Tandem Touring

Last updated on Sunday, February 3, 2002


Most summers we pack up the tandems and tent and head off for a few weeks touring. Over the years the tandems have been upgraded and the packing refined so that it is now down to a fine art

The tours we've done so far include Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, France and Holland with the terrain getting hillier as Kathy & Gemma get older

The tandems have been steadily upgraded as bits wear out and break. They now sport hydraulic brakes and low low gears for the steep, steep hills, and new wheels built to perfection by Dad.

With tandems things wear out and break often. In Denmark, Sue's rear gears shattered and fell all over the road. Running repairs with a trusty zip tie got us to a bike shop on the island of Aero where the owner let Tony strip the old gear cluster off (a tale in itself) and install a new one. The owner was just two weeks into recovery from a heart attack but couldn't refrain from helping. All the while Tony's PA was on standby to organise having a new tandem rear wheel Fedex'd from a specialist shop in Wales to a remote Danish island. In Finland Tony's front tyre blew out with the sound of a rifle shot while descending a dirt road at speed. He described coming to a halt as "challenging", Kathy described it as "scary". Then in Switzerland winching Tony's loaded tandem up a short steep incline in bottom gear the inner chainwheel folded and had to be cut away by the local farm hands with an angle grinder. One slip of the angle grinder would have reduced our much loved tandem to two touring monocycles. Then again the adventure is part of the fun.

Luggage is one pannier each (carrying clothes, rainwear, washkit, sleeping bag, thermarest sleeping map and a personal luxury item. The tent, cooking gear, food etc fit in the BOB trailer pulled by Dad and Kathy. The family luxury items - a pair of very lightweight tripod stools Dad found in Japan and a fluorescent light for night time - also go in the BOB.

While we have flown with the whole kit and caboodle (there is no other practical way to get to Finland) we normally hang them across the back the Discovery and drive to the start.

101 Uses for a BOB trailer

Lakeside summerhouse or mokki, Finland

   Running repairs with an angle grinder

A situation Gemma knows all too well

  The trusty Vango tent in Switzerland

Rhyhaedder Falls, North Wales

  Hot day, ice cold stream - bliss!