Tandem Living: Riding Out of Sync

tandem bike drawingHave you ever seen anyone riding a tandem bicycle where the pedals weren’t calibrated? When one person’s foot is up on one side, the other person’s is supposed to be up also. If they’re off, it looks really strange. It doesn’t feel any different, and you can still go along your merry way, but something is just not right.

David and I recently were apart for 10 days. That might not seem like very long to some people, but when you’re used to living side by side, 10 days is a long time. I felt very out of sync. I was handling all the kids’ issues, I had to attend our boys’ open houses without him, I was doing every errand, I was doing all the thinking about our days and, because of a 3-hour time difference and a busy schedule, David and I rarely got to talk.

But sometimes it doesn’t take a separation to make us feel out of sync. Sometimes it might be a disagreement that hasn’t been resolved. Sometimes, it’s just a lack of time alone.

Because our tandem bike is old, several times on the last few rides we’ve had trouble with our chain. In the midst of shifting gears, it will fall off the cog. We have to then stop wherever we are, of course, because without the chain engaged, the pedals just spin. And if we don’t pay attention when we’re fixing that chain, we don’t make sure the pedals are in the same position and therefore they have that weird look of not being in perfect alignment with each other.

In tandem life, we can apologize if an argument happens, but there’s more to getting back in sync. Sometimes it takes digging a little deeper, turning those pedals just a little bit more to fix the root of the problem. Much as we may try to hide it, when we are out of sync with our tandem partners, people notice. Something just doesn’t feel right. We may move along just fine, completing the duties of our everyday lives, but the harmony, unity and beauty of synchronicity is missing.

It’s worth it to take the time to get off the bike, take off the chain, and get those pedals back in alignment again.

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