A SURPRISE TANDEM AND 1006 MILES in 17 DAYS
The 13th journey of Expedition1000 began at the Spezialradmesse (special bike show) in Germersheim, Germany. The lovely folks on my Facebook page voted for the Hase Pino tandem and my partner Emms and I duly packed our panniers and started pedalling right after the show.
We faced up to heavy rains and plentiful hills in the first two days and then found the relative comfort of Eurovelo 6, which makes its way alongside the Danube River as it carves east towards the Black Sea. We rode through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and ultimately to Budapest in Hungary, passing Expedition1000's halfway point (only 12 journeys to go, now!) and enjoying the first of many journeys together.
A series of video blogs about the Random Tandem journey, from prep to completion
See our progress across Europe on this awesome map from Zero Six Zero
THE WINNING TANDEM: HASE PINO
The Pino is a hybrid tandem with the rear rider (pilot) in a standard upright position and the front rider (stoker) in a recumbent seat. Offering two different sitting positions allowed a break from the typical bum-numbing of a standard bicycle seat, with the forward recumbent seat decidedly luxurious by comparison. The Pino is a wonderfully social way to travel, as both riders can see the road ahead and are close enough together to chat happily as they ride.
Why a Tandem?
Well, there are two of us for starters and as this will be our first journey together it is quite a cool social project. After all, tandem riding is all about trust, and I'm hoping that the laid back recumbent form says it all about the relationship Em and I have together.
I rode an upright tandem bike from Vancouver to Vegas with my friend Seb in 2011, and it makes for a great way to travel. Recumbent is a whole different kettle of fish, taking a bit more balance and core strength to stay upright and moving.
Just as important as the mechanics of the ride is communication. The onus is on the pilot to steer, avoid crashing and change gears and because of the extra weight and the added body behind, turning around isn't so easy. So it falls to the rear passenger (or The Stoker) to shout instructions and navigations, like "We're clear!" or "Slow down, we're about to be hit by a truck!"
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
The first time I visited the Spezi non-motorised transport show in Germsheim, Germany, I asked my Facebook friends to vote on the form of transport I should ride from Germany back to the UK.
The format was not only fun and a real success (I loved that journey on the ICE Trike in 2014) but it totally simplifies all the things that sometimes hold us back from doing a big adventure.
When you put yourself at the mercy of other people it becomes liberating. There's no use worrying, because the decision is made for you. The route was chosen on the morning the journey starts and it seemed sensible to ride it back to ICE Trike HQ in Falmouth, Cornwall.
And that's why another vote made sense when I was asked back to the Spezi in 2017. This time though, I travelled with my partner Em and three random tandem bikes awaited, for this would be our first 1000-mile trip together.
No excuses. No choices. Just a whole bunch of unknowns. Awesome.
These are all brands who have either supportive some stage of this journey, or they make gear we're using. We're not getting money from all these (we wish!), but we're thankful that they exist and make gear that means we can enjoy this journey and share it to the best of our ability. Click each logo to find out more.