I did a 6-mile ride with Claire on the tandem this afternoon. It was my usual short route out to a rural elementary school and back.
To alleviate some of the boredom and to give the rider something to do (other than poking the cell phone in my back pocket), I put a speedometer on the bike for the stoker. Claire kept on announcing her speed and she continually asked me what my computer was showing. After several reports were exchanged, I eventually explained to her that the front half of the bike goes the same speed as the back half. She seemed to accept that. On the way out, we went too fast for her liking: a whopping 13mph.
We stopped, as usual, at the school to allow her to stretch her legs and play on the school’s playground equipment. She could only do the two older slides, because all the new slides emptied out into wood chip indentations that were filled with ice water runoff from last week’s snow. The rock climbing wall was puddle free, but the jungle gym spanned another big puddle.
But the swings were too enticing for her. She gingerly boarded the swing from the edge of the ice puddle underneath it, but after she lost her back and forth momentum, she submerged both her feet extricating herself from her perch. We moved to a bench and she tossed her now wet shoes at me. She wanted me to air dry her shoes with the frame pump I had pointed out a hour earlier while we prepping the bike. I puffed on her shoes instead.
When I told her that I would not allow her to pedal in her stocking feet, she put her shoes back on and we headed home after reading the playground rules. The first rule said you weren’t supposed to play on wet equipment. The last rule said you weren’t supposed to take off your shoes. Claire said it was okay because there were no teachers around.
On the way home she asked whether we would be warmer going to slow or fast. After I told her we’d spend less time in the cold if we rode fast, 14 mph was no longer fast enough for her and she started pedaling harder and shifting her weight.
I told her to stop wobbling and she responded:
I’m not wobbling; I’m fastering!