After failing to celebrate even the smallest success in our quest for a bicycle-built-for-two, we returned to our short bikes. We even considered hiking, instead. We already owned backpacks. The only additional expense would be a couple of water bottles. But down deep we knew that wasn’t going to cut it.
I called the bike store again.
This time the manager selected a red tandem and suggested that we pedal on 14th Street east of Oak. It was a quiet street favored by students cycling between the University of Oregon and married housing.
Coordination was what we lacked. As hard Barb tried, she could not keep her feet on the pedals while we were stopped. We were returning to the store when Barb planted both feet firmly on the street at a red light. As I attempted to power away when it changed to green, I nearly propelled myself over the handlebars.
We returned home a second time without a long bike.
A month passed. Then the manager called, reporting that he had a Burley Samba, a grade up from the two we’d previously considered. Better yet, this one was upgraded to the next level, a Duet. It was a demo, a bike that one of the Vice Presidents of Burley Coop had used on a European Tour.
It was black and in perfect condition. Because it was a demo he reduced the price substantially. This time he suggested we go to the Willamette River Trail System and keep it for the afternoon.
The river trail was plenty wide for experienced cyclists, but it seemed narrow for me. As we gathered speed on a downhill we met two women riding side-by-side. Perhaps, since I was coming downhill I should have yielded, but I didn’t. We passed with about a foot of space between the lady in the center and us, close enough that I heard the lady on the outside say:
“There is a bike on your left but you are fine.”
The lady in the center was BLIND, but it was too late to panic.
We kept the bike all afternoon, and wrote a check for it that evening.
We were now proud owners of a tandem bicycle, members of an elite cycling group.