Dave Cornthwaite

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Em's Blog: Part 1 - The first week

(Written on 4th May 2017. Day 4 of the trip.)

Man alive! I can honestly say that I have never done such prolonged exercise in my life and hands down, I thought my body would truly hate me by now but it's not screaming too loudly.

I am currently on a pretty epic journey, riding a tandem bike across Europe with my partner Dave for at least 1000 miles.

This isn't just any regular tandem though - this is a Random Tandem. It's not exactly a type of bike but is a micro-project of our own design. We asked people on Facebook to vote for which form of bizarre tandem we should pedal around Europe on... the votes were counted over a weekend at the Spezi special bike show in Germany and the winner was the Hase Pino.

Our Pino, which we have lovingly nicknamed 'Random', allows the front rider to sit in a recumbent position pedalling with legs outstretched, and the rear rider seated in regular upright cycling style, controlling everything on the bike from the steering, to gears and braking! 

Travelling on this beautifully weird and wonderful tandem has taken some getting used to but we are now both pretty comfy pedalling in either position - although when I'm in control coming to an unexpected stop and holding up the bike with all of our camping gear plus Dave with his feet up in front, is still a little too much weight for me!

We have only fallen over once though and I'm glad to say that I was in the front seat so can't claim that one! 

We are doing this trip as journey 13 of Dave's Expedition1000 project so he is used to putting his body through hell every day, travelling in a new way and covering a distance only usually attempted in a car.

I however, have never been big on exercise. I tried last year to run 3 marathons and only managed 1.75 of them... Turns out, I'm not much of a runner! The most I have ever travelled by bicycle is 30 miles in a day and I have never carried more weight on a bike than a backpack or laptop bag. I only figured out how to hang panniers on a rack through the powers of deduction a couple of days ago!

Sure, my knees are creaking, my hair looks like something a nesting eagle would be proud of and my butt lost all feeling a couple of days ago... but generally, I feel fine. 

Before this trip, we went on a quick 3 day wild camping and recumbent trike microadventure and went 57 miles over the whole weekend. Now we are averaging 60 miles a day since day one and I can still walk at the end of it (albeit, a little jelly-legged!). 

Our micro adventure on trikes two weeks before we jumped on a tandem

It just goes to show that being unfit in the first place is not a reason to say no to doing what you want to do. These first few days have been tough but we can both already feel the hills getting easier and being awake enough to hold a conversation in the evenings.

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