Barry Bartlett - Member Profile - CycleBlaze

Member Profile

Barry Bartlett


Title Ratings
The Bartletts tour Europe on their E-Tandem 2179
Six Wheels Through Japan Part 2 3568
Six wheels through Japan 3570
Cycling Away the Pandemic Blues 354
The Bartletts Bike the Baltics 2634
A Grand 3 Month European Tour on an E-Tandem 1110
All Roads Lead to Italy 570
Riding In My Grandfather's WW1 Footsteps 671
Italy Bound with our Recumbent Tandem 730
Exploring Germany, Czech Republic and beyond... on our Recumbent Tandem 584
Exploring Holland, Germany and Denmark on a Recumbent Tandem 825
London to Istanbul on a Recumbent Tandem 1202
Exploring the Route Verte in Quebec, Canada by Recumbent Tandem 12


About the Bartletts

We are the Bartlett’s, Barry &  Mary Ellen, and we love to travel on our recumbent tandem, a Rans Seavo TR (with S&S couplers). Cycling  has been a life long passion for Barry  and an important part of Mary Ellen’s life as well. Cycle touring has long been a part of our lives dating back to our youth with trips in Europe, Scandinavia, Great Britain and North America.  We both caught the travelling bug early and continue to share this passion.

Barry grew up in Victoria, BC and Mary Ellen in Belleville, Ontario. We have enjoyed  living on the beautiful Southern Gulf Islands of Galiano and Saltspring Islands for the past 30+ years  for most of Barry's teaching career.

Cycling in Venzone, a magical medieval walled town in northern Italy. Somehow the fortified walls survived a disastrous earthquake in 1976 that levelled much of Venzone and the region. If you can't make it to Venzone, watch the first 20 min of the 1957 film, A Farewell to Arms, as the filming was done in this wonderful place.

Now that we are retired on Saltspring Island, my wife, Mary Ellen  and I are spending our time enjoying Island life as well as perpetually planning and saving for our next cycling adventure. 

There are so many places that we want to go - just spin the globe and we'll find a destination.  For now, Europe provides us with so many options that we find ourselves going back every year for a three month cycling trip.

Europe provides us with so many great places to ride and we do love maps. However, when using these laminated "accordion" maps, a clip to hold it together is useful. Riding on the back of the tandem can be quite an adventure when trying to use a map such as this.

We love to camp, we're gearhounds and we love the slow pace of bicycle travelling and the connection it gives us with locals and their way of living.  On a long trip, we like to also stay in local pensions or guesthouses which gives us another glimpse in to local life -European breakfasts and hospitality, thumbs up.

Eating and drinking like the locals is also part of the experience that keeps us coming back. Who knew, growing up in North America, that beer could be so much more - for many villages it represents several centuries of their history - and it is so good!

We love to camp - having all you need in a small trailer is liberating, plus we find that camping in Europe is affordable with great facilities and plentiful. We are camping on the Tauber River in Germany and as we were packing up the tent, we discovered that a mouse had been enjoying a wee bit of camping too. A hole in the floor of the tent and mouse droppings confirmed our suspicions. Glad we didn’t see or feel it in the night!
Camping in Iceland, spectacular and at times challenging. This photo shows a rare day, sunny and calm without wind.

Years of riding upright bikes, accumulating injuries and aches & pains,  and just the reality of getting older led us to discover the benefits and joy of riding recumbent bikes. I ride a Bacchetta Giro 26, Mary Ellen rides a Giro 20 plus  we have 2 Rans recumbent tandems. We tour on our Rans Seavo TR and keep our Rans Screamer at home for riding locally

We added a Rohloff internal hub before our first trip to Europe in 2012. It is one of the best investments we have made to our Seavo to make long distance travel less complicated with reduced maintenance for the bike, a quiet drivetrain and more efficient riding.

Several years ago while bicycle touring on the Rhine River route we met a German family who also were riding recumbent bikes. Georg and Cora invited us to visit them on their farm near Limburg on the Lahn. We have now become very close friends and visit them every year before we start our bike trip. The Reitz family kindly offered to store our bike for us so that we don't have to fly with our bike every year. 

Georg and Cora own several recumbent bikes, including this Hase Pino tandem
The Reitz family love a challenge. Georg and Cora's son, Justus is trying to figure out a mystery sound coming from our drivetrain

We have  added an electric assist to the  recumbent tandem that we ride in Europe.  With an electric assist we feel that we will be able to continue doing challenging and hilly bike trips without our knees failing us. 

Riding over the Alps was quite a challenge for us and our fully loaded tandem
Riding over the mountain passes in Italy gave us the idea of installing an electric assist on our tandem
We want to be still tackling the challenging routes when we are in our 70's
We had our electric assist installed at Akkurad, near Bonn, Germany
The staff at Akkurad were amazing

Mary Ellen and I love animals. When travelling by bike we always take the time to stop and visit with farm animals, cats and dogs. When passing a field filled with farm animals we ring our bell and give them a big wave.

This calf really wanted to come with us - what a character.
Even some animals laugh at our bike as we go by.
We are not sure about all of the wildlife that we encounter

Our bike seems to attract the attention of people wherever we go. The unique design of our "big rig"provides a good icebreaker to interact with local people regardless of language barrier. These interactions and the kindness that we experience are the true joys of travelling.

This woman would not rest until she had found a place for us to stay. We always take business cards with our photo and journal address which we like to give to people whom we meet. She is very proud to receive it.
When the man behind her said that we could stay at his guesthouse she danced an Italian jig

The third member of our tandem team is Buster the Bear. Buster loves to travel and his greatest joy is screaming down steep hills at 70+ kilometres an hour. 

Buster visited with many of the gnomes of Wroclaw, Poland
Life is just have to get out there and explore the world!