Riding in Tandem

Last season, my husband Steve and I embarked on a new adventure in cycling – riding in tandem.

When I divulge that we ride a tandem bike, inevitably I get one of two reactions:

  1. (from people who have never ridden tandem) Oh! I’ve always wanted to try riding a tandem with my spouse/kid/significant other!
  2. (from people who have ridden tandem or are close to those who have) Oh! A divorce machine!

tandem steve jamie selfieTandem cycling definitely makes for some quotable conversations. Here’s just a quick taste
of all the fun you could be in for if you, too, decide to put your life in the hands of your spouse!

Steve: What the heck are you doing?

Jamie: Oh, yeah, I forgot that if I stop pedaling, you do, too.

(repeat this conversation about 300 times with both of us forgetting repeatedly that our feet move together)

Steve: Wait. If I have to spit, is it going to go on you?

Jamie: Dunno. Only one way to find out!

(never fear, it didn’t)

Steve: Coasting. Stopping.

Jamie: Trusting. You know I say that so you don’t forget that if you don’t balance us I’m going to die.

Steve: Yeah, I got it.

Jamie: Don’t forget, I’m the one the cars are going to hit first!

Steve: With you on here, it’s like I have a tailwind all the time!

Steve: If you’re not nice to me, I’m going to fart.

to the moon steve jamie shadowOverall I have to say that we’re a darn good tandem couple and are learning to communicate better and better on the bike. We don’t panic unnecessarily and are always ready to laugh at ourselves, both of which I’m thinking are necessary attributes of a tandem pairs. Steve is letting the whole “Captain” thing go to his head a bit, but since he gets hit with bugs in front and I don’t as Stoker, I’m calling it an even trade.

tandem jamie sashaThe other bonus of riding a tandem is that I can ride at speed with my kids. We have a Co-Motion Periscope Torpedo, which is a highly configurable tandem bike. It’s a titch large for me to captain, but the rear seat goes low enough that both my 12-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter can ride stoker.

My kids love riding together, and I enjoy being able to spend time in the saddle with my kids without going kid-speed.

If you’re considering going tandem, I say go for it. Find a used bike in decent condition so you can re-sell it again if things don’t work out. Keep your sense of humor at the ready. And, trust me, this is the voice of experience talking – try to suppress the screams of terror bubbling up within you if you ride stoker. The shrieking only distracts the captain.


Jamie is a Moxie Cycling Ambassador and blog contributor. Check out her bio here!

About jamieamstar

Wife, mom of 4, full-time software product manager at Qualtrics, crusader for orphan's rights, encourager of girls interested in Computer Science, grateful member of the CenterPoint Church family

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