Gra Nomad Wanderings

Monday, January 16, 2006


It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Janice and Bernie came to visit. We had started getting reacquainted with them recently. We’d first met at Wagga Wagga Teachers College 40 years ago. Sadly Janice was in my section at college and I didn’t leave a great impression. Indeed I left a lasting impression. What a show-off and an extrovert (don’t think that word was invented then) that Grahame Keast is! Don’t worry, Fay Bailey thought exactly the same thing back in 1963, and we’ve now been married for 38 years! We didn’t even speak to each other for the 2 years that we were both at college together. Made up for it since.
Back to Bernie and Janice. They chatted with us and told us how they were getting into bike riding. I thought to myself…. I’ll give you bike riding….hhmmm. So, 10 mins later I had them on our Burley Duet tandem. We’d purchased it at Collin’s Bike shop in Eugene Oregon in 1998, so the bike is affectionately called Collin. We gave them a few pointers and then set them off…wobble wobble…. Takes me back to our first ride on a tandem in Adelaide, back in 1996… roughly. Thanks Jill and Alan.
Fay and I took off behind them on our mountain bikes. Collin is a road tandem…. Thinnish tyres (tires for Americans), drop bars etc. We couldn’t keep up with them. They are both fairly fit for people over 60, and do plenty of exercising. They took to the tandem like the old duck to water. They arrived back at our place with Fay and I coming a distant 2nd and 3rd. They couldn’t believe they were too quick for us.
This week, we called in and stayed with Bernie and Janice so we could loan them Collin for the year. We’re due to head overseas and thought Collin could get respite care rather than just hang around in the garage/shed. We had lent him to Mark and Rosemary in Narrabri last year while we toured parts of Oz and upon arriving back we learnt that both Mark and Rosemary were deficient in the leg length area and they couldn’t reach the pedals! Even with the seats put right down! But Bernie & Jeanette (B&J) don’t have a leg problem.
After nattering till rather late and telling each other WWTC stories the others hadn’t heard, we went to bed so we could go cycling in the morning.
Next morning we got the bikes out and started fine tuning them. Switched pedals, checked tyre pressures, sorted out the gears.
Maybe the seat could go down a touch Grahame, Bernie suggested. Indeed it took us about 5 goes (is that how you spell that?) to get it just right for Bernie. Janice was easier to please… she just wanted her handle bars straight. No, I don’t mean she wanted us to straighten out the metal tubing, I mean she wanted them square to the top frame. Oh forget it … it’s not really important in the story.
Here we were, Fay giving advice in one ear and me giving advice in the other. B&J are the most polite people you’ll ever come across. So, they just listened. (Goodness knows I must have grated on Janice during those education lectures! Thankfully she’s forgiven me now…. Haven’t you Janice?)
It IS tricky starting on a tandem. Here are 2 people, each trying to balance a bike independently. And of course the bike starts off at 1 km per hr and then gets faster. At the slow speeds, it can be quite a problem when you’re learning. Watch those intersections!
Bernie just had to ride between 2 large bollards. I got the camera ready in case they hit one of the posts. There doesn’t seem to be very much room between… Phew, they made it. Janice nearly had a stroke, but they made it.
And hills, B&J just powered up them, without even resorting to granny gear! I was really impressed. Like their first ride at our place in Dubbo, they were much quicker than us going up hill and on the flat. A tandem is always quicker going downhill… if the riders are game enough to “let the pony have his head”. Collin’s rear brake is not very strong.
We had both been talking to them… I mean telling them… like good lecturers… that you (the captain) have to be careful you don’t cut the corner, or else the back person (stoker) can finish up in the gutter. They say experience is the greatest teacher, though the fees are prohibitive! Well, Bernie (who had the steering) made this fairly tight turn a bit later on. Janice’s half of the bike didn’t quite go in the same line…. Whammo! They hit the kerb!/curb! (Gutter as we say here.) Coulda been worse Bernie. You coulda both finished up on the bitumen! I think Bernie will be taking corners a bit wider from here on in.
So, we left B&J, thanked them for a really beaut visit, kissed Collin and said… keep watching the blogsite!
They will do fine and have a ball. But confidence will take a while. We look forward to hearing how they’re going.


At 12:57 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

I'm really glad you and your wife speak to each other now! LOL I worry a lot about the impressions I made on people in college, too.

At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Bernie & Janice said...

Had fun riding through your story, Grahame. We didn't realise you had so much fun that morning! Hey, Bernie's alias is not John (Howard), even though you recorded that his stoker was Jeanette!
We have pedalled out twice since, but Collin was a little nervous about being on the Princes Highway without some extra safety protection, so we detoured via KMart and bought one of those orange flags on a stalk to fix to the rear pack rack. Now he is happy to hoon down the highway.
On Sunday afternoon we pedalled the 31km from home to a turning point between Dapto and Yallah and back again, maintaining an average of 22km/hr. When the current very welcome rain stops, we plan to increase our distance and our fitness.

At 7:44 PM, Blogger Keasty said...

Hey I got it right about 4 out of 5 times Janice! Glad you're enjoying Collin. You make a great threesome.


Post a Comment

<< Home