One of the things I enjoy about spending Sunday on the water is the feeling of relaxation I get when I am done. My wife and I get to be on the same page, to connect and converse and that is important. Yesterday was even more fun than usual because we did our first tandem bike ride without the shop folks around us as well. I can honestly say from Saturday to Sunday I forgot half of what I had learned about tandem bikes. We had a rough first launch. Tougher than it should have been and wholly my fault. The most important component of tandem biking is communication. I did not communicate effectively at all at first so wobbly we were at first.
We stopped at the bottom of the hill, the worst place of course to stop. We evaluated our first 100-yard ride and then launched again. The second ride was much better. We got into the flow and communication structure we needed. For example, when you are on a bike, it is critical to let the person on the back know about bumps before they happen. The person on the rear does the turn signals, so you have to let them know before you turn. The thing I didn’t do perfectly the second time was braking. You have to be careful about braking with a tandem bike. First off, because it is heavier than a regular bike, that means the brakes have to work harder to stop the bike.
But also because you are not alone, you have to be careful when you brake. We will be practicing braking a few more times. Our goal is to ride from our house to the twins old high school in the next few days and then practice in the parking lot before riding home. Tandem biking is a lot like boating when it comes to going into and leaving a docking area. You don’t want the stoker (back) falling off the tandem bike. You don’t want the rope person falling off the boat, either. IT is a learning experience in the art of communicating with your partner. Lucky for me my partner is amazing at communication. She is always talking about the things we need to do, what comes next. Maybe she should be the front of the tandem bike.