Reflections on 214km (133miles) of hilly tandem riding yesterday with blind friend Haseeb and fastest blind ironman guiness world record holder. As no stranger to long rides I had no hesitation (ok slight reservation) about saying yes to piloting Haseeb as he was keen to go longer. Time to break out the knight bibs.
Tandems fast on the flat and down hill but a beast hill climbing. It was Hard, very hard… and not the legs but the arms that really suffered particularly on climbs holding the tandems upright.
Long rides require lots of regular fuelling with hydration and food. I found it expecially difficult to fuel while riding so some additional stops were needed including one to get water from a stranger.
We ride with several friends who were brilliant at giving a heads up on road junctions to try and avoid stopping. Great team work from everyone.
We made good time and kept stops at controls to the plan minimum. It was a windy with changeable weather and all was going well…
Until around 30km form the end we hit a massive pothole in the dark and punctured the back wheel. My nemesis as the tandem had a type of axle I am not fully familiar with but had researched before the ride. Thankfully a friend Jonathan was able to assist and we replaced the inner tube. However unlike most bikes where you keep chain on smallest sprocket we soon learnt the tandem had a suprise in store …it had a bolt which interfered with the chain if the wheel was replace with chain in smallest sprocket. We wrestled and wrestled to get the wheel off and it was only Jonathan’s brute strength that finally allowed the problem to be sorted.
We were still on track to complete in time…then the unthinkable we punctured again in a built up area just 2km from the finish with just minutes left we rode on a flat tyre with one leg unclipped for a fast exit should tbe tyre come off the rim… I have never ridden a flat tyre with such trepidation but got to the final safely.
We survived an eventful ride and had the great support and company of friends.
Made it back with 2 minutes to spare but more importantly we were both safe. An epic day out and I cant wait to get back on my own bike… think I will be flying for next weeks weeks 223km audax instead of fighting like yesterday