We only started considering a tandem after we met various couples who would “never ride separate bikes again”. They talked about being able to go faster and being more sociable on the bike.
Team Alleykat brings with it a big discrepancy between rider ability. Alex can ride as long and far as he wants, loves riding under horrific weather conditions, loves rough roads and is not at all concerned about sharing the roads with cars, trucks and buses. Kat can mostly ride with Alex but is much more comfortable on smooth paths on a fair weather day, away from vehicles.
We have always maintained that speed and distance are not an issue for our trip, but recently Kat has been struggling with dirt roads, and roads with fast-and-close passing traffic (and fair enough too, it gets very daunting to relatively inexperienced riders!). Read a bit more about Kat’s struggle and panic attacks in her post HERE.
To follow in the footspinning of the tandem-loving couples and also to boost Kat’s confidence and optimise my ability, we are about to make the plunge and order a custom touring tandem through Co-Motion Bicycles, equipping it with as much of our current parts arsenal as possible.
We figure a tandem will be better for us as Kat is much more confident with my cycling ability on rough roads than her own. We are also hoping she will be able to cope better with heavy traffic when she doesn’t have control of the bike.
Our number one goal with this exercise is taking the stress out of bicycle touring for Kat.
Other tandemy benefits include:
– Being able to use my strength to more potential
– Faster average speeds and further distances possible, meaning more time off the bike
– Hopefully dropping a combined 12kg of bike and gear weight provided we can get away with no trailer (bringing us down to ~60kg, bike and gear)
– We can both have ‘bad days’, where we pick up each others slack
– Kat, if she likes will sometimes be able to ride with no hands, eat/drink, take photos and generally be Alleykat’s lookout for excitement around the bike
– We won’t have to say “sorry” all the time when we can’t hear each other
– We will have three less bags to carry around when we’re off the bike
– We don’t have to carry as many spare parts
– We will hopefully be able to fly without oversized and overweight baggage
– No drafting behind the front rider required
– One less bike lock
– The bike will be less likely to be stolen because it is so big!
Oh, we will have it in January and it will be big, purple and be named ‘Tan-nay-nay’.