Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bicycle built for two

Daisy Bell inspired me as a child and I always wanted to ride a bicycle built for two. I have a great mom who always filled our home with music. We were exposed to The Four Lads, Nat King Cole, musicals like Oklahoma and The Music Man, and Patti Page. Click on their names, you'll love the memories that come while listening to these songs.

Harry Dacre came to the U.S. from England in the late 1890's and brought with him a bicycle for which he was charged duty. He wasn't happy about having to pay duty and a friend commented, "It's lucky you didn't bring a bicycle built for two, otherwise you'd have to pay double duty.' Dacre was so taken with the phrase 'bicycle built for two' that he decided to use it in a song." That song is Daisy Bell.

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do
I'm half crazy all for the love of you.
It won't be a stylish marriage
I can't afford a carriage
But you'll look sweet
Upon the seat
Of a Bicycle built for two.

I remember singing Daisy, Daisy at the top of my lungs as a girl... imagining the carriage that Harry couldn't afford, me with a big poofy 1800's updo, in a poofy yellow dress (bustle included), with a dapper young man on a bicycle built for two riding through the countryside.

Just kinda makes you want to sigh in old fashioned joy doesn't it?

Last week I got to fulfill that dream when Cycle Guy and I rented a Tandem on Orcas Island.I was told the rules by the bike shop owner: "Now, Jenny, you can't do anything. You can't steer so don't lean. You can't brake so don't stop pedaling. You can't see so don't direct."

Now if you know me then you know that I am demur and quiet. Easy going. Slow to push share my opinions. Mike wasn't worried at all about me in the back being able to follow those directions. Whatever

I had some rules of my own. No spitting and no rockets. Easy enough... Let's go.The shop owner suggested a route and we took off.

We ride bikes together a lot. We've grown accustomed to each others styles... on separate bikes. That day we noticed some differences: I clip out on the left, he clips out on the right. So when I'm all ready to stop and land on my left foot CG and the bike lean right.

He likes to start with the pedal down. I start with the pedal up.

We worked through it.

I learned to clip out with both feet and just gradually lean with him when he leaned to stop.

He had me get all the way on before he started pedaling and I was like a kid in the baby seat.

Honestly, I thought I would just be along for the ride. I thought with two of us pedaling climbing would be a breeze and we would fly down the other side. Maybe that would be so if we were riding a Trek Madone built for two, skinny tires, sleek frame, you know kinda like his birthday present in Tandem.

But alas, we were on a big heavy mountain bike tandem. Climbing was hard work, both of us sucking wind like we were climbing Mt. Everest.

Coming down was fun though and with him right there in front of me I was completely out of the wind just enjoying the ride. Once we got back on flat roads it was getting much more fun and easier to control. Our time, however was up and so we triumphantly returned to the LBS after successfully surviving our attempt at riding 'a bicycle built for two'.

I can't wait to do it again. Maybe through the tulip fields next spring....

Ahhhhh, just call me Daisy.

Cycle Guy also wrote about our Tandem adventure today. Check it out by clicking here. Or you could click here: The Adventures of Mike and his Bike. I haven't read it yet and I'm kind of interested to hear his thoughts in writing...


Mike J said...

Tandems are interesting. I could see how they are a lot of fun on flat surfaces. I can spit just about any time I want on the Madone though.

Constantin said...

I tried tandem once but I couldn't keep my balance...

Twisted Fencepost said...

That sounds like fun.
But I can see how it would also be like work.

everydayMOM said...

We've always wanted to try a tandem. We went on a vacation about 9 years ago to Olympic National Park. It just happened to be the same weekend as a tandem race in that very mountainous area. We could not believe people could ride tandems up a steep mountain! Some even pulled kids in bike trailers or had the little kid tandem attachments. These people were all over the place our whole vacation and we were completely fascinated by them!

Tipper said...

I've always wanted to ride a bike like that-never have though. Sounds like it might be harder than I think-but fun too.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Jenny... how the heck can you start with the pedal down?? The pedal has to be up! I mean, if you start down, you have no forward moment to use while getting your other foot situated! And ALWAYS unclip on the left. ALWAYS.

Joy For Your Journey said...

Wow!! It seems like you are always out having an adventure. I love your life!!