem for 6 years, have written many articles extolling the virtues of tandems and tandeming, and own two of them myself (Santana Soveriegn and Raleigh Companion). I asked Rob Templin to post that question because I thought my experience might have been common to many, and would reveal many good strategies for reconciling it. The question actually originates from one day of riding in my life: August 12, 1994.

    My new wife and I were on our last day of our honeymoon ride from Nice, France to Rome. She had not been a cyclist or athletic before she met me, but seemed to fall in love with tandeming when I'd brought home a test bike to review for Bicycle Guide magazine (I was the editor in 1993). We ended up riding all over the place, and when we were planning our honeymoon, she suggested that we do a tandem trip. I was overjoyed, of course.

    The trip was great in every way. There were some huge challenges for her, particularly a 2-hour hill climb out of the isolated llittle fishing village of Levanto (near Portofino), but she handled it all without complaining. Her main problems were those of the typical beginner: forgetting to eat and drink continually, so she'd bonk occasionally. She insisted that we stop for proper restaurant meals every day (instead of eating tuna out of cans, as I like to do) and get decent lodging (instead of camping). No problem. Italians love you on any bike, and on a tandem, you are a superstar. Whenever we stopped, we were surrounded 5-people deep--grandfathers, little kids, you name it. Elsa loved the attention; it reaffirmed to her that a tandeming honeymoon was a great way to go.

    But then we came to the last day. Although it was to be the longeest of the trip-- 90 -miles -- the route into Rome from the north coastal road is mainly flat. No problem-- we were in shape by then. But a few things added to the difficulty: a 30 mph headwind, a rear wheel greatly out of true and literally falling apart. I'm no master wheel builder; my spoke tightening prowess saw several spokes actually pulled through the rim. We were wobbling along, ready to blow any second for the last 60 miles. I gave her orders not to stand up and therefore put any extra torque on the wheel, which is a real bummer when your rear-end is crying, as her was.

    As our bike was breaking down, so was Elsa. She began asking that we stop and take a bus. Being a guy who never stops , I was alarmed. But I saw this as the first test of the new marriage diplomacy skills that I knew I must develop. So we stopped, fueled up, got hydrated, I massaged her legs, pumped her up with the glory of finishing the ride compleetly on our own power and taking the all-important picture at the "Roma" city limits sign, then took the final logical step to getting this thing done: I lied. We had 50 miles to go, so I told her 30.

    As we rode past various kilometer signs that clearly showed more mileage than what I was telling her, I simply suggested that she was not converting the km-to-miles correctly. As her rear end began to hurt more and more, and the complaining ratcheted up more and more, I exaggerated the lies, in between painting a picture of the glee and amazement we will experience when we reach our goal, and the admiration we will have from our friends and family back home when we recount the tale. I told her how we were lucky to be experiencing this fantastic bonding experience that other couples never get to have, how it was making us closer.

    Finally, we stopped at a roadside food stand, just as the main road turned inland to Rome for the final stretch. The proprietor spoke English. I grimaced as he told her we still had 20-odd miles to go. She looked at me with rage. Her hot Latina blood was boiling. I closed my eyes in anticipation of the blow, surely verbal, maybe physical.

    Then the proprietor said something that changed everything. "I so much admire what you have accomplished. Surely that is a 1000 km ride! I know of no Italian woman who would that. And you say you never rode a bike much before this. Your husband is a lucky man!"

    Elsa's expression changed. She smiled politely to the proprietor. Then she walked over to me and said, "okay, let's get going before it gets dark."

    "I got lucky," I said.

    "You know it," she replied.

    We took our joyous picture at the Roma city limits sign. Then we rode another 10km and found a decent hotel. A block before we got then, the rear wheel collapsed. About 15 minutes later, so did she.




    So that's my story of my tandem-partner crisis. I figured many of you out there in tandemland would have something like it, and probably had developed better methods of handling it.
    Last edited by RoyWallack; 01-19-10 at 03:12 PM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyWallack View Post
    Hi everyone--

    I'm the guy who started all this. ... I love riding tandems, did my honeymoon on a tandem (Nice to Rome, 1994)...

    So that's my story of my tandem-partner crisis. I figured many of you out there in tandemland would have something like it, and probably had developed better methods of handling it.
    There appears to be a major demographic bulge in the tandem-riding crowd, with far fewer people in other demographics: folks who had been married long enough not try something like the above comprise the bulge. As you said, you got lucky. Tandem riding involves trust. So does a solid marriage. There are some out there that are having a ball without having been married a quarter century or more. But they are in a small minority.

    I think the reason src7916 considered it lame, is that so many of us would never coerce our stoker to keep going through deception or other tricks. It could lead to reluctance to ride.

    Then again in my case, I have never had the opportunity - she will keep going long after I'm spent...

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    Riding Heaven's Highwayson the grand tour
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    RoyWallack....that is a great story, very funny and really well written...felt like I was standing there with you guys and that English speaking proprietor while very much enjoying watching you dodge that bullet!

    Thank you for visiting this forum and sharing that experience. Best wishes on your new book. I'm sure there are more than a few of us that will be quite interested in the finished product.

    Bill J.

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    I have been known to take liberties with mileage estimates but not more than 10 miles.

    One of the places we like to vacation and ride is Cambria, CA.
    From there you have easy access to Big Sur and other nice places.
    One day we decided to ride inland from Cambria on Santa Rosa Creek Rd.
    The road started out flat and gradually became very narrow, windy and highly scenic.
    The road was sprinkled with Trantulas (live) which is something I have never seen before or since then.
    Also we saw flocks of turkeys along the side of the road.
    We rode through a tree tunnel along a creek.
    The further we went the steeper the road became.
    Finally we came to a wall of a hill. There was a traffic sign part way up the hill and instead of it being vertical it was slanted because the hill so steep. I shifted to our lowest gear and we pushed as hard as we could and then came to a stop.
    My wife was in tears because this hill was so intimidating. I had no choice but to abort and turn back.
    A few years later we returned and I rode the same route on my single.
    When I came to that same hill, it took everything I had to get up it.
    I think it must have exceeded 20%. There were plenty more steep hills after that until I hit Hwy 46.
    Another climb on Hwy 46 to the summit and a then long screaming downhill back to coast Hwy 1.

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