Learning to fly

Learning to fly
Learning to fly

So it was time to launch.

The bike had been picked up. The  bike had been reassembled (a 5 minute job thanks to S&S couplings) and today was the big day.

Thorn Raven Twin Tandem
Thorn Raven Twin Tandem

As usual we had not really thought about how this was going to work.

We woke up to rain, as this doesn’t usually stop us from riding the subject was not mentioned even in passing.

After brekka we were suited and booted ready to learn to fly.

We quickly discussed a route that would be familiar and settled for an old favourite the Bosham route which gave us the problem of either a steep downhill which Wendy did not fancy or riding through the reservation (Leigh park council estate) on a bright pink tandem which I did not fancy, hell I’m the pilot so let’s see how this goes.

Flying through Clanfield
Flying through Clanfield

We were nervous and to be honest the whole thing felt a bit ridiculous. Worried that the neighbours ( the horrible ones) would see us we decided we would start down the road just a bit down the road.

The first major problem was getting the bike down the 3 steep steps onto the road without breaking our necks.

That task achieved we waddled with the bike across my mate Steve’s drive.

I slung my leg over the bars and Wendy slung her leg over the back wheel and we were ready to go, traditionally the Stoker (that’s Wendy) would sit on the saddle and clip in whilst the Pilot (that’s me) would push away. Wendy made it quite clear that it ain’t happening.

We encounter a second problem Wendy is left handed and I am right handed which means Wendy will be pushing off with her weak leg.

We pushed off (Wendy shrieking) wobbled  a lot and we were off and away, we got all the way round the corner some 200 feet and stopped for an oncoming car (more shrieking).

At this point we decided we needed some rules, Wendy would say ready and I would say roll and off we go.

This worked really well still wobbly but better so we changed plans and went to the local park to practice launching.

On arriving at the park we immediately had to make an emergency stop to prevent running a chihuahua over (more shrieking).

It just wasn’t happening with terrible problems clipping in, Wendy has full touring pedals with flats one side and they just weren’t working so we made our way  back to the house to swap them over to normal spds.

The change was an immediate improvement so we set off on our ride, at first the sensations were strange it’s kinda like riding a soft fixy with floppy leg pedalling as you are not quite riding the same gear.

Climbing old Winchester Hill
Climbing old Winchester Hill

We were kind of slow and tended to pedal too lower gear and not making much progress but we soon synced it up and were moving more freely.

We learned that it’s all about communication and added a few more checks.

In (clipped in),

ready, roll, soft, slow (slow pedal) freewheel , change (gear) and stop

Descending on a Tandem is quick but the Thorn Raven was really steady and grounded very stable able to take the descents very well.  Wendy dealing with the descents perfectly.

As we got more into it the riding and getting used to the gear changing was the next improvement as with The Rohloff hub you have to stop pedalling slightly whilst you change it takes a little coordination.

We attracted a bit of attention at the Cafe as everyone wants to look at the Tandem and ask questions, we moved off to complete our loop taking in Forestside.

In the distance we could see a rider a target. We set off in pursuit and caught him at the sign now we are actually flying!

Wendy achieved many PR’s on Strava which amused her greatly.

The whole experience was enjoyable and very sociable indeed lots of fun. A great way to bring two differing abilities together.  My Dad would have of been proud.

I am looking forward to many more rides and adventures.

The plan being a 14 day tour in Europe but to lead up to it some smaller trips and Audax,