19 October 2012

For Two, For History

As I've mentioned on other posts, I haven't spent a lot of time riding tandems.  Logistically, it's more difficult than riding a single:  You need, in addition to the bike itself, a partner, a place big enough to store the bike and money, for tandems tend to be high-maintenance.  

Once I was the pilot (the cyclist in front) for a blind woman on a charity ride.  I was riding a basic heavy-duty tandem--from Schwinn, if I remember correctly.  I think I rode a lightweight road tandem only once.  It's something I wouldn't mind experiencing again.  However, if I were to ride a tandem, I think I'd be even more interested in riding a track tandem.  I mean, for two riders to pedal a fixed gear, both have to be skilled cyclists who communicate well.  Were I to do a ride on such a bike with such a rider, I'd probably feel supremely confident in my abilities as a cyclist.

And I think I've seen the tandem I'd like to ride:

From Classic Rendezvous

This Schwinn Paramount track tandem is  believed to be the very first one ever made.  Jackie Simes and Jack Heid pedaled it to victory in a three-mile tandem race that ran through Johnson Park in New Brunswick, NJ in June 1951.  It would be the last professional bicycle race held in the United States for nearly a quarter of a century.

Johnson Park is near the campus of Rutgers,where I did my undergraduate degree. I took many a ride there, and witnessed a couple of races.  I knew that some important cycle races had been held there, but I didn't know, at the time, that the last professional race was run in that bucolic setting.

Check out this detail of the front"

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