I have always loved riding a bike, but when the Britalian suggested a cycling holiday riding a tandem bike, I needed convincing.
The thing that I found challenging with the idea was being stuck on the same bike. How would that work?
I guess I like being independent, on my own bike. I wasn’t sure that being stuck on the same bike for 4 days was going to be a good idea.
First we needed to find somewhere that offered this sort of experience.
Which is how we came up with the idea of our summer holiday taking place in Shropshire, as we discovered the Tandem Experience, which is based in Coalport. After having been through the experience myself, I would heartily agree that it is most worthwhile to have an introductory lesson to tandem bikes first, before attempting to use one. I believe we avoided all manner of arguments as a result.
It may seem rather simple but you go through the process in stages including who sits where and how to get on and off (which is rather important).
We had rode around the car park a number of times familiarising ourselves with the bike before taking off for a 20 mile ride.
Yes, you read correctly – they send you off on a long ride on day 1! I was focused so hard, I forgot to take any photos that day. There was some riding across the county on country roads (which I found a bit daunting at some stages particularly when cars overtake you at speed).
I much preferred days 2 and 4 when we were based on some of the dedicated cycle tracks.
Day 4 was probably my favourite day. One thing that it had going for it is that the route was basically flat. Hill climbing is challenging on a tandem. Due to our lack of experience, the Britalian and I felt much more comfortable getting off and pushing the bike, rather than struggling. Although there was a little incline that we braved and did succeed (and to be honest, we felt quite pleased with ourselves).
So what did I learn?
1. That riding a tandem is fun. Yes even though I was sceptical after several days on this bike, I came away as a fan. I would certainly be willing to ride one again.
2. It was a mistake not to wear cycling shorts on the first day. I did come prepared with two pairs of cycling shorts. However, I had mistakenly thought that day 1 was going to be easy and that we would only be attempting a short leisurely ride in the vicinity. How wrong I was… For the remaining three days, the cycling shorts were utilised.
3. Tandems can go fast. Going down a hill they can certainly pick up speed and the adrenalin starts to rush.
4. Glasses are recommended. Riding in the rain, getting soaking wet, I am glad that at least water was repelled from my eyes, by my sunglasses.
At the end of your experience, if you are feeling really keen you can purchase a bike. We didn’t, but I haven’t discounted the idea entirely. You never know what may happen in the future. For now, I am rather tempted by a European jaunt.
Do you like bike riding? Have you ever tried riding a tandem bike?