Going to the Hairdressers yesterday morning a couple passed riding a tandem. It is the first time I have seen a tandem for many years and it brought back such memories. I rather think I might have shared this with you before in the distant past - but to indulge myself I shall tell you all about it again. It was quite early in my first marriage (5 years), we were living in a bedsit. This is not as bad as it sounds - we were very happy there and it was a very large house with large rooms which had all been converted into bedsits. We got very friendly with our neighbours and really had a happy time.
One evening my husband came home from work and announced that he had 'bought us' a present and I was to come outside and see it. Intrigued I went out and there it was - a Claude Butler Tandem. I had barely ridden an ordinary bike (when I did so a few years later I promptly wobbled across the road and fell off - the big thing you have to learn pretty quickly with a tandem is that if you are the rider on the back you have to pedal like mad but never under any circumstances try to steer) and he insisted that I got on it there and then and had a ride.
We cut our teeth on it over the Winter months riding round the flat lanes of Lincolnshire and by the time Easter was looming on the horizon we felt we could tackle something a bit lengthier. At the time my sister and her family lived in Lowestoft and we decided that after work on Thursday evening we would set off and when we felt like resting we would find a B and B for the night before going on on the Saturday.
That evening we got as far as Terrington St Clement where we stayed in a roadside pub for the night and then set off again through the lanes for the sea. We stayed at my sisters on the Saturday night and then we set off back home on the Sunday morning. There was a strong back wind blowing and we sailed along. One thing I remember was that I had a lovely yellow cardigan which my niece coveted and she has a very short pair of green shorts which I rather fancied - so we did a swap. I got quite a few wolf whistles on the return journey - remember this was 1957 and really short shorts were not the everyday item they are today, and I have always had long legs!
We made good time on our return journey, stopping in a pretty village with a lovely War Memorial for a picnic lunch. I wish I could remember the name of the village - I have looked on the road map but I can't find it (I shall no doubt remember it in the middle of the night). We seemed to fly along - an AA man rode behind us for a while (in his motor bike and side car!) and then pulled alongside to tell us we were doing (I think I remember) 29 miles an hour.
When we got to Sleaford I had a bit of a hiccup insisting I could not possibly go another mile. I sat on the side of the road and had a cry. We were only seventeen miles from home and eventually my husband persuaded me to contine. We arrived at my parents' house at around ten at night and of course my mother had a bed all ready for me to tumble into. What a marathon journey.
We sold the tandem early the next year - why? I was pregnant with my son by this time and we were short of money and in any case tandems and babies are not really good companions unless you are a cycling fanatic. But our 1957 adventure has stuck in my mind ever since.
Just a one off adventure I have never forgotten.