We'd been cycling for quite a few years and we'd had several cycling holidays together, including a week in the Yorkshire Dales, a week in Norfolk, and a fortnight in Ireland cycling around the coast of Eire.
In the late 90s we decided that it would be a good idea to try out a tandem. Linda wasn't too happy riding solo and she always felt that she was holding me back since I did more general cycling than her and was undoubtedly faster. A tandem would mean that we would be together all the time and could enjoy the feeling of teamwork, sharing the load.
Consequently, in 1997, we hired a tandem from Orbit Cycles in Sheffield for a week and cycled into Shropshire. Although the tandem itself wasn't ideal for us, the idea of tandeming was an immediate success. From then on we were determined to buy one and started the process of choosing the right one for us.
We eventually found ourselves at Swallow Tandems in Llanraedr-Ym-Mochnant in North Wales where we were sized up and recommended to buy a Burley Rhumba. This we did, and in February 1998 we took delivery of it.
Since then, we've had many excellent rides in the Peak District, which is almost on our doorstep. We also spent another fortnight in Ireland and another in France. The tandem is definitely a hit Linda loves the fact that all she has to do is sit on the back, put in some leg work and admire the scenery without any need to think about the mechanics of cycling. I just love cycling anyway, but it's really good to not have to worry about whether Linda's coping on her own bike. We can enjoy the ride together, we can talk while we ride, and we stay together. It suits us both in our different ways.
A note on Swallow Tandems: We found them a great help in choosing the tandem and recommending the right one for us. Unfortunately, as of January 2001, they are not trading. Peter Bird who ran the company is now running Tandemania, the tandem wing of Dawes Cycles.