I was sitting around on Thursday doing the usual Thursday night things when I get a message from Jamie asking about taking the Powderkeg out for the ride on Saturday. Since I've never really ridden a tandem with Jamie or not having ridden a tandem at all for any sort of distance, I was totally in! What could possibly go wrong, right? In all actuality, since I first laid eyes on this 6 foot long beauty I've been smitten with the bike.
After checking again with Sondie to make sure that we could take the Keg out and getting the green light, I got down to the shop a little bit early on Saturday to kick the tires, light the fires and make sure the limo was road worthy. Jamie's contribution to the effort was to bring a can of Diet Pepsi, I think it was just the thing we needed to get this beast ready to sail.
The first tandem... selfie... can you have a selfie with more than one person in it or is it more of an USie? I like USie, there is no I in tandem just a tan and a dem.
Three things were immediately apparent, tandems are weird to ride, pictures were going to be much harder to get as the bike moved unexpectedly because of the person on the back and that Jamie was going to be in a lot of pictures today since she couldn't exactly hide back there easily.
Things went surprisingly well, neither of us had much experience on a tandem and neither of us had ridden on one with the other so things could have gone horribly wrong, quickly, but they didn't. We synced our uni-mind and away we went, on the pavement out of town the Powderkeg flew and I would often need to look down at the Garmin and try to maintain a slower speed so as not to leave everyone else behind. This tandem thing might be alright after all.
Then we hit the wet, soggy, thick peanut butter like gravel and those narrow 29" tires sank into the muck and mire. We went from the front of the pack to the back of the pack fairly quickly, I bet between riders and bike we were well over 300 lbs of mud slogging weight. However I am also willing to bet that on dry gravel the 29" tires on the Powderkeg would have continued to allow us to fly up and down the rollers but with the conditions as they were I think a 27.5+ or 29+ tire would have went along way toward allowing us to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee... well, as much as a 300 lbs butterfly can float. I doubt Salsa will change the keg to a plus bike because that's not really the intent of this bike but I do feel it would help in races early in the year when things might be muddy but with all that weight, who knows for sure.
We even ran into occasional SMNDFBR'er, Phil on NW 27th but he had plans and routes of his own he was following and decided not to join in on the reindeer games.
Saturday was an absolutely fabulous day, had to be hands down a top ten January day for riding, weather wise. A bridge stop to soak up the sun was definitely in order.
All sun and no ride makes sure you never get home though, so after a few it was on toward Malcolm and one of the few times we were out front in the muck.
Malcolm is always a welcomed oasis in the sea of gravel and Saturday was no exception, so glad that the Malcolm General Store has managed to survive all these years when so many other small businesses have shuttered the doors. Riding out towards Branched Oak Lake just wouldn't be the same without it.
After a short break it was time to get back at it. Ran into a road closed section on McKelvie Road just past NW 70th, if you think riding in soft gravel on a tandem is difficult; try circumnavigating a 6 foot long bicycle between barriers. Didn't see much wrong with the bridge itself so it must be something underneath, perhaps a washed out bank, hopefully the county finds the money to fix it as there have been a lot of these types of bridges abandoned as of late. Be a shame to lose a great route due to there not being a bridge around any longer.
Back on solid ground again, the Powderkeg found it's legs and life was good.
Looks like Ed agrees, I think the gravel wore on everyone yesterday.
Britt on her new ICT, probably wondering what she got herself into on this ride. I promise, they aren't all that bad; dry is good, dry is fast.
Well, there's something you don't see everyday. Someone order a new bridge?
Such an odd site that Jamie had to do a double or triple take just to make sure our eyes weren't playing tricks on us. Couple more miles and we found ourselves back at the shop and the end of another great ride. Thanks to all who came out, hopefully more warm temps are in the near future I sure could get used to the 50s.
Speaking of, if you haven't been into Cycle Works in a few weeks there are lots of changes going on. Bikes being moved, walls being changed, floor space opening up and improving the overall Feng Shui. Come down and get harmonized with us, just make sure to check out the wall immediately to the left of the front door... so much fat goodness.