We have now cycled the equivalent of once round the world on our two tandems!
Since my earlier article on the WFW website we have continued our tandem travels, with trips through Brittany and Normandy down to the Loire in 2018 and 2019. At the start of covid we had to cancel two planned rides in southwest France and Austria. But as traffic dwindled on west London’s roads, for the first time ever we felt confident to do our main exercise rides locally – an unexpected bonus from the pandemic. We needed a target and realised we were only 5,000 kilometres short of 40,000 km, measured from when I started tandem riding at the age of 57 (next month I will be 82) . This is the circumference of the world.
We celebrated the occasion with friends in Windsor Great Park. We have reverted to cycling there because traffic has returned to our local streets, and the park offers much better riding surfaces and a peaceful green environment. It would be wonderful if we could take our tandem to Windsor on the new Elizabeth Line trains which have plenty of space for this. But sadly the new lifts at Ealing Broadway station have been built a few centimetres shorter than the new design standard lift length which caters for disabled cycles (LCDS 2014), so we cannot get down to platform level with the bike and still have to use our car to get us and the tandem to the park entrance. The new lifts have of course been a real boon when I am being pushed by Peter in my wheelchair. In 2018 I had a full knee joint replacement. As a result of my spina bifida the right knee had been overloaded and after almost 80 years the bone structure had disintegrated. But as a result of my cycling, the muscles and ligaments were in sufficiently good condition that I was back on the tandem within three weeks of the operation, much to the delight of the surgeon.