Friday, December 05, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Weeks 47 & 48

Our Tandem Bike
Ride A Tandem AND Take A Tour Of Your Hometown

It’s only fitting my blog post about a bicycle built for two, should also carry a second author challenge. (And yes, I’m piggy backing a couple together to make up for the weeks I lost earlier this year in the US.)

This week I Toured My Hometown on a Tandem Bike with my Beloved. How clever, right? Two challenges wrapped in the one fun activity?
Melbourne's Luna Park

Well...I could list at least ten ways I’d prefer to explore Melbourne and none of them would require riding a bike with two wheels, two seats and two brains at the helm. This challenge tested our communication and trust...and that’s what the tandem challenge was all about.

Forced to work out the delicate balance of riding together, when only one of us really made the decisions and set the pace, brought a different dynamic to our date. In the end I’m glad my Beloved steered. And I’m not ashamed to admit there were a few turns on the bike path between Melbourne’s Luna Park and Brighton Beach, where I closed my eyes and hoped for the best. You can do this when you sit at the back. But you’re not allowed too much snooze time.

I pedaled faster when I was told to, slowed down when instructed, and tried not to panic when I heard the words, ‘bump coming up.’ 

Palais Theatre Melbourne
And the most valuable lesson I learned was not so much on the tandem bike, but on the dismount. The rider in the back must hop off first. Completely. And move away. Or else the front seat rider might knock her and the bike over when he dismounts. Tricky. And nothing we could have known by just looking at our fancy contraption.

Much like a marriage, this challenge had us laughing at the parallels between riding a bike path as one entity, and taking life’s road together as husband and wife. As an author challenge, it was designed to make me contemplate how two of my characters on the same path, with the same desired outcome, might strike difficulties and have to work together to sort them out. 

That real life blend of experiences. Bumps in the road, alongside beautiful beach breezes. Clear and constant communication vital for our safety and enjoyment. Total trust that the other person wouldn’t topple our combined efforts. 

We learned from earlier mistakes. We laughed at ourselves, proud that after a few hundred metres, we had worked out a way to stay aloft and take in the seaside views without falling into oncoming traffic.
At the halfway mark we stopped for a drink and long look at Melbourne’s cityscape behind us. Luna Park and the Palais Theatre just a shadow on the horizon, the legacy of early 1900s architecture and innovation. The Scenic Railaway at Luna Park is the only remaining roller coaster of its era operating in the world, built by JD Williams and the Phillips brothers from America. 

Listening to it’s rickety rumbles, one might think a time machine had transported us to 1912. And I was happy to let the kids scream their way around Luna Park, like generations before them.

Like many couples before us, we sat on the grass and watched the gulls fly. Glad for the cushioned car seats which would take us home, gladder still for the day out together exploring an historic slice of Melbourne town... and giving repeated thanks we wouldn’t have to ride a tandem bike, perhaps, ever again. 

Are you a fan of bike riding? Where do you ride?

Have you ever ridden a tandem bike?

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,