Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Two's company; three's an aspiration! Buying our first tandem.

The auction had sat at about £125 for a couple of days. We hit the 'watch' button.

A couple of hours before the end, someone bid £155. Unless it went for a song, it was too much of a risk. It was obviously going to clear £200 at the end. We had a chat as I got the barbecue out to cook dinner, and decided we'd leave it. 

3 minutes to go and I sneaked another look. No movement. "I'm going in, just in case", I called to Katie. "No more than £200 and it's worth a punt, right?".

"Go on, then. Nothing ventured...", said Katie, sticking her head out of the back door. 

I put in £205, just in case it was close. Don't tell her, will you. My finger hovered over the button for what wouldn't have been the first entirely futile attempt at an auction 'snipe' lately. 

10 seconds. The house WiFi had better hold up, out here in the garden, or this was going to be upsetting.

I think I actually saw '3 seconds' just as I hit the button, and the screen went blank for a what felt like at least a week.

Eventually, it became apparent that yes, we had just bought our first tandem - a Thorn Voyager - for the princely sum of one hundred and eighty-two pounds and thirty-three pence.


Er, ok... now we've got to fetch it! Not so simple when there was no way I would fit on it, we had no idea if any of the five of us would fit on the back without adaptations, and we didn't have a tandem carrier for the car - the latter would have cost more than the bike.

Our brave but possibly foolhardy plan for Katie, under the weather lately, to make a late night trip to a Luton postcode and cycle home, not just on a bike she'd never set eyes on before, but her first ever tandem ride, and do 30+ miles home in the dark, was eventually cast aside (to our mutual disappointment - we like a challenge!) for the more practical solution of stripping out our people carrier, which was in dire need of a litter-pick anyway.

Luckily, our new purchase fits without too much bother, with the wheels off, and I only bent the mudguard stays very slightly, getting it home. In the same way, I only took a bit of paint off the front door getting it in the house, and Katie and I sat on the settee to eat our dinner, watching 'Gray's Anatomy' through the latest addition to the family, still a bit bewildered at what we'd done.



A bit of work since then, and every single member of the family having sat on it in some way, has proved that Katie fits on the front, Thomas Ivor fits on the back, and we ought to have no trouble adding a trailerbike rack on the back (although the scarcity of spare Islabikes racks is once more, a pain in the posterior) so that together they can tow one of the girls.

Our new tandem (as yet awaiting the decision of the naming committee) is no spring chicken. It's old school bike engineering in many ways; a steel frame, lots of chromed bits; solid, heavy-looking cranksets with a Suntour front derailleur (remember them?) and seven gears on the back. We haven't had a grown up bike with V brakes for quite a while! The paint is thin, and there's some rust. But it's a simple, rugged design, and now the manky bar tape is off, we're on our way.

Katie and Thomas Ivor went out for their first ride last night, and didn't die, so whilst it may be a brief dalliance that leads to a different machine in the end, we have a little project on our hands - and I think it's going to be fun. It will be interesting to see how much we can do with the beast, with things we already have in the cupboard... #PimpMyTandem is born!



2 comments:

  1. how much joy this brings . I so remember the set up we had. Daddy up front, grandma in the middle and Sam on the trailer bike riding behind.

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  2. A few challenges before we can do much with it, Brenda, but when you tour with children you get used to being creative with kit, don't you!

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