After cycling together across the country we decided to take things even further and yesterday we hired a tandem from Cycle Hub. Neither of us had ever ridden a tandem before so it was a bit of an adventure!
Our ride started with an explanation of the gears and the special slow down brake, and then we followed the guy’s advice and made a couple of practice circuits of the car park. Luckily it was large and empty as we stuttered along like a tanker with a wonky engine! It was so much harder than we imagined as we had to pedal at the same time and speed and tell each other when we were braking and turning. Starting was a challenge, although we did get quite good at it as long as Erik remembered to count out loud.
After a few practice turns in the car park we felt brave enough to hit the quayside at Newcastle, passing the Millennium Bridge, under the Tyne Bridge, past the Swing Bridge and under the High Level Bridge, in the direction of Rowlands Gill. I discovered that as long as I kept pedalling I could let go of my handlebar and take photos. That was cool although I did slump forwards a couple of times when Erik braked without announcing what he was planning.
We rode out for about five miles before turning around and heading back. It was fun but riding the tandem took more attention than we had head space for (the cold and a bit of cumulative tiredness from the trip didn’t help).
We turned the bike in and headed into town for lunch. I’m not sure about whether I’d want to ride a tandem a lot. It was fun and great to try but riding independently but together is more my thing.
Erik too felt that it was really hard: I had to shift from cycling intuitively to being very explicit for our safety (and enjoyment). We did it, but it’d take lots of practice to feel confident.