Today Tom and I rode our first trail of the year: The Portage Hike and Bike Trail. We have a Cannondale Tandem Bike that we have on various bike trails all over the United States but today was the first day we have been out in 2014. We have been too busy with work to ride as much as we would like, but in retirement we plan to be more physically active and riding our tandem is a great way to do it.
Riding a tandem is a lesson in cooperation. You have to communicate well with your partner. Tom is the Captain (he sits in front and steers) which is a good job for him because he likes to be in control of the direction we are going and what gear we are in. I am the stoker which means I sit in the back and am supposed to be the power peddler. I’m not – Tom is the power peddler – but at least I get to go the same speed he does. It also means I get to gawk at the scenery as much as I want to without danger of going off the trail, running into someone else, or having an accident. When I ride a bike by myself, I am prone to do all three. Tom is a pretty good communicator after lots of practice with us riding together. He lets me know when we are stopping (very important unless he wants me to end up on the ground), when we are coasting (so I don’t hurt my legs trying to pedal when he has stopped), and he does a countdown so we get going at the same time.
Today we rode the Portage Hike and Bike Trail, which actually begins as the Freedom Trail in Tallmadge, goes up through Kent, and ends in Ravenna. It is asphalt until you get to Ravenna Road east of Kent which is always my preferred surface. There are several road crossings and you ride on the road for half a mile in Kent, but most of the trail is a lovely ride on the edge of towns. A mile of the trail runs beside the Cuyahoga River in Kent. There were plenty of people on the trail but it didn’t feel crowded.
We were the fastest thing on the trail today, although we slowed down through the busiest parts of the trail. We did 19 miles of the trail in 1 hour, 36 minutes (thank you free Runtastic Road Bike app) with an average speed of 11.6 mph. Tom thought that was pretty slow, but I thought it was fine considering I haven’t been on a bike since last fall. Of course, it was good to spend the time with Tom and we got to enjoy a nice trail that we haven’t ridden before.
Oh, and I burned 620 calories, which means that it was okay to stop for ice cream on the way home! That’s the best reason to ride the bike trail!