Thursday, October 22, 2015

Why Two Strokes Are Better Than Four

(That's what she said...)

I was contemplating tandems. Not for long, but I did. See, the thing is that hubby and I don't do a whole lot together. We do and we don't, if that makes any sense. I want us to do things together, hence the tandem.

During my research I came across this article about how tandem biking changed this couple's marriage. Below is an excerpt from it:

[...]As I gazed at the view, I felt a surge of pride—and realized that I couldn’t have done it if I hadn’t taken a backseat and surrendered control. By letting Dan steer and occasionally pull for me, I’d built up my own strength until I could make it up that mountain. On my own, I never would have known I had it in me. I had always confused dependence with weakness. But leaning on my husband when I needed to and admitting I couldn’t do everything myself made me stronger. Thanks to the tandem, I get it: We’re working the same chain, each powerful on our own, but even more powerful together.[...]

There was only so much I could do to prevent myself from barfing when I read this. The only thing missing from this description is how they tenderly make sweet, sweet love in between all this leaning and stroking. And as if bicycling doesn't have enough specialized lingo, tandem biking has more:

The Stoker A.K.A - Tailgunner, Navigator, Rear Admiral or R.A.
The Captain A.K.A - Steersman, Pilot

I'll tell you one thing, there will be no rear admirals in my bedroom. While pretty adventurous in the boudoir, I'm no fan of rear admirals, captains, or lieutenants - whatever the rank, back door entrance isn't the preferred method.

"Who's your daddy? I mean, Rear Admiral." 
Who's the Captain, now?
This would be more like how I imagine tandem biking would end for hubby and me. Can't say for sure who would end up in the casket, but most likely hubby.

But just as I thought tandem biking couldn't possibly be more ridiculous, I find this:

On my honor I will swear, against severe penalties
To do my duty to keep my Stoker safe;
To listen to and obey the Stoker at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and to keep the bike upright.

This is something called The Captain's Oath, and it seems tandem biking has things in common with being a scout as the Captain's motto is "Be Prepared". Could this sound any more pompous? It's one thing to take something seriously, another to blow it so completely out of proportions. While I take biking seriously and I believe in safety - both for myself and others, I am no fan of stroking egos or rear admirals. But biking must have room for fun and being able to make light of oneself, which is why you'll never see me biking along like a spandex encased caterpillar. The above article doesn't subscribe to the concept of fun.

But the thing about people who take themselves too seriously and have over inflated egos is that they unwittingly become ridiculous so when the article then goes on to explain about "butt breaks", it takes a hilarious turn.

Off the saddle riding is important to preserve the morale of the Stoker, as tandem riding generally does not allow for as many “butt breaks” as single bike riding. Either the ES or the captain may call out “butt break”[...]

Then I found this article written by a person who - believe it or not - thinks tandems are fun. At first I thought I'd found a kindred spirit, albeit slightly meaner than myself, but no. However, you wouldn't think so after reading this intro:

I recently rode the 115-mile El Tour de Tucson bike race on the back of a tandem bike. Let me start by saying tandems suck. A person who shows up to a mass-start race on a tandem bike either has a buddy who is blind, or is too much of a wuss to race on a single bike. In other words, if you’re racing on a tandem and you’re not blind or piloting a blind cyclist you’re a wuss. And if you’re married to the person on the tandem with you you’re a double wuss.

He then goes on to calling the stoker seat the "bitch seat". Hahaha ha! Guess who wouldn't be caught dead in one (unless I have no choice being dead and all).

Seriously though, I think tandem biking would ruin my love of biking. I like the solitude, I like riding at my own pace, and stopping when I want - meaning not at all. And since hubby and I have totally different ideas about biking and what we enjoy about it, we'd both end up hating biking if we rode together like conjoined twins.

So even if I get the math behind tandems, I still believe with all my heart and sanity that two strokes are better than four.

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