After the 46-mile ride last week, Bugman and I wanted to try a shorter route, but with more of a concentrated climb. We decided to head to the Wildcat Hills Nature Center for a picnic.
We had hoped to get an earlier start to avoid the wind that was forecast to pick up later in the day. Alas, we dawdled and went out into 16-mph-gusting-to-24, building to 28-mph-gusting-to-35. (C’est la vie in Wyobraska.)
We passed another biker pausing for refreshment on the side of the road, and he commended us for dealing with the wind. I joked that I don’t feel any wind because Bugman blocks it all.
Here is my view forward on the tandem:
I don’t see much more than Bugman’s back. This takes some getting used to. I just have to trust where my captain steers, and I have to learn to match my balance with the movements of the bike, which I can’t always anticipate.
We are working on our communication signals. ON, OFF, and SHIFT are pretty standard. I yell CAR when there is a vehicle coming up behind and CLEAR when we can steer a little further from the shoulder. (As an aside – I really appreciate it when cars change to the far lane to pass us – it makes me feel more comfortable. I also like it when they have their headlights on in the daytime – it makes them easier to see in a rear-view mirror vibrating from road bumps.) Bugman has been yelling BUMP to warn me of bumps in the road, which can dent your tailbone if you’re not braced for them, despite the Thudbuster. However, when you have the wind in your ear, OFF can sound a lot like BUMP. Today we sought a word with an “a” vowel sound, to replace BUMP and differentiate it from the other signals. Bugman suggested “pass,” only without the “p.” We’ll see if that sticks …
I might not be able to see what’s ahead of us on the bike (Bugman said that is an advantage on a steep climb), but I can see very well off to the sides, and I have the freedom to look around and take pictures.
Something I learned on this trip:
Post-picnic (menu: eggs, apple, sport beans) photo on the deck of the nature center, with Scottsbluff 15 miles in the distance:
Concerned about curves, gravel, and traffic, Bugman controlled our descent down the steep grade from the nature center. The wind was at times knocking us sideways, but at one point, it was directly behind us, giving us a boost to our top speed of 27.8 mph.
Other ride stats: Total distance 29.65 miles, total climb 1,259 feet.
Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw