The number of times I’ve been asked if Caroline and I still ride the tandem has been rather surprising. I think after hearing stories of how challenging our Tour Divide tandem adventure was earlier this summer, our friends expected us to simply hide the big bike in the back of our garage and never touch it again.
Well, to be honest, that’s exactly what happened.
But much to our amazement, the bike only sat there for two months. Since early September, we’ve been out on the bike every few weeks, challenging ourselves on the local maze of singletrack. We’ve swapped out the tires for some wider, knobbier treads, downsized the drive chainring to something a bit better suited for steep singletrack, and added a bash guard on the front crank.
The most intriguing aspect of the bike is how a modestly difficult trail becomes an entirely new beast on which we struggle through rock gardens and around switchbacks. I cannot recall a time I ever found my mind working so hard while riding – where will the rear wheel track through this turn? Do I have to warn Caroline about this rock? Will her cranks clear it? How close will her bars come to this tree? How can I get up that without being able to lift the front end?! Oh nuts, I’m going to get yelled at for that one!
Another rather unexpected consequence of spending so much time on the bike during the Divide was some sort of breakthrough for Caroline’s confidence on technical descents. Even though she could not even see what we were blasting down as we crossed mountain range after mountain range, her head apparently became accustomed to the speed and feel of faster descending. Upon returning to Arizona, she got back on her hardtail, comically wobbled up our driveway, nearly out of control as she suddenly had handlebars that turned. Within a few rides, she was descending techy singletrack as she never had before.
So for those of you out there that are wondering, yes, we’re still riding Big Blue. So watch out, because our brakes only let us stop so fast!
One other thing to note: Salsa showed the next generation prototype at Frostbike a few weeks ago and are continuing to work at bringing the bike to market. They've even announced the name: Powderkeg
Stay tuned for further developments!