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There have been a few more moments of quietude today, which is a relief.

First things first, I got to meet thewronghands IRL yesterday! And also project_mayhem_. Our conversation reminded me, to some extent, of gfrancie's description of our in-person conversations, where we wind up fitting in a good year's worth of discussion over the course of one brief visit. I love meeting LJ people in person because I know you-uns are folks who have long attention spans, and that sort of depth of knowing a person is meaningful for me. Elements of today's Questionable Content are related (although I don't know many people who are as strange an experience as Emily, heh).

This morning, my father and I got a ride from my father's friend A, to go and pick up the tandem we're planning to ride down to Portland. What a shop. Here's the owner, putting air in the tires. I think we'll manage better pictures of the tandem itself in upcoming days. It definitely turns a few heads.

Great source for innovative bicycles

There are a few more photos of bikes out in front of the shop. If you wish to see them click the above photo.

After a bit of fiddling with mechanical matters and some brief parking lot test rides, we carted the bike back to the house, had some lunch, and set off on a real test expedition.

So, let me tell you a bit about riding a hybrid recumbent / upright tandem. The stoker is the captain, controlling the steering of the front wheel with a set of connecting rods. The recumbent passenger provides the "landing gear," keeping the bike balanced and upright when stopped. We only almost fell over once! This particular tandem, the Opus 4, provides independent coasting for the recumbent rider, but the stoker is forced to pedal whenever the recumbent rider is pedaling. Not really a terrible compromise. The frame is adequately sturdy such that we didn't experience terrible wobble, but the wobble was noticeable. The riding experience is odd for the recumbent rider because he sits on top of the front wheel, but it's not an insurmountable problem and improves the overall turning radius and sense of handling for the stoker-captain.

So the more serious test-riding. We stuck with a mostly-flat route, out along the Burke-Gilman trail to Fremont, then over the Fremont Bridge (bike counter accurately determined we were two bicyclists), along the bike path on the south side of the Ship Canal, and out to the Myrtle Edwards Park trail. Over the course of things I determined that attempting to use the granny gear chainring just caused chainsuck, and that starting and stopping at every light in downtown Seattle traffic was slightly less than pleasant. Thankfully, drivers were patient with us and I just happily hogged lanes and rode all over the place, as appropriate. It was hard for me to take my hands off the handlebars, so my dad was in charge of signaling which direction to take, and I think he enjoyed getting to signal and then just having the bike go in the direction signaled.

This thing is definitely going to take work to ride 200 miles, but I'm pretty sure I'm up for the challenge. I'm hoping my dad will be able to provide "engine assist" whenever we encounter hills, and will otherwise be able to relax and take it easy, once he's gotten his lumbar support pillow installed.

Unfortunately, I learned one last thing the hard way: when there are chainrings on both sides of the bottom bracket, it's necessary to roll up both pants legs. Methinks I will now convert these pants, with their fresh cuff tear, into knickers. Sigh.

Family coffee
Mid-ride coffee break at Espresso Vivace, plus preview of part of sytharin's ride costume sitting on the table, wink wink.


( 8 remarks — Remark )
Jul. 10th, 2015 04:36 am (UTC)
Aw, man, that sounds like a really great time.

My tandem experience was that it helped a lot for people to call out "starting" or "stopping" when doing so, to keep things coordinated.

The chainsuck thing is frustrating. Granny gear is awfully convenient on hills.
Jul. 10th, 2015 04:39 am (UTC)
Ahh, the sights and sounds and ocean smells along the waterfront were heavenly!

And yes, I've taken to declaring, "Ready, steady, go!" when we start up, and also announcing stops. Having experience as a coxswain is helpful in that regard.

There has also been a wheel-noise happening, which is disconcerting. I think the chainsuck may be due to challenges with keeping proper chain tension - the granny gear is TINY. But I'm not in quite the right place to evaluate or change it much. So I'll probably just wind up mashing my way up hills. Fortunately, this route isn't especially hilly!
Jul. 10th, 2015 04:52 am (UTC)
Now that you mention it, we had ultra-long cages on our two tandems that had triples, and my friend had this weird nashbar derailleur with three pulleys, so it could take up a ton of chain.
Jul. 10th, 2015 01:51 pm (UTC)
Woah, that bike is awesome! I'm so glad your dad is gonna be rocking along in the front seat!
Jul. 11th, 2015 03:23 am (UTC)
Oh Too Cool!!
Oh, Rebecca, this is over the top darling. Wow, 200 miles with dad and a tandem that's going to cause spastic neck for lots of folks. So cool!! Wish I could see it in person! Jim Duncan

P.S. Have I mentioned lately that you and your dad rock!
Jul. 15th, 2015 08:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh Too Cool!!
Thank you, Jim! Bicyclists are a fun, entertaining bunch, that's for sure.

I enjoyed my friend W's perspective on things - he declared that we were clearly increasing the net level of happiness in the universe through our sea shanties and silly costumes. It's a good way to roll. :-)
Jul. 11th, 2015 07:46 am (UTC)
It was absolutely delightful to meet you, for many of the same reasons -- I, too, cherish those longer/deeper connections. It's so much more interesting!

I kinda love you and your dad; that's a super awesome thing to be doing together as a family. I hope you sail on fabulously. (Yarrr.) If I find myself singing sea shanties while riding my bicycle in the duathlon this weekend, I know who to blame.
Jul. 15th, 2015 08:44 pm (UTC)
My whole family feels pretty lucky to have such a wonderful family, while remaining fully aware that it's an incredible gift. One of the things I love the most about my family is how open and welcoming it is of others, too. :-)
( 8 remarks — Remark )

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