Good Friday Tandem Adventure…

23 04 2011

The Raspberry Rocket goes rural...

Yesterday was Good Friday. Sharon had the day off work and since neither of us are Catholic we repurposed Good Friday to be a folding bike holiday…=-) So we rode our Good Friday Tandem [GFT] to achieve a number of firsts:

  • Sharon’s first 50K ride and longest ride ever
  • Sharon’s first ride on the Lochside Trail
  • Sharon’s first bike ride to Sidney
  • Our first ride on the GFT with the new one piece stem/riser
  • Our first successful roadie hunt on the GFT
  • My first Ortlieb failure
  • My first nap on a local beach
  • Aaron’s first oyster burger
  • Our first post ride beer session on the new backyard deck

Aaron riding escort for the GFT...

Our day started eventfully at 430am with our cat puking on us in bed. If you ever need to get up really early ask your cat for a vomit wake up call. It’s very very very effective! By the time Aaron showed up at 9am we had been up for hours and had  absolutely nothing accomplished. This was to be the theme for the day. We made a slow, but delicious breakfast including setting off the Bacon Alarm [smoke detector] – which I am used to, but Aaron was caught off guard. Luckily he didn’t spit a mouthful of coffee on me when the loud alarm startled him. We spent a lot of time getting our Bike Friday tandem ready. Not the bike itself – just the stuff we were taking with us. It was one of those days where I wasn’t sure we’d leave before it was time to sit down for lunch!

The sun is shining - the grass is green - time to ride!

We had not been on the tandem since we got the new one piece stem/riser back from Bike Friday so it took us about 1km to get back into the swing of things. I’ve never tried another tandem so maybe they are all easier to ride than I had anticipated, but the lack of drama is very nice when you have someone else’s fate in your hands. The new stem/riser looks nice and clean so it’s awesome to finally see what the tandem looks like in its completed state. We got lots of double takes and smiles as we passed people. We are calling the GFT The Raspberry Rocket! Kids are especially stoked about this bike.

Lochside loveliness...

I was happy that Sharon finally had a chance to ride the Lochside Trail. It’s just minutes from our door and offers very relaxed scenic cycling to Sidney. For recreational riders the distance is perfect with opportunities for rest breaks and refreshments along the way. The trail is mixed surface with paved, dirt and gravel sections as well as a number of wooden decked bridges. Our 40mm Greenspeed Scorcher tires once again showed why I love them as they rolled over everything with aplomb. At one point a roadie passed us on 23mm tires just before a bridge with a rough wooden deck. We sped up as we hit the bridge and sailed passed the roadie who went from speed demon to hanging on to her bucking bars on the bridge. I’m never going back to narrow high pressure rubber!

If you ride 349 or 406 wheels and haven’t tried some GS Scorchers I’d heartily recommend them.

Aaron and his randonista rig...

Aaron rode his trusty Trek rando rig. He wasn’t challenged on this ride, but I’m sure we were amusing to ride with as people craned their head’s around to see what we were riding. A few people knew it was a Friday and we got some shout outs. Aaron was riding on 32mm Grand Bois Cypres tires so he appreciated the mixed surface bliss of a bit of air volume and a supple casing provides. At one point he was musing about out our lack of rando specific training so I had to point out that anytime I wasn’t sleeping or eating chicken wings WAS rando specific training…lol…when you are a member of team slacker you aren’t strict about your definition of training…=-)

Coffee stop at Sidney...

Sidney is a nice small town at the top of the Saanich Peninsula. It’s often a control on a brevet since there are services and it’s a natural turn around point for a run down to Victoria. We had some coffee and enjoyed the sunshine on a patio for a while. Eventually we needed a break from all our relaxing so we went for a pint and lunch at a pub where Aaron had an oyster burger. It was an educational meal for all of us…=-)

Beach chillaxing...

Team Slacker wasn’t quite ready for the ride back so we spent some time hanging out on the beach enjoying more sun and an impromptu jet fighter air show overhead. The nice thing about living on a peninsula is that there are beaches virtually 360 degrees from you so you can always find a nice quiet bit of waterfront to hang out on without dealing with a million people. I like it…=-)

The bikes enjoyed the sun as well...

After squeezing every bit of slackerness we could out of our visit to Sidney we climbed back aboard our bikes and pointed them towards home. Since it was a holiday and the weather was beautiful there were lots of bikes out and about on the Lochside Trail. The good thing about Victoria area cycling infrastructure is that there is so much of it that even on a busy holiday it doesn’t feel crowded or unpleasant. It’s nice to see all manner of cyclist roaming the paths and roads on a sunny day. We saw quite a few couples/small groups with matching panniers/jackets on what I can only assume [based on the brand new gear] were shake down rides for up coming tours.

Checking out the bacon...

I was quite pleased how well the tandem handled and how it rolled on the dirt and gravel. The 40mm tires and long steel frame absorb a lot of the bumpiness from the road. As we expand Sharon’s bike riding horizons a natural ride from our place is to take the Galloping Goose out to the Sooke Pot Holes for a 100K camping weekend. That trail is mostly dirt and gravel so a bike that can eats up those kind of KMs is essential. I think our next jaunt will be a tour of Victoria along the waterfront with the tandem loaded for camping so we can see how she handles with a touring load and to get some practice on the hills with a heavy rig. Not to over look the importance of educating Sharon about the essential bike touring motto “…this isn’t a bike ride with food stops..this is a set of food stops with some riding in between…”!

Hanging out with a local...

Eventually we rolled up to our house after a full day on the road. Only 50kms of riding, but many hours of good times. Sharon was both stoked to have ridden such a long way and also stoked to get off the bike!…=-) Being serious athletes we set about replacing our muscle glycogen stores with beer on the deck…=-) Thanks to Aaron for accompanying us on the day’s adventure.

Victoria bike porn...

Tandem Ride Report Card:
  • new stem/riser looks nice and worked fine
  • tandem handles well
  • GS Scorcher tires rock
  • gearing is ideal and works well
  • we need to tweak both our drop bars and brake lever placement
  • Sharon likes her plastic saddle better than the rock hard B17 she started with
  • my B17 was not uber comfy [a first for me!] I’ll swap in the B17 I’ve softened a bit with neatsfoot oil and see what happens
  • one of my Ortliebs is failing [see below]
  • need to mount a GPS for Sharon as she wants to see ride data
  • bottom line this Bike Friday tandem is the solution that let’s us ride together which is awesome…=-)

My first Ortlieb failure...

I’m coming up on 20yrs of Ortlieb love so I guess it had to happen sometime. One of my Ortlieb back rollers is about to shed a critical buckle. It looks like the piece can be replaced easily so I’ll going to see if Wayne at the Touring Store [where I buy my Ortlieb panniers] has a spare he can hook me up with. I prefer the Ortlieb panniers with the flip top lid and so this pannier has seen far less use which makes the failure more of a disappointment. Having said that there are no other panniers I’d use on a tour.