Category Archives: Tandeming

Bikes Are Not Family Members, But…

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.

One of my favorite parts of our day was riding beyond the edges of Poolesville, Maryland, into more rural countryside. The wind snapped at us over the open landscape and through leafless trees. Chill bit into my feet.

Normally, I don’t like those sensations, but on this sunny winter day they invigorated me. It felt so good to be riding our tandem together after a month of rest.

We reached the entrance of Sugarloaf Mountain and began our two-mile rise to its summit. Sugarloaf is a mostly gentle (by East Coast standards) switchback climb, and at this time of year the bare trees give you a good lens on the winding path behind you.

The cold made the area fairly quiet and we enjoyed a contemplative rise to the top. Love for my riding partner welled inside me, and I leaned forward and whispered, “I love you, bike.”

Bikes are not people, I know, but this tandem has sure found its way into my heart. With a tandem, Felkerino and I sit snugly, one in front of the other. All movement is synchronized, and when Felkerino and I ride in tune it reminds me of playing in an orchestra that has melded every note, sound, crescendo, and pause together. It’s a blissful feeling.

Obligatory Cow Photo with Felkerino and tandem

When our previous tandem– a custom-sized Co-Motion Speedster– developed a crack, I cried, and didn’t understand why the loss of a bike had affected me so. But it was the first tandem I’d ever ridden that was sized just for us, and we’d had memorable times with it, including our 2011 PBP jaunt.

As nice as that bike was, our Co-Motion Java is even better. It was built to tour and made to climb. It fits me as well as the Speedster did. Co-Motion designed it to specifically fit our two bodies, and over a long ride it continues to painlessly support us.

Our Java climbs so agreeably and doesn’t mind if you add extra weight to it. It’s happy to carry your extra jacket, or those items you need to pick up at the grocery store on the way home.

The Co-Motion is an eye-catching steed, and through it we’ve enjoyed many a nice conversation with people we might otherwise never have met.

Cheesy though it may seem, this bike is like a family member to me. I never gave it a name, I just call it what Co-Motion branded it, but our bike is more than a thing we own. It’s an essential element of Felkerino’s and my approach to seeing and feeling the world. Our Co-Motion Java tandem is our partner in intimate exploration.

Co-Motion Tandem Compare and Contrast: Java vs. Speedster

Co-Motion Java

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.

Continue reading Co-Motion Tandem Compare and Contrast: Java vs. Speedster

Say My (Bike’s) Name: On Naming Your Bike

The Co-Motion Java, aka ?
The Co-Motion Java, aka ?

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?

Continue reading Say My (Bike’s) Name: On Naming Your Bike

Seeing Changes

Co-Motion Java tandem

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?”

Continue reading Seeing Changes

Trail Ridge Road on Tandem

There’s nothing that kicks off a bike tour better than riding the highest continuous paved road in the United States.

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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.

Continue reading Trail Ridge Road on Tandem

All the King’s Horses, and All the King’s Men: Co-Motion Reassembly

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.

Continue reading All the King’s Horses, and All the King’s Men: Co-Motion Reassembly

From Middletown to Monterey: Two Days, 255 Miles

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.

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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?

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Both days included plenty of climbing and stunning views. We are lucky to live so close to such great cycling.

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Felkerino put together a complete summary of our ride here so check it out.

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It was an awesome weekend of bike touring.

Dialing in our New Co-Motion Java Tandem

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 Java on Whites Ferry

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!

Continue reading Dialing in our New Co-Motion Java Tandem