And not all of our bicycling/tandeming experiences were all about being on the bike. I continued my mechanic training by taking two Di2 classes at United Bicycle Institute in Portland. Also, this year Rohloff came out with a fix for the troublesome rattling noises that plagued their new cog retention system, and I've been busy upgrading our customers' Rohloff bikes, at least those with the new system.
The Tandem Year In Review 2018
For our business, 2018 was a good year, in terms of sales, service, tours, and new customers and friends. Almost 3000 miles of tandem riding took us on one international and one domestic tour, but alas, no rallies this year. I was continuing to recover from my back fracture, sustained in Albania in 2017, so riding and hiking, two of our favorite activities, were a little limited.
Early in the year we met Peter and Tracy Flucke. They are tandem riders who live near Green Bay, Wisconsin and who have ridden their tandem many times on long, cross country style tours. They were in Bellingham, speaking at Village Books, to promote their new book, Coast to Coast on a Tandem. We very much enjoyed getting to know Peter and Tracy. We've stayed in touch with them and, as you will see below, visited them during our Lake Michigan tour (more on that later). You can check out Peter and Tracy here: https://www.webike.org/
The trip to France was our only international tour for 2018. We rounded out the touring year with a domestic ride along the shores of Lake Michigan, in the company of one other tandem couple. We began our journey in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, rode the Western, Northern, and Eastern shores of Lake Michigan as far as Ludington, Michigan, returning to Manitowoc on the Badger, the last coal-fired vessel on the Great Lakes. A mid-tour rest was enjoyed on Mackinac Island. This tour was long on miles, hills (at least the last part), great food, great company, and scenery. We were reminded that we don't necessarily have to venture overseas to enjoy stellar tandem touring.
And as is typical for us, not everything is about bicycles in our lives, though we have to admit that non-cycling adventures are pretty limited! This year we spent almost 3 weeks touring in Cuba. We visited Santiago, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, and Havana, among many other places. This was a very interesting, eye-opening experience. We loved every minute of it. We loved the Cuban people, their food, their music, their dancing, and on and on. This will be remembered as one of our most cherished off-bike experiences.
And, as I mentioned earlier, a highlight of the Lake Michigan tour was the chance to reconnect with Peter and Tracy Flucke, as we made our way through the Green Bay area.
And now, down to things we did in 2018 that really did relate to actually riding a tandem!
We spent the month of June touring in the Burgundy and Normandy areas of France with a group of 5 tandems. Treating ourselves to well designed routes, luscious meals, and stunning scenery, we also learned quite a lot about the history and culture of those areas. Much of the riding in Burgundy was along pastoral canal paths. And the time spent in Normandy stirred up deep emotions about the events that took place there in the 1940's. We came home feeling we had very much rekindled our tandeming romance with France.
And to top it all off, we continued the tradition of decorating our tandem and joining a large, cold, but enthusiastic group of cyclists (including 3 tandems!) to ride in the Lynden Lighted Christmas Parade. We are always amazed and pleased by the thousands of folks that turn out each year to line the streets of Lynden and share in the spirit of the season.
While we're on the subject of meeting new people we admire, I'll jump out of chronological order here and mention that during the summer we were honored to meet and share dinner with Mike and Bernice Miller, very well traveled and accomplished tandem tourers whose journals we always follow on Crazy Guy. Mike and Bernice were doing a West Coast tour so we jumped at the chance to spend an evening with these two very pleasant and interesting riders. Both these couples, Peter/Tracy and Mike/Bernice, are inspirations to us!
We hope your year has been a happy and healthy one as well. We sincerely wish all of you the very best for 2019 - may you share many happy miles and good health, and may the New Year bring you all you wish for.
Please let us know how we can help you in your unique tandem journey.
Happy New Year!