Tandem Team from Minnesota
|Denny and Deb on a |
"My husband and I are late comers to the bicycle frenzy that now consumes our lives. Our reintroduction to the bicycle began in 2005 when we dusted off our 25-year-old Schwinns to bike the Root River trail near Lanesboro,
It wasn't many miles into the ride and I was struggling and ready to give up. It was fate that brought me to rest in the path of a very strange looking tandem. Two weeks later we were the proud owners of a night blue Rans Screamer recumbent tandem. We knew nothing about bike tours or tandem clubs but we got educated quite quickly thanks to Google.
We signed up for SAGBRAW, our first week-long bicycle tour, in March of 2006 before we even had any road riding experience. We began training by extending our road miles and practicing our communication skills (coast, shift, slow down!!!). We were thankful for the hotel stays we booked in each layover city as the heat index soared into the triple digits. We were first introduced to the Shuttleguy services during this trip. We were amazed to see the tent cities set up each day ready for riders to enjoy when their miles were done for the day.
Our search for more tandem opportunities lead us to become members of the COWS (Couples on Wheels) tandem club of Wisconsin. The club introduced us to the social world of rally riding. We quickly became hooked on these 3-day tandem events.
We completed our first century ride in 2006 while attending the Apple Cider Century in Three Oaks, Michigan. We could now consider ourselves avid cyclists. We were no longer limited to biking only trails and the idea of a self-supported tour began to intrigue us.
In 2007 we began to increase our yearly miles by attending rallies and rides throughout the USA and Canada. We began POI (points of interest) touring. A rally in Springfield, IL (PSTR) was planned with routes steeped in history, a Canadian rally (CTR) introduced us to the scenic views of Owen Sound, and a rally in Ohio (ETR) pampered us with a 3-day stay at a resort which included our very own gourmet chef. We completed our 2007 biking season by inviting COWS members to join Dennis and I as hosts for the COWS Fall rally held in Trempealeau County, WI.
|In Rhinelander on PAW|
The year 2008 included more rallies and rides reaching into Oklahoma in the south and to Gananoque, Ontario, Canada in the north. We also planned and completed our first self-supported bike tour in Green County, WI. This 4-day tour routed us through New Glarus, Monroe and Brodhead which included a stay in the Lance Armstrong room at the Earth Rider Bike Shop and Hotel. We travelled each day with the bike fully loaded with all bike necessities and personal belongings packed in panniers. We started biking in mid-April and continued into November putting a record total of 4,000 miles on the tandem for this 2008 season.
With all the biking we do, it's important to have a trusted bicycle mechanic. Kevin at the Blue Heron Bike shop in Onalaska, WI keeps our tandem rolling down the road. It was at this shop when a little yellow Bacchetta recumbent caught my eye. My cycling skills were put to the test. Controlling this bike was difficult at first but I became a fan instantly and purchased the bike after outfitting it for my needs.
|Mississippi River Trail Ride, 2009|
The highlight for 2009 was the staging of the Midwest Tandem Rally (MTR) in Rochester, MN-the granddad of all tandem rallies. Our tandem friends would now be coming to our neighborhood and we had plans to entertain them on our turf. MTR is always held over Labor Day weekend to give riders a 4-day cycling adventure. Following MTR, Dennis and I hosted a Post-MTR rally in Lanesboro, MN-an extended 3-day ride along the Root River Trail. We added additional rallies and rides to the calendar enjoying each new adventure we experienced.
The 2010 season is now upon us and we were reintroduced to the Shuttleguy when we met Rick at the Bike-Expo in Minneapolis, MN. We were already signed up for PAW's 8-day Northwoods tour when the Shuttleguy's Tri-State Ride was offered. After contacting Rick a few times with questions, he won us over and we signed up. This was to be our first combo biking/camping adventure. We used the Shuttleguy Camp Domestique for all our camping needs and we were well cared for. The people we met while on tour were awesome. Our evening sing-along to Tom's guitar strumming was tops ending with a radiant rainbow that bloomed across our evening sky promising more fabulous riding to come.
|Mississippi River Trail Ride, 2009|
Our biking adventures continue and we look forward to the day when we can leave our day jobs and bike fulltime. We will continue to watch for new ride events and experiences and hope to make your acquaintance when we are enjoying an adventure in your neighborhood."