Yes, this is Natalie. I’ll be posting here sometimes too. I’m here to let you know that I am seriously excited about this trip to Europe — AND our future trips as well! I am already thinking about Iceland, which is where I want us to go next. ? So to all of you who think Pete is the only one excited about this, Nope! I am SOOO excited! I really really really am enjoying the bike, even more than I anticipated! And it was honestly not hard to get used to, as I feared it might be. I have loved all our longer distance road bike rides, and this is a way we can “see the world” but still have adventures too. It allows us to travel together more, in a way Pete will like better, and in a way I will love too. So stay tuned!
We rode our tandem again today. This time we rode from North Salt Lake to the marina, about 43 miles. We had a headwind both ways. I’m not kidding. We made a few rookie mistakes putting the bike together (it has to fold in half to fit in our truck) but everything turned out fine.
One thing I like the most about this bike is that we can easily talk to each other while we ride.
A special kind of cheap
I just spent an hour trying to save $15 on a jacket for Natalie. Splitting the value of my time evenly with the salesperson, we are both valued at $7.50 hour. I’m a special kind of cheap.
My desire to get a few bucks off really doesn’t make sense when you consider that the jacket is too expensive even at $15, $25 or $40 off. I already crossed the “money is no object” barrier when I decided to get a Patagonia Houdini jacket for Natalie. It is super light, super compact, and waterproof – which is what we need to fit 3 weeks of clothing and gear into luggage about half the size of a normal carry on.
Natalie wanted a neckrest. She needs one in Church too. The bike has her laid back at an angle that requires exertion to hold her head up straight. Same problem in Church, just not so much… I started searching for something specifically made for a recumbent hard-shell seat. Most were over $100, some far over. Most didn’t look that great. I didn’t know if any of them would fit her seat. All would require me drilling holes in the seat. So I released my inner redneck:
Spatula ($5.99 at Smiths)
Golf club covers ($22 for 4 on Amazon – and I was able to match the color to the bike… I have a few left over so I will check on mounting one in her pew at Church.)
Super Velcro ($5.49 on Amazon for two small strips – slightly cheaper at Lowes.) This stuff isn’t velcro, but it is a similar concept, just far more robust. But $5 for about 4 inches? Sheesh.
I finished the job with some foam padding from the garbage and some duct tape (to hold the foam in place under the golf club cover.)
Here is the finished product (total cost a little over $30.) We’ll see if it stays on…
Our heroes change as our interests change. Today I tip my hat to Ethel MacDonald of Missoula Montana. Ethel is a great grandmother who took up tour cycling at the age of 65 and now, approaching 80, has put down 10,000 miles around the world solo riding on her pink Brompton folding bike (she actually has two bikes – a second one is stashed with a friend in Europe, making it easier for her to ride there.)
Here is a CNN article about her.
Our tandem arrived on Wednesday. Saturday was our first opportunity to go for a ride. It was threatening to storm, be we were going to ride no matter what. I was really worried we weren’t going to like it as much as I’d hoped – kind of like when I was a kid at Christmas and I’d imaging how magical everything was going to be on Christmas day, and then it wouldn’t be quite so magical and I’d mope around for a few days afterwards. I really had my hopes set high, so I knew it was likely the experience wouldn’t match my anticipation. I was also worried we would be super slow. The bike weighs a lot more than I had expected. I didn’t do my research well enough – I assumed it was going to be in the 50-60 pound range, but it turns out to be a 80-90 pounder.
We started on the frontage road near 72nd west and I-80. I took a spin around the parking lot alone to make sure I could control it before I subjected Natalie to my skills. It rode nicely – a little easier than the Azub. Natalie got into her seat and struggled a bit to clip in (we are using egg beater pedals, which are quite a bit different than what she used on her road bike.) Once clipped in she started pedaling while I kept my feet down to balance us if we struggled to stay upright. It was unnecessary. We were solid. I clipped in and we rode for a little over 30 minutes at about 18 miles per hour.
We took a pit stop at the marina and then headed back to the car. We were a little slower returning as a headwind had picked up. We probably averaged about 16 miles per hour. Natalie was able to look around, take her phone out to take pictures and videos, and enjoy the ride. She had been apprehensive about what it would feel like to ride on the back – it turns out she likes it.
We overshot our truck on the way back to add a few more miles to our ride. Riding a bit over 20 miles. We are looking forward to our next ride.