I'll save y'all the hassle of signing up for the AJC; surely it will only increase the amount of junk mail you receive:
Here is what was published in the AJC, courtesy of Rich Wolf a fellow tandemist, the founder of The Tandem Club of Georgia, co-owner of Pennywise CycleTours, and a dear friend....
REAL LIVING: Four pedals, two seats make for one happy couple
Gracie Bonds Staples - Staff
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
They were a married couple on separate career paths with different hobbies to fill their spare time.
Mark was a Lockheed employee who loved bicycling and his wife, Debbie, was a real estate agent who spent most of her time meeting with clients.
They say their marriage might have come loose at the seams had it not been for tandems, the trusty little bicycles memorialized in song: "It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two."
Mark and Debbie did marry in style. At the gazebo in Marietta Square in 1993. But four years in, they had no social life and their "quality" time amounted to dinner at Rio Bravo on Friday nights and the Three Dollar Cafe on Saturdays.
"Clearly, this was not a good situation," Mark said, "and I think we both knew it."
They'd talked about a tandem but never got around to checking one out. They took up golf instead only to discover it demanded more practice, patience and green fees than the two of them were willing to give.
They decided to look at motorcycles, but that only reminded them of tandems.
On Aug. 2, 1997, after a month of searching the Internet, Mark and Debbie headed to Tandems Limited in Birmingham. To test-ride, not buy.
They would spend seven hours test-riding one model after another. Jack and Susan Goertz, the shop owners, schooled them on the dos and don'ts, how to stop and start.
That day, they bought their first tandem, a deep plum Santana.
Debbie, the couple's bookkeeper, frowned at the $3,600 price tag, but Mark had already written the check. The next day they took their tandem for a short, 10-mile loop. They were hooked.
"This was the coolest thing I had ever experienced on a bicycle," said Mark.
No longer would he head out for weekend rides alone while Debbie did her thing. Tandem riding was now their thing and they rearranged their lives around it. They attended rallies and took part in weekend getaways from Texas to Florida to as far north as Ohio. They have amassed a collection of tandem friends who number well into the hundreds.
But it hasn't all been good, they said.
Once, at the Tsali Recreation Area near Bryson City, N.C., the couple found themselves in a deeply eroded creek bed. There, with them still attached, the bike crashed into another metro area duo.
"Oh, you're the couple that landed on Melanie at Tsali," the other couple would remind them over and over again.
You know how it is.
This, though, was now their favorite pastime. Tandem riding had truly taught them the importance of teamwork in a marriage, the importance of long-suffering.
So how could riding the bike change their relationship?
Mark said that every day on a tandem is like the first day of their honeymoon, when time seemed to stand still and everything he did was sweet or funny and everything Debbie did was beautiful.
And there's nothing better than riding through life with someone you love on a bicycle built for two.
Last edited by TandemGeek; 01-30-05 at 10:25 PM.