Our first tandem ride

Bugman and I headed down to Denver for a weekend to pick up our brand-new Co-Motion Tandem. (Yippie!!) On the way home, we stopped to visit some friends and bike geeks (who own Cozy Cow Dairy – check them out!) in Windsor, Colorado.

They were kind enough to shepherd us along on our first long tandem ride.

We’d had some practice on bike paths, and had advice from the bike shop (read it here). Still, I was a bit nervous being on the back, and kept trying to “steer” the bike at first. I finally figured out how to settle in and leave the driving to Bugman. All I had to do was pedal and listen for Bugman’s signals to shift or stop.

First, we pedaled out to the Swetsville Zoo, which turned out not to be a zoo but rather a delightfully quirky sculpture park.

swetsville

We timed things perfectly, arriving at the westernmost part of our journey – the crest of the bridge at the zoo entrance – just as a stiff wind kicked up and scoured us with road grit. Glad we didn’t have to bike into that wind the whole way! After a tour of the sculptures and a homemade energy bar snack, we pedaled on.

We didn’t get far.

Flat tire!

Our friend changed the flat tire so speedily, I wanted to time him, a la "The Christmas Story."

Our friend changed the flat tire so speedily, I wanted to time him, a la “The Christmas Story.”

After fixing the flat, we pedaled a bit further north before we got to turn east and south and have the wind at our backs. (Great idea to plan a ride that heads northwest so you can hitch the prevailing winds back!)

photo-19

Our first long tandem ride, and we’re all smiles!

Yes, the wind was at our backs. BUT – see those clouds in the distance? It was some weather rolling in off the Rockies.

We truly had “road mojo” on this day.

We stopped at our second destination on the trip – High Hops Brewery – a fantastic combo of a brewery / hops farm / greenhouse / garden center. Just as we were settling down with a beer in the greenhouse, we heard a strange sound.

Rain!

Whew! That was lucky to have reached shelter just in time! We could even wheel our bikes into the greenhouse so they didn’t get wet.

Then the noise got louder.

Graupel!

I only just recently learned the term for this odd little snowball. We missed the main graupel fall, thank goodness, but we caught a little bit of it on our final (very cold!) leg of the ride. It stings when it hits bare flesh!

The majority of our ride had been out on county roads – few stops, little traffic. Our final leg in town was probably the scariest part of the whole ride. It takes us newbies extra time to start and stop a tandem, compared to our regular bikes. We also can’t turn as sharply as on a regular bike, and with such a long wheelbase, it takes longer to complete a turn. Riding in traffic is not real fun.

We drove to a hamburger joint for dinner, then strapped the tandem atop the car and headed home to Nebraska, through 60 mph winds that closed some area highways.

After that journey, we know the bike rack can stand up to just about anything!

Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw

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