The planned route (Click to enlarge)

Sunday, February 10, 2008


The first stage has been agreed for a while now. Tandem to St Jean de Pied de Port at the base of the Pyrenees before starting on the Camino de Santiago on foot. 
We had never ridden one but had seen ones online which looked a lot of fun and had taken people round the world (left). We were sold on the idea. The only issue to this was finding a tandem that wasn't going to take a tenth of the budget in one swoop, but also wasn't going to collapse pushing onto the ferry on day one. 

Conversations with a chap from the Tandem Club of Great Britain simply confirmed our fears. Lots of talk of 'spend at least £1,000', must 'fit both riders perfectly' and 'onl
y consider with long amounts of practice'. It wasn't looking good with a budget of £600, no experience beyond 30 minutes in Italy circling a medieval wall after a few lattes, and a long legged oaf on the front and a midget on the back. Rigorous searching on eBay revealed nothing that suited and heads were down until we came across one in Greenwich which seemed to fit the bill. Much excitement was had until someone else bought it... Gutting. However, fate played it's hand and it was relisted again a week later. It was time to make a trip to Greenwich. With helmets hidden in bags to make it not look like it was a foregone conclusion, we waited to see the Twin Galaxy roll out. Much fiddling, checking and a swift test ride and we were convinced. Now for some bartering. A skill that would be vital to hone over the coming couple of years, it seemed like a good time to start. 

"It's on for £575"
"Well, we only really have a budget of £500"
"Well, it's on for £575"
"Hmmm, not sure we can even get that money out in one go, how about £540 and we can take it today?"
"You can give us £540 now and we'll drop it off in central london when you have the extra £35"
"Ok, we'll go to the cash machine"

Haggling: Not yet awesome
Having a tandem: Immediately awesome

Riding it back through Walworth, Old Kent Road and Elephant 
and Castle was a nice easy induction. Although, spectacularly unimaginative heckling seems to be the order of the day when you are doubled up. People just shout "Errr... TANDEM!" at you when you go by. To which the obvious response is just to retort with "Errr... PEDESTRIAN!", but we have yet avoided getting into a game of iSpy Tourettes. It now resides in the house waiting for loading up. A ride round Richmond Park suggests it is no sprinter on the uphills, but overtaking lycra clad roadies on their £3000 carbon fibre steeds on the downhills has already made it a worthy purchase. Next challenge is a 4 day run from London to Devon before Easter. It is said that a tandem holiday will speed your relationship up in the direction it is going. Let's just hope it's going the right way. If not I am going to have to gift the hecklers the ultimate gag "She's fallen off mate!"

1 comment:

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