Going tandem

Those of you who know me well will be very familiar with my pathological hatred of bikes and cycling. Yes, I know that this isn’t very ‘outdoorsy’ of me, but it’s just the way it is. However, on occasion I have been persuaded to mount a two-wheeled instrument of death, which has led me on such adventures as an insane 11 mile ride up an Austrian dam.


On another notable occasion, I was also somehow strong-armed into going on a tandem bike ride with my mum. What ensued could have made the greatest tragedy/comedy the world has ever seen.


Thankfully (for me!) I don’t have a copy of any digital photos to hand, so you will have to use your imagination to picture me in the hot seat of a tandem bike with my mum acting as a reluctant second pair of legs behind me.


Things did not start well. We decided to have a practise pedal on the green where the rental shop was based, and promptly fell over. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of a tandem ride, discovering how to balance the bike with another body wobbling around behind you can be a challenge. I also found the steering to be very problematic, as you have to remember that the bike cannot turn in as tight a circle as a normal bicycle can.


Eventually, mum and I managed to pedal off the green in a somewhat straight line. After a few alarming near-misses with other cyclists and obstacles, we began to appreciate the benefit of having two sets of legs to power the wheels. This was cycling made easy!


As I was in control of the steering, my experience of the ride was a little better than my poor mum’s. As I made a few daring swoops and plunged down a hill, my brave mother had to just hold on and hope for the best. So, if ever anyone suggests a tandem ride to you, insist on going in front. The only disadvantage is that your partner will be able to see if you stop pedalling and take a quick breather.


After a day of this adrenaline-pumping activity, we finally dismounted our mighty steed and laid it to rest in the bicycle shop. As we walked away awkwardly, we agreed that it had certainly been an experience.


Funnily enough, we haven’t done it since…


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