Wednesday, May 07, 2008

It Takes Two to Tandem

With Al's #1 bike stranded at John's, and Billy-Bob's bike still in bits after it's recent arrival from Down Under there was only one thing for it - the tandem would have to come out of mothballs. Billy-Bob was nervous: The last time he had straddled this beast - with Stef riding as stoker - there was nearly a serious falling out (let alone falling off). When Al pointed out that his mate would again be at the pointy end he went visibly pale. Al provided a pep talk as he readjusted the seat posts. He was somewhat skeptical himself that the bike would comfortably accommodate Al (5'9") and Tee (5'3") and also then Billy-Bob (6'0") and himself. If Billy-Bob had meant to instill confidence in his host with a solo practice run down the track from the garage, he failed on every count as he lost control coming to a halt as the track met the main road.

There were second thoughts; should we just stroll to the local pub for a quiet pint? However, it was a glorious, warm evening and this seemed too good an opportunity to miss. A little more fettling and, on the count of three, a slightly wobbly start later, the pair were tentatively easing out of the village. Billy-Bob familiarised himself with the gears; Al tried to overcome the urge to lean over as he anticipated the bends - we could not decide who was the most disconcerted about this new experience. We soon got into the groove though and Billy-Bob laughed maniacally as he wondered at the speed of the bike on the flat (Al stuttered an explanation from behind - something about twice the power and half the wind resistance...). The pair fairly flew to their first port of call - the Horse & Jockey.

Toast to absent Friend, The Horse & Jockey

Our departure from the pub, on the count of three, with a number of onlookers, was slick. Maybe the pints of Ringwood Best had eased the nerves, maybe we were finally settling into the new saddles, but we had a relaxed, smooth ride through Newtown to the Forest of Bere. The only glitch in communication occurring as Billy-Bob steered the bike (maybe on autopilot?) into the car park of the Traveler's Rest, then ran out of car park before he could execute the turning circle. We ordered our pints of Hopback's Crop Circle and sat in the modest beer garden enjoying the last of the spring-time sun, and made a mental note for the future that the Forest of Bere hosts a Fish & Chip van on a Wednesday evening - the smell almost drove us crazy. The pair were getting hungry so it was back on the tandem for the final leg.

On Board with the Tandem Two

By now the pair were in the groove - starts, stops, turns and climbs executed in perfect harmony. The ride home seemed to go by in a flash and we arrived back in Hambledon at 20.30 wishing perhaps that we had stayed out a bit longer now that we were finally enjoying this new team experience. Tee had cooked a delicious sausage casserole and listened knowingly, and maybe wistfully, as the grinning pair provided an account of their experience. It is perhaps safe to say, dear reader, that you have not seen the last of the tandem!

(Posted by: Al)

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At 9:10 am, May 08, 2008, Anonymous Mrs BB said...

What a spendid evening! Love the video and I got my husband back well before midnight which is always a bonus on a TCA/TTA night :o)

At 12:11 am, May 11, 2008, Blogger Maalie said...

Wow! That looks fun!

At 7:27 am, May 13, 2008, Blogger simon said...

I don't like tandems. It means you are commited to social interaction and working as a team.. Much prefer to ride alone... ;o)

At 12:40 am, May 16, 2008, Blogger simon said...

BTW I was joking !


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