I had never seen a bicycle built for four until a week or so ago when we stumbled upon a whole herd of them. I’m not sure exactly what you call a whole bunch of cyclists on bicycles built for two, or three, or even four riders – whole families riding in unison on the same bike! And everyone was smiling. And no one was arguing or complaining. They were happy – at least 100 of them. It was a beautiful sight to behold. A few even stopped a minute so I could take a picture, others just whizzed on by so I had a lot of pics of rear tires and rear ends.
Of course, this prompted the conversation “We could/should do this.” Really? Are you nuts? We’re a team, a pretty good team, but not one that always works in tandem. We each dance to our own music. Hubs is “Meatloaf – Life’s a Lemon and I Want My Money Back” 70’s and 80’s rock and roll and I’m all Norah Jones. You should see us dance! It takes a considerable amount of alcohol to smooth out the differences. And, I have that unfortunate tendency to lead. That’s probably not going to change any time soon. Now, picture those very same people on a tandem bike. Scary thought.
Apparently there are names for each position. The person in the front is the pilot and the person in back is called the stoker. If we were to ever consider such a crazy thing, I’m calling dibs on pilot (it sounds easier and I get to be in charge, ie. lead, which we already know I have experience with). Hubs can be the muscle in the back.I found some very helpful information from a couple who took a 3 1/2 month tour of Europe on a bicycle built-for-two pretty much on a whim and with no experience. Sounds like a “Why Not?” to me. Since their tips for keeping the peace in your relationship while riding tandem pretty much work for relationships in general, I thought I’d pass them along.
Pilot – Do not spit.
Stoker – Do not be a backseat driver.
Pilot – Do not question the Stoker’s pedaling efforts.
Stoker – Do not lean.
Pilot – Communicate – do not expect the Stoker to be a mind reader.
Stoker – Do not suddenly stop pedaling
Pilot/Stoker – Do not walk away from the tandem and assume that the other person is holding it upright.
So maybe you’ll see us on the road someday. If I don’t waive, it’s because I’m holding on for dear life with both hands.