So, lets talk double dutch.
As previously mentioned I don’t know how to ride a bicycle. (Thanks mum and dad. One of the perks of being an only child, no real need for your own wheels when you have two taxis on call!). So before I arrived in Cambodia, Lee went in search of a tandem for us.
It wasn’t as easy as you might think in a country where pretty much everyone is on two wheels, either on a moto or a bike. But tandem’s haven’t really ‘made it’ here in Cambodia – yet! In fact everyone crams themselves on a single seater, and its not uncommon to see two or three people on a bicycle; either sitting on the cross bars or the parcel shelf, which is usually (but not always) covered with a seat. Motos often have more than two as well (the most I have seen so far is six people, four is most common: mum dad, and two kids).
So you’d think with all this pilling people onto things that are built to carry just one or two, a tandem would just make sense here. But nope! The gasps, the giggles and shouts to people to look. Mostly people are saying ‘look at that big bicycle!’ Although I’m sure there are some who are less complementary.
Anyway back to the search for a tandem. Lee looked high and low and finally got tipped off to a bike store on the way out of town that might just be crazy enough to sell a tandem. Sure enough there is was (still in bits) never taken out of its box from when it was purchased. Lee picked a lovely blue bike (one of the magic colours) for the princely sum of $300 USD. Quite a lot for a bike here, a family could easily get a second hand moto for the same price.
The next challenge of course is learning to ride the thing. We read a great blog with advice on how to get started http://www.tandemcycleworks.com/first-ride/. It divides the roles into Captain and Stoker….Lee has tried to get me to call him Captain when we’re riding but I cant quite bring myself to.
Its a weird feeling being on the back and totally out of control of the speed, direction and distance you travel. Mostly we have got on just fine, but throw in a tired and grumpy person and things sure can get interesting.
Some of the good things about being on the tandem are:
- You can stop peddling when you get tired (and being on the back no one knows!)
- You get to travel at the same speed as your riding partner, without someone (i.e. me) going too slow
- You can totally smoke the kids trying to race you
- You can be the talk of the town
- You can get nicknamed Daisy
Mostly though its just great that a non bikey like me can get to be part of the Sunday bike rides. There are some amazing things to see around 15kms out of town.
But I recommend a tandem, if you don’t mid the stares. Its a lot of fun.
Hmm I wonder if Lee agrees……