So here's a bit of catching-up about Mrs The Millbrooker and me pretending to be called Daisy and riding a bicycle made for two. A bit of background: being partially sighted I've had to stop driving and riding motorbikes and haven't really thought it safe to be in control of a bicycle either. So this was an experiment in personal transportation with Mrs The Millbrooker taking control at the front and me providing motive power from the rear (always a favourite in my books, oooh matron). We thought a safe spot to experiment would be the Camel Trail from Wadebridge to Padstow.
Let's begin the tale a week before the actual event when I called Bridge Bike Hire (shown above) to book a tandem for the afternoon. The fellow who answered the 'phone asked our heights (that's 6'2'' and 5'6'' - I'll let you guess which height belongs to whom). I also told him that I would be at the rear, and why, so we'd need a tandem to fit as best as possible. He said he'd have a tandem prepped and ready for us at about 1pm on the specified day.
Come the specified day, this proved to be not quite the truth of it. A (presumably different) young man knew that we had a reservation, but had no idea of our measurements and offered a machine with a very low rear saddle with almost no reach from saddle to handlebar which had not been touched in terms of adjustment for our particular needs. Another machine was procured from a neighbouring bike hire establishment which had the front saddle too high (and not adjustable downwards) for Mrs The Millbrooker, who's seen below next to the two tandems.
The chap then admitted that the only machine that Bridge Bike Hire had which might have fitted the bill had been rented out that morning to someone else. A pretty poor showing, in my 'umble. We won't be using them again. We settled for the first machine offered and wobbled off into the distance. We weren't going to let some rather poor customer service spoil our adventure.
It was a bit of a wobble at first as we grappled with the skills required to remain upright. The steering was very light at the front end, possibly not helped by having a large gentleman plonking his fifteen stone frame on the back, and Mrs The Millbrooker struggled to keep control at lower speeds. We also discovered after only a few yards that Mrs The Millbrooker had no idea of how the gears worked. A quick track side lesson sorted that out and we set off again towards Padstow.
The outward trip wasn't too difficult and we covered the five and a half to six mile stretch in pretty reasonable time, meeting YarMatt, Dozybean and Wriggly Baby en-route at Little Petherick (see posting from a few days ago). We arrived, intact, into Padstow and posed for a few sitting-on-the-tandem shots. Dozybean had control of the camera; this is the photo with the least sky and the most tandem in it:
Note The Millbrooker proudly displaying his large and colourful cock as he sits behind his lovely wife. It's the one on my arm, silly.
Luncheon was taken at Mary B's cafe in Padstow, one of the few establishments without the name Stein somewhere in the title, and jolly yummy it was too. They do a very nice local cider by the bottle which I felt obliged to slurp as I also enjoyed a selection of local cheeses. That's all the good from the exercise negated, then. During the lunch stop, Dozybean managed to provide probably the least flattering pose in any photo ever as she apparently wanted to demonstrate her relationship to several fictional characters from Planet of the Apes. Only a cruel and wicked step-father would consider it his duty to allow the rest of the world to view such a photo:
All too soon it was time to bid a fond farewell to the younger generation and YarMatt; Mrs The Milbrooker and I remounted our steed with a little more aplomb than we'd had at the start of the adventure and set off back to Wadebridge.
Now, listen up. I'm proud of this bit. We did the inbound trip in sixteen minutes. Yep, that's 6 miles in 16 minutes. That's an average speed of 22.5 miles an hour. I reckon that makes us pretty damned fit. Even if the distance isn't quite 6 miles (and no one seems to know exactly how far it is) and even if my timing wasn't perfectly accurate, we still did ok even if I do say so myself.
The Camel Trail was largely empty of other users by this time, so that helped, and Mrs The Millbrooker had well and truly sussed the gearing out, which helped even more.
So, tandeming it is then. We're going to try a few more times at different places before deciding to buy our own; but watch out for us speeding along somewhere near you in the not too distant future.