We feel in love with tandem bikes leisurely riding through the streets of Key West, on our honeymoon. Hubby drove, I was seated behind him awe-struck, drinking in the sights of this beautiful island covered with colorful flowers, giant shrubs. We enjoyed the quiet conversations, the nearness of one another, the team work and trust required to ride together on our tandem bike. Admittedly, those first few minutes riding together was a bit of a learning curve, but the awkwardness was quickly replaced with smooth journeying through a paradise town.
Our honeymoon ended as real life started. We had tasks of finishing college and working. Precious children began being added to our family. But during quiet times of reflection over our honeymoon jaunts through Key West, we continued to dream of how one day we would love to own a tandem bike.
Twelve years and six kids later, all of our children were requesting bikes for Christmas, with the exception of Blueberry. She wanted skates. Aware that there would be wheels speeding all through our neighborhood, attached to our kids, whom we are tasked at keeping up with, we knew bikes for us would be in order. But why get two, when we could just get one? The perfect Christmas gift for one another, a tandem bike. A dream realized.
Our first ride together was delightful, despite a few times of one of us leaning to far to one side. A bigger challenge was when Hubby gave me the front row seat. He had a bit of trouble letting me drive at first. We will just say, that he was not as trusting of my steering capabilities, so he would overreact and would overcorrect his balance, causing a very wobbly ride for us. After a few minutes, he got much better of trusting that I was not trying to run us into a vehicle. Over all, he prefers being in command of the bike and I prefer riding in the rear following along. I do a lot better following than he does anyways. I just prefer a heads up before he takes a sudden turn or stop.
This past weekend we went for another ride together. It wasn’t quite as smooth. Our two littles are still a bit slow riding their bikes. We have unsuccessfully been on the look out for a used bike trailer to pull the younger ones in for family bike rides. After looking for 2nd hand one for over a month, we went hurriedly out to buy a new one this weekend, as we wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather. We couldn’t find a store with them in stock. However, while in one store, we found a seat that mounts behind the bikers seat. We decided to give the seat a whirl for Dewberry, our youngest, as we really wanted to take advantage of the warm sunshine.
Adding a child’ seat to the tandem bike, made riding very challenging. Dewberry loved riding. She delighted herself in tires spinning, leaning over to one side the majority of the ride. We fought the bike for our balance – and hers, trying to correct for her perch. We were not only facing a disequilibrium to our riding, but comfort was downgraded considerably. Upon mounting the child’s seat, the back rider was forced to inch forward to the front of their seat, making adjustments for the positional change by turning ones knees out as they peddled to limit their knees smacking on to the handle bars. Knees were still smashed, which further knocked us off-balance..
In addition, our little Strawberry was meandering along on her bike. Our goal was to stay behind her as we rode. Most of our bike ride, Hubby and I had our feet tip-tapping the ground, balancing the tandem bike, Dewberry leaning over to gaze at the tires. Once Strawberry would get far enough ahead enabling us to move at pace fast enough to keep balanced on the bike, Strawberry’s eye would catch hold of some glorious wonder ripe for telling us about. Other times she would believe she had left us behind and moved too far ahead. So, she would stop.
Balance. Stop. Balance. Stop. Through the neighborhood we went. Our older kids riding much further ahead.
We laughed practically the entire mile of bike riding. Commenting as we repeatedly balanced and stopped, on the similarities of marriage and tandem bike riding. A little shaky at first, until you learn how to lean in to it, trust each other, and communicate.
Oh, but then come kids. The balance is disrupted for a while. The ride gets a bit slower in some ways. More stressful for sure. Much patience is needed. You learn to make adjustments, as you determine to work together to go from barely moving and staying up to thriving.
In our particular case, we determined the kid seat goes back to the store and we will order a bike trailer, in hopes of smoother riding times.
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