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Tandem Bicycles, Cooperation and World Peace
Yesterday we went on our first tandem bike ride to an actual destination
After Larry had a heart attack last November, he was sent to rehab, which involved supervised exercise three times a week while being hooked up to machines that monitored his heart. Since he was going, I thought I would go too. I did the same aerobic exercise program—which included a standard exercise bike and a bike that also exercises arms at the same time—without the heart monitor.
It was great. My body got stronger and healthier doing this particular exercise in this particular place.
Finally, last month Larry graduated and we reduced our visits to twice a week, since it involves more than an hour of driving round trip.
Larry wanted to replace riding the stationary bikes with going on bike rides outdoors using actual bicycles. He’s an experienced bicyclist, but I am not.
Though I rode a bike as a child, it’s been decades and I was having trouble balancing on a two-wheel bike. So we went looking for an adult tricycle.
We went to a used bicycle shop. No tricycles but…there was a beautiful tandem bike. It was silver and had a lovely curve. It just took my breath away and I wanted to ride it.
But could we ride a tandem bike?
The salesman discouraged us from even trying. He said people love it or hate it. Being successful at riding a tandem bike requires cooperation he said.
Larry and I thought we could do it. Years ago we had learned that as a couple the best way to operate was to be a team working to solve a problem or accomplish a goal, rather than seeing each other as oppponents in a fight, so we were interested in this.
But we wanted an actual test ride experience before we invested $170 in purchasing a bike. So we did some research online to find out how to ride a tandem blke, and found one for rent. The closest one was an hour’s drive away, but we thought it was worth the trip so we went.
We loved it! It was just perfect for us. Much better than riding two bicycles side by side.
The thing that appealed to us was that riding tandem requires each rider to do their part in coordination with the other. It requires communication. It requires cooperation. And the reward is the satisfaction of having accomplished a ride together.
It took a few weeks to actually find a bike, buy it, and wait for it to be shipped. The original tandem bike that inspired us had been sold by the time we went back to buy it.
We’ve gone on a few practice rides on back streets near our home, but today we went on our first ride to a destination! We rode on back streets, bike paths, the side of the road, and up and down hills. We were confident we could navigate all this together, and we did. We can’t wait to go on another bike ride tomorrow and use the tandem bike as a mode of transportation around town.
But there was an even bigger benefit to this bike ride.
I saw tandem bikes as “training wheels” for cooperation.
Cooperation is an essential skill for sustaining life and the place it needs to be taught and learned is within the family—between couples and their children. By learning cooperation at home, family members can then go out into the world and create teams that cooperate doing other activities.
And eventually, learning to cooperate could bring world peace. You don’t go to war with others that are working cooperatively with you to sustain life.
We need more tandem bikes!
Here’s the bike we bought:
KENT Northwoods Dual Drive Tandem Bike
We bought ours here because it was the best price. It arrived in good condition and we’re very happy with it. I would call this a good beginner’s tandem bike. I see there are some that cost more which we might graduate up to, but we’re happy with this one to start.
Beware of this bike being advertised for $65 elsewhere. It’s a scam.
Read more about tandem bikes at Tandem Club of America.