Those of you who receive American Randonneur– a quarterly publication of Randonneurs USA– may find this article about randonneuring tandem basics familiar, as it is a piece that was recently published in the Summer edition. I’m reprinting it here. Thanks to Mike Wali for the pics in this piece. Continue reading Training for Randonneuring Rides on a Tandem
After a month spent in delightful lollygag mode, Felkerino and I pumped up the tires on the Co-Motion Java tandem for our first century ride of 2015.
As I rode along looking alternately at Felkerino’s backside and a somewhat snotty top tube resulting from my runny nose, I was wholly grateful for the hours and miles together on our beautiful, sturdy, and maybe somewhat dirty, tandem. Continue reading Bikes Are Not Family Members, But…
It’s been just over one year and around 5,500 miles since Felkerino and I said goodbye to our Co-Motion Speedster and began riding our Co-Motion Java tandem.
Now that we’ve put both of these tandems through their paces, I wanted to compare the two bikes and revisit the choice we made to replace our Speedster with the Java.
Do your bikes have names? If so, how did you name them? Did you give them a name you would give a person, like Betty or Howard or something?
Or is the name you gave your bike akin to something you might bestow on a pet, like Pumpkin or Spot or Patches? Did your bike speak to you somehow and tell you its name, or did it come to you in a dream?
Instead of riding brevets and doing a 1000K or a 1200K this year, Felkerino and I focused on a weeklong Colorado bike tour, which included two days of riding around Boulder and a seven-day loop rich with hills and mountains. (Felkerino is writing a post of our routes and the gear we took over at The Daily Randonneur, so please stand by for that!)
As we were climbing Loveland Pass, Felkerino asked, “Do you think this tour will change you as a rider?”
There’s nothing that kicks off a bike tour better than riding the highest continuous paved road in the United States.
Felkerino and I spent yesterday riding our Co-Motion Java tandem on the Trail Ridge 200K, a 134-mile RUSA permanent that starts in Louisville, Colorado, and takes the rider to Estes Park, up Trail Ridge Road, down the mountain, to Grand Lake, Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs, through a canyon that has a name I don’t recall Byers Canyon, and over to Kremmling.
We had a good ride, the highlight (and lowlight) for me being Trail Ridge Road which ascends to a height of 12,200 feet.
I’m happy to report our tandem reassembly did not end like the tale of Humpty Dumpty.
It took some time, but our tandem arrived safely in Boulder, Colorado, and is now a big bike again.
It helped that we are staying with cycling friends who have a spacious back porch to spread out the coupler cases and tandem bits.
They also loaned us a workstand and full size tire pump, which also facilitated the rebuild process.
The following sequence of photos give a sense of what it’s like to put the Co-Motion Java together.
Felkerino and I have been making the most of our weekend warrior lifestyle with two straight weekends of bike overnights on our Co-Motion tandem.
This past weekend we toured with our rando-friends John and Cindy, who also ride a Co-Motion tandem– a 650B Speedster. Isn’t it beautiful?
Both days included plenty of climbing and stunning views. We are lucky to live so close to such great cycling.
Felkerino put together a complete summary of our ride here so check it out.
It was an awesome weekend of bike touring.
Earlier this year, Felkerino’s and my new tandem arrived from Co-Motion. Some of you may remember that a crack developed in the stoker seat tube of our previous tandem, a Co-Motion Speedster, which required either a mend or a replacement frame.
We ultimately chose to replace the frame and, rather than another Co-Motion Speedster tandem, Felkerino and I decided on a Co-Motion Java, which is their 29-er frame.
Co-Motion worked out an arrangement with us for the new bike which was primarily financed by the sale of my 1996 Nissan Altima.
That’s right. I sold my car to buy a tandem. Righteous bicycle purchasing!
Another December passes, the sun sets on 2012, and I find myself reflecting about the activities of the past year.
While Felkerino and I focused on preparing for and completing Paris-Brest-Paris in 2011, our 2012 cycling proved more varied.
We commuted, completed a Super Randonneur series with the D.C. Randonneurs, trained to ride the Colorado High Country 1200K, rode more dirt roads, and planned a weeklong bike tour of Southern Virginia.
This past year, we retired our custom-fit Co-Motion tandem. It wasn’t by choice. Over the six years we had owned it and an estimated 25,000 miles, it gradually developed a crack in the area near the stoker seat tube. Felkerino wrote a post about it complete with a photo of the crack, here.
As you can see in the post’s photo, the crack was located right at the stoker seat tube weld. I’ve been trying not to take that too personally. Co-Motion diagnosed that the crack emerged because the weld was not strong enough and we have since been working with them on a replacement tandem.
Writing during the journey is always a bit different than what comes to mind after a bike tour ends. The week has given me time to reflect on the trip we had, and I wanted to throw up some summary observations, assessments, and lessons learned from our recent jaunt around southern Virginia on our Cannondale tandem.
- 8 days
- 636 miles
- Average mileage: 79.5 miles per day
- Longest day: 105.6 miles
- Shortest day: 68 miles
Felkerino and I are off bike touring in Virginia this week. We began our ride in Waynesboro and are winding our way south to Wytheville.
Day 1 we rode to Lexington, a quaint historic town.
Yesterday, Day 2, we arrived in Clifton Forge, part of the Alleghany Highlands region.
We’ve employed the mountain Cannondale tandem for the trip. So far so good.
Two small Ortlieb panniers in the front, Carradice Camper saddlebag in the back. The bike handles well with a load and climbs solidly.
We’ve moderated our mileage to around 70 miles a day for the first three days, which allows us to sleep in, stop when we feel like it, and savor the journey.
Hello, readers. Big news! I wrote up my account of Felkerino’s and my Colorado High Country 1200K. It took a while, but it’s finally finished.
I call it a highlight reel because, instead of chronicling the ride as it happened each day, I honed in on the aspects that made the High Country unforgettable.
Check it out here: 2012 Colorado High Country 1200K: A Breathtaking Trip out West. I hope you enjoy reading about this ride even a little bit as much as I loved riding it.
Due to unforeseen circumstances (to be discussed in another post), our Co-Motion tandem will not be around for a while. In the meantime, Felkerino and I still want to tandem together so we decided to put our original brevet tandem, a Cannondale mountain frame, back into service for some summer rides and any upcoming fall brevets we do. Because of its industrial dark gray hue and bulky aluminum tubing, Felkerino nicknamed it the “lead sled.”
Felkerino invested some serious time this past week to make the Cannondale rando ready. He put on new tires, transitioned our saddles and handlebars over from the Co-Motion, and measured and remeasured to mimic our Co-Motion measurements as much as possible.
This weekend we took the lead sled out for a 73-mile shakedown ride to see how it- and we- would fare. While it’s quite a switch to go from riding a steel tandem that’s been made especially for you to a stock Large-in-front, Medium-in-back aluminum-frame tandem with 26-inch wheels, our ride went better than I expected.