Over a decade ago, my sister and I spent five days cycling around the Isle of Anglesey on a borrowed tandem recumbent trike. As short as the trip was, it meant a lot to both of us. For me, it was a chance to share my growing passion with a member of my family. And for my sister, it was the first time she’d felt the joys of self-propelled transportation. Tam is partially sighted and has mobility issues, due to cerebral palsy, so is unable to ride a conventional bicycle. The trip (which appeared in Cycle Feb/Mar 2003) was an undoubted success but, as often happens, the years went by and we never got round to following it up.
Fast forward 15 years and I received an email from her. She’d love to try another adventure. Was I interested? Never one to turn down a bike tour, I began organising the long-awaited sequel, except this time, it would also feature my partner, Nancy, and my son, Sage.
Given that the three of us now live in the United States, tying it in with a visit to Europe provided the perfect opportunity for us all to spend time together. For Tam, it was a chance to get to know her nephew better, and for Sage, the chance to enjoy the attention of a doting aunt, and perhaps help him understand the challenges she faces each day.
We settled on the Netherlands for obvious reasons. It’s close to the UK, it’s flat, and the bike infrastructure is second to none, suiting the varying needs of our mixed-ability group. And, with the heatwave Europe experienced over the summer, we could even rely on some blue sky and beachside riding, sure to be a hit with a five year old.
For our week-long trip, we borrowed a Hase Pino from London Recumbents. The Pino would allow Tam to sit in the recumbent position and chat easily to me as we rode, and it’s more compact than most tandems and thus easier to get on a train. A FollowMe Tandem – a somewhat heavy but effective device that couples a child’s bike to the parent’s – would allow Sage to ride independently when he wanted, or be hooked up to his mother’s bike when the roads became too busy or he needed a break. Although Sage had been cycling for over a year, he’d never completed a tour before on his own bike. Prior to this trip, we’d always pulled him in a trailer or used a trailer-cycle.
Great rides: Touring in utopia aka the Netherlands | Cycling UK
Over a decade ago, my sister and I spent five days cycling around the Isle of Anglesey on a borrowed tandem recumbent trike. As short as the trip was, it meant a lot to both of us. For me, it was a chance to share my growing passion with a member of my family. And… [Read More]