As one of a small group of women who likes to ride long distances, I’m often exposed to conversations about “the wife.” I almost hate to write “the wife,” since I feel so strongly about it, but I’m writing what I hear and there you are.
Sometimes “the wife” is referred to in other ways, such as “the other half,” or “my better half.” Either way, you get the idea. Since I’m in my reflective vest and ankles bands, I must blend in as one of the guys. I am the incognito wife.
What did “the wife” say about your ride? Did she “let” you ride? Did “the wife” notice your new bike and, if she did, did she buy your story that your new bike really cost $599? These are real-life conversations I’ve overheard.
I’m not saying all randos or riders are like this, but enough that I’ve taken notice over the years. I’m not trying to turn myself into a pariah or anything by touching this topic, but guys, I’ve been listening. I’ve heard you.
When Felkerino and I ride tandem, particularly when we tour, men approach us and ask about our tandem. “Did this bike make your wife ride more?” Hello guy, I’m standing right here.
Our tandems do make me want to ride more, but not because we bought a tandem and Felkerino just threw me on the back. No, it’s because we own some bada$$ tandems and I like riding bikes. I liked riding bikes before I even knew who Felkerino was.
Over the years we’ve had incredible adventures on our bikes, and I’m not even going to hyperlink to them all because basically all the rides I’ve written about on this blog fall into some category of awesome, and many of them have been on tandem. But even if we didn’t own tandems, I’d still ride.
My gender and propensity for tandem riding occupy a somewhat unique place in randonneuring. No I’m not a rand-bro, out on a single bike adventure with the boys. Instead, it’s me and my randonneur- and real-life spouse. And our incredible tandems.
I love riding with my randonneur- and real-life spouse. It’s a fulfilling exercise in teamwork as well as endurance, and I love it.
For some, maybe a rando ride on a bicycle built for two categorizes it as something unpalatable, since really, who needs true love on a brevet? Bleah. That’s for the birds. Bring on the rand-bros! Bring on the Instagram hashtags of awesome, of men and bike rides. #randbros
Sorry not sorry to interrupt the rand-bros rendezvous. For me, randonneuring by tandem is how it’s almost always been, except at the very start. I joined the randonneurs and a few months later rode a flèche in 2005 on an all-women’s team. On my single bike (a Rivendell Romulus). #thatsrando
An all-women’s team, people, how awesome is that?! How many all-women’s flèche rides have you been on? Let me know in the comments.
Soon after, Felkerino and I began building our randonneur future on tandem. A full Super Randonneur series. The Cascade 1200K. More Super Randonneur series’. Paris-Brest-Paris. High Country 1200K. A couple of 1000K rides. Summer tours that serve as our randonneuring payoff almost every year. All on tandem. All incredible. #thatsrando
Sometimes I take it for granted, but on days like today I know what we have is a rare treat. We have each other for the long rides. My randonneur- and real-life spouse. I will never be part of the rand-bros club, but ours is a different experience.
Felkerino and I don’t ask permission, we just do. Together. And that, dear readers, is its own kind of awesome. See you on the road. #thatsrando