As Flic has a fractured ankle, being able to tick something off the list was posing some challenges. Despite Flic desperately wanting to run and jump and skip etc for once in her life she is being a good girl. Kinda.
So, what to do?
On one of our many wanders around manhattan, we come across a tri store. Of course we go in. Buy some cool t-shirts and then spy a sign saying tandem bike hire. Done. List ticking found.
Now, the tandem we hire isn’t exactly made of carbon, most definitely does not have its tyres pumped to 130psi and is about as aero as Humvee. In fact, it has quite a bit in common with a HV. It’s bloody heavy, wants to always veer left and is turning a lot of heads. That may be because its December in New York and we are prancing around in our One Triathlon trisuits of course.
So, time to saddle up. It’s fair to say that we are not known for our grace, but as seasoned cyclists one would have thought that we could mount a bike pretty well.
Ever tried mounting a tandem with a basket on the front and getting it going? It’s bloody hard. Cue many many funny looks, numerous finger points and a “you should get your money back” but after around 15 mins of huffing and puffing and deciding who will pedal when, switching positions, another 10 mins of almost getting going before wobbling, stopping and seriously contemplating giving up, will, determination and sheer bloody mindedness meant we eventually (after a few squeals) got the bike moving.
Now we just had to hope we didn’t have to stop.
For some reason Sam is at the front of the tandem steering. Why we have chosen this position we don’t know. Then Flic pipes up and says its for Project Get Sam Faster, otherwise known as Project Flic’s Got A Broken Ankle So Move Your Lazy Ass Sam & Use Some Power.
So off we wobble. But after about five mins of slalom riding we get into our groove. And although we are on the slowest of all bikes, like anything we do together (or really just anything in Flic’s case) this is a race, so we have to start overtaking people.
A loop of the park is 10k. We do a loop. It takes about 5 mins. Turns out that was the inner ring not Project Get Sam Faster already kicking in. Then we do the 10k loop. Turns out there are hills in the park. Hills on a heavy tandem with two Builder Bar stuffed girls on it are quite tough. Especially when you don’t really understand the gearing and have no idea if you can get up out of the saddle without falling off. Oh well, all about that leg strength. And we can only push down on the pedals as they are flats not clipless. Thank goodness for that though. Trying to get the tandem going and clipping in would have meant certain death, or at least another couple of broken ankles.
Anyway, now we are flying along. But who put all the bloody traffic lights in the park? Do they not know we don’t know how to stop? Thankfully, we don’t kill anyone.
People we pass tend to stop and stare or give a double take. We assure them this is only our training bike, and that the race bike is much nicer. Oh, they are staring at us because we are in tiny Lycra on a winter’s day in New York. Ah.
So, what are the off season training benefits of riding a tandem around one of the most famous parks in the world in blue Lycra in December?
Leg power – especially for Sam when Flic decided to stop pedalling on the back of the bike.
Team work – apart from when Flic stopped pedalling on the back of the bike.
Confidence – rocking it and overtaking despite being on a hunk of junk.
Working those abs – laughing out loud for an hour non stop has gotta be worth a good core session.
So there we have it, another one checked off The List.
Bring on the next.