Our first date with Big Boy


Meet Big Boy. Big Boy is blue and big. Big Boy carries us and our gear without flinching. Big Boy soothes crying babies. He wears a cape and thwarts criminals. Big Boy is a hero and he’s magical. He can split into three pieces and fit into two suitcases. Last week he won a spelling bee. He’s an outstanding student at no less than 17 elementary schools. Although we’ve only owned him for three weeks, we think Big Boy is such a good boy.

For a few years I’ve been trying to persuade Carrie to ride a tandem together. As is common with most couples, one rider is usually stronger than the other. Tensions can arise from this. The stronger rider begrudges the slower rider for not keeping up, not trying hard enough. The slower rider feels pressured to always ride at an uncomfortable pace. A tandem allows both riders to stay together, each working at their own output levels to propel the same machine. Two riders of differing strength can combine their powers. Riding becomes a team effort.

We recently adopted Big Boy from eBay and then made some gear changes to get him ready for his first tour, a four-day trip from our place in San Josรฉ to the tourist village of Cambria via Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast, where we met Carrie’s folks, who drove us back home the following day. Here is the daily breakdown:

All in all the trip was great. We had warm, dry weather the whole way. Big Boy was a champ. Carrie and I enjoyed his stability on the descents, but we did have some shifting issues that I think are more to do with us getting used to riding with a Rohloff internal gear hub than anything. One of our rear Ortlieb panniers ejected itself on a fast descent through a construction zone. Lucky for us it bounced off the road and into a ditch instead of getting run over by the car behind us. When Carrie retrieved the pannier we inspected it for damage but found nothing. Our Ortliebs appear to be indestructible.