Shakedown ride: - Couple on Coupled Co-motion Tandem Tour Trace - CycleBlaze

October 21, 2014

Shakedown ride:

Any ride where you finish under your own power can be considered a success.

After finishing at Tandems East Monday night we stayed overnight with our long-suffering daughter in Baltimore. The next day I took the tandem apart and packed it in the two cases. Three and a half hours later everything finally fit and the cases were packed into our Cruze diesel. There is only room for one case in the Cruze Diesel trunk, although there is a chance both would fit in the trunk of a regular Cruze. The Diesel version may have less height in the trunk. Regardless with the other case in the back seat we headed home and were delighted that the tandem was secure and dry when encountering a rain storm on the way to our home in West Virginia.

The next day I put the tandem back together, which took about three hours. With practice I think an hour will suffice in the future. Jay (mechanic at Tandems East) claims he can set one up in 25 minutes!

This morning Rhona and I loaded onto the tandem and headed into town for early voting and to get a rider added on our insurance policy for the tandem. We marveled at how comfortable the bike was and I cannot explain why it took significantly less effort than our Cannondale tandem which I have endlessly tweaked for many years. However, on the first significant uphill, the chain snapped. I would like to chalk it up to the tremendous power we (senior citizen) riders subjected it to, but think we just identified the weakest link in the KMC chain. Since we are leaving for a tour, I headed to our local bike shop and upgraded to a Shimano chain. It was humiliating having to walk the bike up West Virginia hills which we have proudly pedaled for many years, but perhaps nobody we know saw us. One of the bike features I looked forward to was having disk brakes. The Speedster comes equipped with TRP Spyre brakes and they were great on our first steep downhill intersection with a stop sign. The Ultegra shifting on the Speedster was far superior to the Tiagra shifters on my single bike. Other than having to walk the bike home, we were both more comfortable on the new Speedster than we were on either of our two old tandems or our single bikes. I guess that is the reason for paying extra for a custom fitting. Well done Mel!

Tomorrow we finish packing and will then visit relative and friends in Knoxville and Nashville before starting our tour Sunday at the Northern end of the Natchez Trace. I am going to attempt to update Crazyguy using a cell phone each night on tour, but that is subject to wi-fi and even cellphone coverage in route.

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