Getting started on a tandem
Lady CoMo's rear wheel cleared customs last week. The plan, which had been to get to the cottage early on Friday to meet Mary, was adjusted. I went down to Bertrand's late in the day for a fitting, put her on the new roof rack and drove off into the sunset.
Saturday morning we suited up for our maiden voyage. "Should we walk or ride to the highway?" asked Mary. It's a two-and-a-half kilometer jaunt. We elected to try riding it. Within half a pedal stroke we were rolling on the grass, laughing our heads off. So much for riding.
Our humour faded when we hit the highway. It was three minutes before we could even cross to the opposite side. On the Saturday morning of a long weekend (aka bank holiday) traffic was severe. You could have cut the tension in both us with a knife as we managed a wobbling start that stayed within the margin of the paved shoulder – barely. Mary was pedaling furiously, knowing that I like a fast cadence; I was pedaling slowly knowing Mary likes it slow. We both were steering, we both were trying to see the road ahead, we both were spooked by the holiday traffic careening past us. The bike wobbled, the pedals jerked in fits and starts. We stopped less than a kilometer up the road and walked back to the cottage. It was a lovely morning for a walk.
The week passed. Last Friday we walked over to a nice, large, empty parking lot to practice. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Start. Coast. Stop. Start. Coast. Turn Left. Coast. Turn Right. Etc. "This is just like dance lessons," said Mary. Not a good sign – we tried dance lessons twice and will never do so again.
On Saturday we put her on the car top and drove to the Agricultural Experimental Farm in the centre of Ottawa. The roads were closed to traffic and there's a nice loop of about 2 km, including a small rise that pretends to be a hill. Riding in a circle has its advantages – you never have to stop.
Today we rode directly from home for the first time. It was early morning, traffic was light. We rode past the Farm and down to the river, looped along under the Parliament Buildings, up the Woodroffe bike path, across the Farm, and back home. 45 km total, with stops, starts, bumps, and one real hill that was a piece of cake. We were still talking to each other civilly at the return.
I think we're on a roll.