A fallen giant.
Cleveland is a bike friendly city.
It felt as if we were always going uphill!
And at the end of the tour we were very pleased to be able to donate the tandem we were riding to this small bike shop in Tirana, the capital of Albania.
Later in the Spring we were off to Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Starting with a couple of days in Cincinnati, learning about Underground Railroad history, we then rode the Ohio and Erie Trail to Cleveland, turned left, and rode on to Sandusky.
The Tandem Year in Review
2022 was a quiet tandem year. Business was slow but steady. Travel was limited. But we enjoyed our tandem time together and as always, learned more about our world and the people who live in it, from the seats of our tandems.
The weather was cold and snowy for the first day of 2022 so we weren't able to get in our first tandem ride for the year until later in January.
Early February saw us on the road to California, along the Washington, Oregon, and California Coastlines. The target was to be Southern California, specifically Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks, but fires blocking the coast highway interfered with those plans so we instead enjoyed some time visiting lighthouses and the Redwoods in Northern California. The Redwoods are the tallest living things on Earth and many reside in the combined Redwood National Park and Prairie Creek State Park. We hiked and biked among these stately giants.
And of course we saw many of the bunkers for which Albania is known.
Our thanks to the Courtyard Marriott in Akron for letting us give our bike a much needed bath in their garage!
The tire dip at the Lake Erie terminus of the trail carried much less risk of an accidental dunking.
The tandem was so heavily loaded we were afraid we might fall in if we tried to dip the rear tire in the Ohio River at the start of the trail. So, Chris came up with the ingenious idea to pour a cup of river water over the rear tire, using a disposable drinking cup from the hotel. Fun!
The July 4th Holiday found us in Eugene, Oregon to attend the Northwest Tandem Rally and to visit our good friends at the Co-Motion factory. Good weather allowed us to have our vendor display outside, and to participate in a couple of the rides.
The ride actually started in Kentucky, where we parked our van for the duration of the tour.
The first Saturday of each month sees the Nelson B. Drury Scenic Parkway through the park closed to motor vehicles so the road can be enjoyed by cyclists and hikers. We were ready to go on the first Saturday of February, after spending Friday hiking in the park.
This is the lighthouse at Heceta Head in Oregon. The keeper house is operated as a B&B so naturally we stayed (our second time, actually). One of the fun things about staying overnight at the B&B is walking up to see the lighthouse at night.
We are lighthouse enthusiasts, so driving the Washington, Oregon, and California coast is delightful for us.
The penultimate day of the tour featured over 5000' of climbing, including the Llogara Pass from sea level to 3750', where we entered the National Park!
Coupled with the rainy weather we experienced, this made for a pretty dirty bike!
We're not all about the bike. After our return from Albania we took a week-long tour on the Rocky Mountaineer train from Vancouver, BC to Banff and Jasper and return. I think we experienced 4 Canadian National Parks, including a fun (but slippery) glacier walk.
In the southern part of Ohio the trail was mostly paved rails-to-trails. However, in the northern half, much was converted canal tow path with a crushed limestone or dirt surface.
We are also National Park enthusiasts so were happy this tour included a day in a park that was new to us.
Since we had COVID during this tour, we found the heat and hills (and sometimes the road surfaces) to be challenging, but we rode all the miles, albeit somewhat slowly.
For this tour we selected our trusty Co-Motion Speedster Rohloff, laden with panniers. A fantastic touring machine!
Then it was off to see the southern half of the country by tandem.
The scenery in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta is incomparable.
The view over the captain's shoulder on the scenic parkway.
Our luggage was carried over Valbona Pass on horseback, but we had to walk it!
Our first trip to Albania in 2017 had just scratched the surface in terms of learning about this fascinating country, so this fall we returned there for another tandem tour. But first, this time we added a day hike in the Northern Albanian Alps, an endeavor that consumed 3 days, given the remoteness of the Albanian Alps (The Accursed Mountains). Our time in Albania was characterized by extreme heat, with the exception of our hiking day, which was rainy, cloudy, cool, and foggy!
Can you spot the human in this photo?
The trail started in the shelter of trees but soon broke out into open, rocky country. I'm sure there would be incredible vistas on a clear day.
Here is our small group of intrepid hikers paying homage to the Albanian flag's double eagle, at the summit of Valbona Pass.
In addition to National Parks, trains, and lighthouses, we also enjoy visiting Ottoman era bridges, many of which can be found in Albania.
Yes, it was a quiet but successful and gratifying tandem year for us here at Tandem Diversity. As always we are most grateful for all of you, our tandem friends, family, and customers. We wish for you a very happy and healthy 2023!
If there is anything we can do to assist you on your tandem journey, please do not hesitate to get in touch: