As you may already know (since I really like to talk about it), Felkerino and I met on a tandem first date and we’ve been riding together ever since. Riding tandem with Felkerino was my first exposure to this family of freak bikes, but at the time I don’t remember thinking much about it.
Now that we have been doing this for a while (since 2004), I’ve figured out that lots of people do think about people who ride tandem, and they like to share those thoughts with us when they see one ride by.
I understand that a tandem is an unusual sight. Seeing a single bicycle on the road is not that common of a sight, either. Add an extra cockpit to the bike, and it’s noticeably freaky. Freaky in a good way. I get it.
However, I am not clear why the sight of a tandem engages some people’s “let’s say something weird” side.
Like many people, I love it when people wave at cyclists or ask about our ride. Being acknowledged in a positive way when you’re on the road is a great feeling.
However, I am shocked by the number of people (generally men; sorry, but it’s true), who love to shout out strange things to us. In particular, “She’s not pedaling!” is at the top of the list of weird things that get my goat.
What is this about? Do people exclaim this because they truly believe that I am not pedaling? Do they think it’s funny? What?
When I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, I like to think they say “She’s not pedaling,” because it is their way of trying to connect with us and share a moment with a beautiful tandem. Little do they know that it is backfiring miserably.
When I am grumpy (say, after 150 miles of “not pedaling” or a stressful week at work) I conclude that it is a sexist comment made by people that have no appreciation for the strength, abilities, and partnership of women.
Am I overthinking it? Maybe. But please, if you see a tandem on the road do NOT say anything about whether anybody is or is not pedaling. That’s right. No matter how much you might be just exploding inside with the desire to shout out those three little words.
Don’t do it! That tandem might be pedaled by Felkerino AND ME, and trust me, I have been pedaling. My legs are very strong and you don’t want to make me angry. As they say, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. (Blog bonus points if you can name that quote.)
And on that note, let’s go ride our bikes! It’s the WEEKEND!