Guest Blogger Sara
Until I met Darren, I'd hardly ridden a bike since the training wheels came off at age five. On our first date, we chatted about how he was into cycling, and I asked him jokingly if he had a tandem. He surprised the hell out of me by saying yes. Little did I know that a couple years later I'd be whizzing along on that very bike regularly. Although the first several attempts at riding with Darren caused me a lot of knee pain and frustration (I thought runners were supposed to bike to save their knees from the impact), it seems that we've finally gotten things figured out. We have now realized that: #1. I need to wear regular sneakers and use toe clips (adjusting the bike shoes just wasn't working) and #2 It's unreasonable for a person who doesn't bike (no matter how fit) to be expected to go out for 40+ mile rides without working up to that distance slowly (oops).
Last weekend, the weather was perfect, so we went out on a section of the W&OD trail that Darren used to frequent when he was younger. The parking lot was completely packed--the area has changed quite a bit since Darren's youth (which has brought a lot more contruction and a larger population) and the trail was a popular destination for individuals and families on such a warm day in mid-November. Before we left, we saw a bunch of kids on little bikes slowly following their dad like baby ducklings. Cute.
Darren had wanted to take me on a fairly quick, flat, shorter ride--to get the legs spinning and compensate for our last outing (a longer one on some dirt roads with potholes that made me quite tense). We were passing a lot of people on the trail (not an experience I'm used to since I'm relatively slow on my own!), and some of the riders laughed as we made our way by, saying things like, "No fair...you have two people!" We stopped for a little break at a park in Leesburg and rested by a stream before heading back.
The ride ended up being pretty fun..although there was a lot of dodging in between the crowds and one sketchy turn. We stayed with two different riders for a while on the way back to the parking lot. I don't like when the wheels of our bike and another person's are so close together...not sure how the peloton does it! Luckily, I'm just the stoker, so I don't have to maneuver!
Riding the tandem has already taught me a lot of things. It allows me to better understand a sport about which my boyfriend is incredibly passionate (I even went to my first spin class this week so I can improve). It gets me to return to my roots in the countryside and see some beautiful scenery (a great contrast to my daily life in the city on some of these rides). It provides us an opportunity to work together, in sync, to achieve a common goal--whether reaching the summit of a big hill, rounding a corner, getting fit or simply arriving back home in one piece. It helps me, as much as I fight against it and try to look ahead up the road, to give up control and just enjoy the ride. At least there's no one I'd rather have as my captain :)