Steve and I were recently 'flying' down a hill on our tandem and I was singing 'whee' we began to reminisce about the early days of our tandem riding. As we start today on our 240-mile ride, let me share a previous post:
There was a hint of spring in the air today .. as I walked along the sidewalks of Gateway with my beautiful guide dog, Cricket. I can't wait to get back on the bike! As I read about the First Bike Write-away contest, I couldn't help reflect on my memories of my first tandem bike.
Sixteen years ago, due to retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease, I had just given up my driver's license. With two young children, ages 7 and 5, I felt grounded as a mom. I yearned to take my children to swimming lessons, to the park on a picnic, to the grocery store without asking for a ride. Remembering a childhood experience of riding a two-seated bike, I began to consider the possibility of getting a tandem bike - it could be mom's car! It seemed to be the possibility for me to still be able to take my children places independently.
The advantage of a tandem bike over us each riding our own bikes was being able to have the kids alternate on who would ride on the back - so they would be able to have a rest ... they still were young and couldn't ride their bikes for long distances at a time. I remember us buying this first tandem bike and being so excited! It really took some of the pain away of giving up that driver's license! It was a very long green bike with a nice black carrier on the back - that hauled swimming towels, lunches, groceries and so many other things!
For two summers, until my vision decreased further and I was not safe steering; we rode this tandem bike all over to swimming lessons, to the park, to doctor's appointments, to the grocery store. Each mile this bike logged has a great memory with it. Swimming lessons were about two miles so we would ride for one mile and then take a rest and the kids would trade places. The park was 1.5 miles the other direction. It wasn't always easy - the kids weren't always happy to join mom in her car but they were amazing sports in this journey.This tandem bike allowed us to continue to bike as a family. This bike opened many doors for me and allowed me to think outside the bike. As I enjoyed experiencing more and more of the world through this bike - increased possibilities opened up to me in other areas of my life.
As our children grew up and began to drive, that first tandem green bike was given to a school for the blind so that other children could experience the joy of cycling. I moved to the back seat and Steve became the captain. We purchased another bike - a racy red one so that we could ride faster and further.
Wherever we travel, we often search for a tandem bike to rent. It has become an amazing way for me to 'see' the country. It is such a thrill to go fast over a majestic bridge ...
ride 250 miles along the beautiful beaches of California...
or the beautiful parks in Utah. As I reflect on the memories of this first green tandem bike, I am grateful for the possibilities it presented to me ... to dream, to be creative, to find other ways to get places and to spend time with my family moving forward one pedal at a time.
I was recently asked how do you ride a bike? On a tandem bike -- the captain steers and is our eyes and we pedal together. I put my trust in him and we go -- talking, laughing, singing, sometimes silence in thoughts while pedaling ... it is joyful. For the next 2 1/2 days on this bike, we will talk about life, our dreams, reminisce, and sometimes climbing up a hill and just focus on pedaling. It will be amazing. I will hear, taste, smell, touch parts of Utah in ways that I haven't before and see it in a beautiful way.